Mastalgia is breast pain. There are two types of mastalgia, cyclical and noncyclic. Cyclical breast pain is most often associated with menstrual periods. Noncyclic pain does not vary with the menstrual cycle.


Mastalgia can be caused by:

  • Hormonal changes associated with the menstrual cycle
  • Trauma to the breast
  • Arthritis in the chest cavity and neck

Risk Factors

These factors increase your chance of developing mastalgia. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:

  • Relatively high hormone levels (estrogen and progesterone) of the second half of the menstrual cycle
  • History of arthritis
  • Irritation of cervical (neck) nerve roots

Cervical Nerve Roots

Cervical nerves
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Symptoms of mastalgia may include:

  • Pain in the breast area, ranging from minor discomfort to severe pain


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Breast cancer does not commonly cause pain. However, your doctor may also do a mammogram .


Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:

Ruling Out Cancer

Worry of cancer can be the main concern associated with mastalgia. Performing a mammogram to rule out cancer as a cause can provide reassurance.


Topical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) may reduce the pain associated with mastalgia. Also, toremifene (Fareston), which is used in the hormonal treatment of breast cancer, may help reduce cyclical mastalgia.


The best way to prevent mastalgia is to avoid trauma to the breast. Wearing a sports bra when exercising can also prevent breast pain and tenderness.