5 Probable Causes Of Breast Tenderness

Most women wrongly assume that soreness or tenderness of the breasts is an indication of a serious health problem. This is indeed a misconception, because tenderness of the breasts is something which all women experience from time to time.

However, if the pain in the breast is of a sharp and persistent nature, you should definitely consult a doctor, especially since there is a spurt in breast cancer cases in recent years.

Causes of Breast Tenderness

Pain or tenderness in the breasts can differ in intensity (mild or severe) and sensation (sharp or tingling pain). Breast soreness happens due to cyclical and non-cyclical reasons

The cyclical causes behind breast pain are wildly fluctuating hormones. The non-cyclical causes of breast pain, encompasses all elements, other than fluctuating hormones.

Heaviness of the breasts, a dull ache in the breasts or the breasts feeling abnormally swollen are some of common symptoms of sore breasts. The exact reasons behind breast tenderness have been discussed in this article.

Hormonal Changes  

Fluctuating hormones can cause pain and tenderness in the breast. Most women experience some degree of pain and tenderness in their breasts around the time of their monthly menstrual cycle. Normally, the pain or tenderness in the breasts begins just before the menstrual cycle and disappears after the monthly menstrual cycle ends.

Similarly, women experience soreness of the breasts around the time of menopause. Pregnant women often complain of pain and tenderness in their breasts during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Fibrocystic Breast Disease

Mammary dysplasia, benign breast disease or fibrocystic breast disease occurs due to certain non cancerous changes in the breast tissue. These changes in the breast tissue happen because of sudden changes in the body hormone levels.

Common symptoms of mammary dysplasia or fibrocystic breast disease include swelling, tenderness and dull pain in the breasts. Women who fall in the age groups between thirty and fifty normally suffer from fibrocystic breast disease.


Another reason for breast tenderness especially among nursing mothers is mastitis. Mastitis is an infection of the breast tissue which causes the breasts to become red, swollen and extremely painful. Mastitis occurs when the breast milk thickens and clogs the milk ducts.


This is an example of non-cyclic breast pain. Women who are suffering from costochondritis normally experience a sharp, shooting pain along with a burning sensation.

This pain originates around the region where the breast bone meets the ribs. The pain typically radiates outwards from this point. The two main factors behind costochondritis are poor posture and the natural ageing process.

Caffeine Intake

Did you know that excessive consumption of coffee or other caffeinated products can actually result in soreness and tenderness of the breasts? Well recent research has revealed that excessive consumption of coffee can cause tenderness in the breasts.

Methylxanthine is a chemical which is found is caffeine. Methylxanthine causes the minute blood vessels in the breasts to dilate. When the blood vessels dilate it can cause the breasts to become distended. This in turn causes sharp tingling pain in the breasts.


Injuries particularly traumatic injuries can cause the breasts to become swollen and tender. When the injury heals, the pain will also melt away. Small cysts, tumors and cancer can also cause pain and tenderness in the breasts.