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Why do my breasts feel tender and painful?

Breast pain is very common. It affects about two out of three pre-menopausal women sometime in their life.

There are two types of breast pain. Cyclical pain is associated with the menstrual cycle, usually affecting people a week or so before a period. Non-cyclical pain can occur any time and can be there all the time. You can have pain in one or both breasts and you may describe it as a burning, prickling or stabbing feeling.

There are practical things you can do to relieve breast pain, and drug treatments are available too. You can find more information here.

You could also try filling in a pain chart (you can find an example in our Breast pain booklet) to record when you get pain and how long it lasts for. It’s a useful thing to show to your GP (local doctor).

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Content last reviewed March 2012; next planned review 2014

Last edited:

14 August 2012