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Breast pain concerns

(13 Posts)
spacechimp Sat 30-May-15 23:31:14

Hoping for some words of wisdom here if anyone has any experience.

I am 40 and have had lumpy, tender breasts for years and increased soreness in the couple of weeks before my period. I know what this feels like and know it's not sinister. I have also had episodes of other breast pain on and off for the last few years which might be cyclical but there really doesn't seem a strong pattern and the right one is much worse. This pain can be burning, aching, stabbing, throbbing. It comes and goes during the day so not constant but could be there for minutes or hours, and it seems to move around to different places in my breast. Because it had come and gone I had tried to rationalise it as hormonal but it has been really quite bad over the last 6 months and there aren't many days when I don't have some pain, mostly in the one breast.

I don't think I can feel any new lumps or differences since I last went to the breast clinic in 2010 for lumpiness but I am so worried about the pain because it isn't just cyclical tenderness and one breast is so much more affected.

I put off going to my GP because I have a history of health anxiety and have been through phases of checking and investigations for various medical issues in the past but finally went the other week. She did an examination and is not concerned but she knows me and puts a lot of my symptoms down to anxiety which I really don't think this is. Obviously I am anxious but that's because of the pain, not the cause of it.

Anyway I asked her to refer me and my breast clinic appointment has just cone through for Friday. I am now crapping it.

Sorry this is so long. I have been stewing about this for ages without talking to anyone so it is all a bit rambling

doistayordoigo Sun 31-May-15 00:10:13

I've had breast pain on and off for the last 12 years or so, and whenever it flairs up I get worried about it, despite having had it checked out several times, including a visit to the breast clinic (I was crapping it too!)

The time that I went and had it checked out at the breast clinic was when I was in so much pain that I spent the best part of to weeks having to clutch my right bosom permanently. Finally worked out that I'd caused that one by playing a game on the Xbox Kinect that involved jumping around a lot blush

I know mine isn't cyclical either, as I'm on Microgynon so don't have periods at all. I have a theory that it's caused/triggered by activity (eg the jumping around), as like you mine is mostly in the right breast. As I'm right-handed I think there is much more stress put on this side of the chest...for example, if you are cleaning and rubbing at something your right breast/chest area will be moving around more than the left. Not explaining myself very well, but if you stand in the shower and rub yourself with a sponge you'll see what I mean!

Anyway, if you're worried you're doing the right thing going to the breast clinic, even though it is scary. I was examined and then had a scan of he breast with a handheld scanner so they could see what was going on. Other than a tiny cyst there was nothing, but then I wasn't in pain at the time...I kinda think that if I'd gone when I actually had the pain there might have been a bigger cyst, maybe.

Breast pain is apparently very common, and usually not a sign of anything sinister...sinister things are not generally accompanied by pain either. Either way, the breast clinic should be able to reassure you, and in he very, very unlikely case that there is anything sinister you will have done the right thing in getting it checked out. Try not to worry too much flowers

spacechimp Sun 31-May-15 23:17:22

Thanks so much for your reply doistay - it really helps. When I get breast pain it makes me so stressed and worried. I am so preoccupied with it at the moment.

It's possible that some of the pain could be postural or due to movement, though I am left handed so won't be from using my hand on that side. I do quite a bit of exercise and I guess lifting weights in body pump classes might be a factor - but then why would the right breast be so much worse. I guess it's always been the more lumpy/tender one and I think there is also some cyclical pattern which could affect this pain, in addition to the usual pre menstrual tenderness but it's not that clear. I don't get many days without pain during the month so it's hard to tell.

Do you have periods of time when the pain goes away completely? When you have pain does it last minutes, hours or just twinges every now and then?

doistayordoigo Mon 01-Jun-15 16:42:16

I do have periods when it goes away completely, strangely I never seem to feel it when I'm on holiday, so I've also wondered whether stress could be a contributing factor, but it started up when my youngest son was about 2 so possibly not as I was a SAHM then, and not particularly stressed! It usually lasts for days (the worst time it lasted for a couple of weeks easily) and although it's worse on the right the left has started flaring up sometimes too. I did have mild mastitis/a blocked duct on the right with my youngest, so again I wonder if that's relevant too.

It gets very tender and if my husband brushes against me or one of the kids comes for a hug it can be very sore, yet I can poke and prod the whole area "looking" for the problem and feel nothing, which makes no sense to me. I know the consultant at the breast clinic said that unexplained breast pain was very, very common, but you still can't help worrying whenever you feel it, because it feels like there's something wrong. When's your appointment?

spacechimp Mon 01-Jun-15 22:26:03

Appointment is Friday morning. I've just started to get my usual pre menstrual tenderness today so will be sore for the examination. I need to explain clearly at the clinic without getting overly anxious/neurotic that the other pain I've been getting often feels different to this 'typical' cyclical pain and doesn't necessarily follow the same pattern.
I wonder about whether stress is a factor. It's hard to tell. Weirdly, the last time the pain pretty much went away was summer 2013 when my dad was seriously ill in intensive care - when I was highly stressed. I had minimal pain for about 10 months but then it started flaring up again. Did you have ultrasound/mammogram when you went to the breast clinic?
Completely agree that when you get pain you worry that something is wrong - very difficult not to

FiveGoMadInDorset Mon 01-Jun-15 22:35:34

I had this for about three months over Christmas, I was worried but it ended up being muscular, the nerves in your back end in your breast which is why it hurt, it still feels slightly not right on left hand side but had blood tests, a mammogram and an ultrasound, good luck for your appt.

doistayordoigo Tue 02-Jun-15 08:30:25

Didn't have a mammogram, but had an ultrasound with a handheld scanner. I was told originally (2 years ago) that it wasn't the breast itself but the chest wall. Are you taking someone with you on Friday for support/to hold off the boredom of sitting for several hours?

spacechimp Tue 02-Jun-15 17:16:19

Thanks for replies. I need to talk to DH about whether he's able to get away from work on Friday. I have been to the breast clinic before, for general lumpiness, but this was 8 years ago now, and went with a friend then. I just had a clinical examination and ultrasound then, as I was in my early 30s. Now that I'm 40 I'm wondering whether they will give me a mammogram

doistayordoigo Tue 02-Jun-15 22:29:28

Maybe, I was in my 30s when I went, but they might if you're older and worried. Maybe you can ask for one?

spacechimp Tue 02-Jun-15 22:49:30

I think I'd rather have an ultrasound tbh, or ultrasound and mammogram, but will see what they say

spacechimp Fri 05-Jun-15 14:39:01

Clinic was this morning. Had examination, mammo, and ultrasound. They were very thorough and happy to explain what they were doing and to listen to my concerns. The consultant was a bit dismissive but sent me for the tests anyway. They said they were happy and everything looked ok and they couldn't see anything of concern. They are going to get copies of a mammogram I had done 5 yrs ago at another hospital to compare the two and if they see any differences I will need to go back for a scan. They said this was 'unlikely but not impossible' so hopefully that is just routine and I can be reassured. And just get on dealing with the pain I guess.
Thanks for all the support. It really helped

doistayordoigo Fri 05-Jun-15 22:20:21

Glad everything went okay, although I know it's frustrating when there are no real answers! But at least you know they checked you out thoroughly smile

spacechimp Fri 05-Jun-15 22:30:59

I know - pain is still there. May investigate acupuncture or similar, or see whether there is a muscular element. Need to keep telling myself that I have been checked, and not to panic every time I feel the pain

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