Breast pain (mastalgia) often precedes menstrual period, which is of mild to moderate severity. This study was performed to determine the effectiveness of chamomile on pain control of cyclic mastalgia. This double-blind randomised controlled clinical trial was conducted on 60 patients with mastalgia referred to the breast clinic of an academic hospital, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences. The patients were randomly allocated into two groups: chamomile (n = 30) and placebo (n = 30). Primary outcomes were: (1) assessment of the visual analogue scale (VAS) and (2) assessment of the breast pain chart (BPC) 8 weeks after initial intervention. All the participants were asked to take drops three times a day each time having five drops for two consecutive months. Significant decline was observed in both the groups (chamomile and placebo) after two months (p < .0001 and p = .048, respectively) compared to baseline and between two groups (p = .007). Chamomile was a well-tolerated, secure and effective drug for treating women with mild to moderate mastalgia. Impact statement What is already known on this subject: Breast pain (mastalgia) is a common chief complaint reported by many women. The 'cyclic' type, which usually occurs monthly prior to the onset of menstrual period, is of moderate severity. In 30% of the cases, mastalgia is severe and disturbs normal life, leading to sexual, physical, and social dysfunction as well as depression and anxiety. The cause of cyclical mastalgia is not known, but given the fact that it begins in the luteal phase, it can be caused by hormonal stimulation. A variety of therapies have been recommended. Such therapies include prescription of vitamin B2, B6, E and C, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), diuretics, thyroxin, progesterone, Tamoxifen, Danazol, Bromocriptine and plant extracts like vitexagnus castus, evening primrose oil (EPO). However, given the side effects of hormonal treatment, many women have developed a propensity towards the use of herbal medicine. What do the results of this study add: Chamomile presents a safe, well-tolerated and effective treatment for women with moderate mastalgia. What are the implications of these finding for clinical practice and/or further research: Considering that Danazol, Bromocriptine and Tamoxifen are standard treatments for mastalgia, it would be helpful to carry out a trial study to compare the effect of chamomile extract versus standard treatments. The physicians can prescribe chamomile as a safe alternative treatment for mastalgia.
Keywords: Matricaria chamomilla; breast pain; mastalgia.