Mastalgia - The Burden Beneath

Eur J Breast Health. 2023 Dec 27;20(1):15-18. doi: 10.4274/ejbh.galenos.2023.2023-3-10. eCollection 2024 Jan.


Objective: Mastalgia is the most common breast-related complaint. A multitude of hormonal changes and lifestyle associated factors have been implicated in its causation. A long list of treatment modalities have been tried with varying success rates. To identify the most common risk factors and the most effective management strategies for mastalgia in our clinic population.

Materials and methods: A total of 100 women between 18-65 years of age presenting to the breast clinic with mastalgia were followed throughout their course of diagnosis and management. Stepwise treatment was provided, starting with reassurance and breast support and progressing to include pharmacological measures, when necessary. The risk factors and outcomes of treatment were analysed.

Results: The majority (66%) were aged 25-47 years and the left breast was found to be most frequently involved. Involvement of the upper outer quadrant was significantly more common. Lump/nodularity was the most prevalent risk factor. Most patients showed a positive response to non-steroid anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) in addition to reassurance, breast support and dietary changes.

Conclusion: A detailed history and clinical examination helps to identify the risk factors and the best approach for the management of mastalgia. Educating women regarding breast self-examination at regular intervals helps in early presentation and diagnosis of the underlying condition. Reassurance, breast support and lifestyle changes are the first line treatment and have good results in a significant number of patients. In our practice topical and oral NSAIDs, evening primrose oil and vitamin E were frequently used as additional treatments to non-pharmacological methods.

Keywords: Centchroman; mastalgia; menarche; risk factors.