Prevalence and impact of cyclic mastalgia in a United States clinic-based sample

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1997 Jul;177(1):126-32. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(97)70450-2.


Objectives: A descriptive study was conducted to examine the prevalence of premenstrual breast symptoms, the impact of cyclic mastalgia on various activities, and associated patterns of health care utilization.

Study design: Patients at an obstetrics and gynecology clinic (n = 1171) completed a questionnaire.

Results: Sixty-nine percent of women reported regular premenstrual discomfort; 36% had consulted a health care provider about the symptoms. Current moderate-to-severe cyclic mastalgia was found in 11%. Women <36 years old with cyclic mastalgia were 4.7 times as likely as asymptomatic young women to have had a mammogram. Mastalgia interferes with usual sexual activity in 48% of women and with physical (37%), social (12%), and work or school (8%) activity.

Conclusions: Cyclic mastalgia is a common problem, sometimes severe enough to interfere with usual activities, and it is associated with high use of mammography among young women. Largely ignored both scientifically and clinically in the United States, this disorder merits further biopsychosocial investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging / physiology
  • Breast / physiopathology*
  • Breast Self-Examination
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography
  • Marital Status
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain
  • Parity
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Prevalence
  • Racial Groups
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology