February 6, 2012 2:08 PM   Subscribe

Women of Metafilter: have you ever experienced random boob pain?

I keep getting a sharp pain in my left breast and I'm wondering if other Mefi women have had this experience. It's hard to explain, but the pain feels like it's in my breast, not behind it (like chest pain), and I can sort of feel it radiate from the back of my boob to the front (but it never results in nipple pain or sensitivity).

It started when I was a teenager and it's very random and pretty infrequent (my best approximation for frequency is once a month, but sometimes it happens a lot in one week and then not again for several months). I have experienced it both on and off hormonal birth control, and it is not related to my menstrual cycle (i.e. it occurs at all phases). For a while I thought it might have something to do with heartburn or indigestion, because I noticed it twice within an hour of quickly eating a big meal (I'm normally not a very fast or big eater, so I'm not talking about scarfing down a big mac in 5 minutes or anything), but last night it hit me hard right at bedtime and I had not eaten in hours. I don't think that anything is terribly wrong with me, but I'm kind of curious if this is something I should get checked out. I have health insurance and a doctor and I realize that the most sensible thing do to is to ask her, but I'm partly asking to get a sense of whether or not this is something worth pursuing. I'm mostly curious if other women experience this and if they know what triggers it. The biggest puzzle for me is why does it only ever happen in my left boob?

I'm mid-20s, white, no kids, no major health or other boob issues (normal blood pressure & cholesterol readings, no diabetes, healthy BMI, no daily meds, no STIs or abnormal pap smears).
posted by Yo Mamma to Health & Fitness (24 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I have single-sided boob pain sometimes and it's a combination of things.

1. mousing problems -- I get it in the right side and I am right handed, so even though it doesn't FEEL like chest pain, it's a weird muscle problem
2. plugged milk ducts [long story short, but I have a hormone imbalance that results in some occasional lactation (annoying!) and this can sometimes happen]. Soreness, usually a hot shower clears it up
3. chest muscle pull - again with the swimming/arm/shoulder stuff. I was SURE this was a breast thing but it was really a muscle thing.

In any case, this is always something worth pursuing because the chances that it is nothing are high but the amount of good you can do if it is NOT nothing by getting it looked at early is considerable.
posted by jessamyn at 2:12 PM on February 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

This has happened to me. I got it checked out and it was nothing, but I had so much more piece of mind after I made certain I didn't need to worry. I second Jessamyn.
posted by pineappleheart at 2:14 PM on February 6, 2012

I've had random breast pain. It goes away after a moment or two, for me. I've also had random leg, side, back, hand, head (I affectionately call them BAZING! headaches), and arm pains all my life.

I always filed it under "Normal".

It's when the pain doesn't go away and/or happens consistently for days on end that I decide something is wrong.

Talk to your doctor if you're really worried about it though.
posted by royalsong at 2:15 PM on February 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

I had it regularly when I was in my twenties and thirties. Doc said caffeine was causing mine.
posted by raisingsand at 2:17 PM on February 6, 2012

Yup, same as royalsong. Random sharp pains, sometimes in boob, never really thought anything of it.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 2:17 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I had random boob pain! I did not go to the doctor about it, but later I developed a fibroadenoma in the same breast. I always kind of assumed they were related but have no proof either way.
posted by Jeanne at 2:18 PM on February 6, 2012

I'm the same as royalsong. I get random sharp stabbing pains in my boob(s) (definitely not muscle related) but I also get random stabbing pains elsewhere too. Never really given a second thought.
posted by missmagenta at 2:18 PM on February 6, 2012

Has your doctor ever commented during your annual exam that your boobs feel fibrocystic? That can cause the random stabby pains. It's a totally normal thing and nothing to worry about.
posted by joan_holloway at 2:22 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Left breast, premenstrual. My daughter, right breast, the same. No obvious stimulus brings it on, not every month, not at the same time.
posted by b33j at 2:34 PM on February 6, 2012

To clarify, this is not just the tenderness of breasts that occur premenstrually, but a sharp pain.
posted by b33j at 2:35 PM on February 6, 2012

Hells yes.

For me the triggers are: hormones, having too much salt all at once, and/or my electrolytes being out of whack. My doctor once described it as "too taut muscles scraping against one another". That's pretty much what the sharp pain feels like to me.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 2:39 PM on February 6, 2012

I get random sharp stabbing boob pain, but it never lasts longer than a few seconds, and I have not been able to discern any pattern. I tend to notice mine in my left boob more, if only because of the brief moment of "that's not my heart, is it?" but I'm pretty sure I get them on both sides. As you can tell by my vague recall, I don't worry about it, it seems more or less the same as some of the other occasional random stabbing pains I get elsewhere that pass really quickly.

If you're really concerned, bring it up at a checkup.
posted by yasaman at 2:40 PM on February 6, 2012

Chiming in to say I used to get those pains as well. Like yasaman, I never noticed a pattern, and never have worried about it. In fact, now that this thread has me thinking about it, I don't think I've had one for a few years - I'm 49, and premenopausal, so maybe it has something to do with hormone levels.
posted by PlantGoddess at 2:48 PM on February 6, 2012

I get these too...I think they are muscle related but sometimes I just get a random sharp pain. I think mine might be stress-related when it's not a muscle issue.
posted by fromageball at 2:57 PM on February 6, 2012

Like raisingsand, I get pain if I have too much caffeine. Right breast only.
posted by mkim at 3:01 PM on February 6, 2012

Chiming in with the fibrocystic breasts. I notice much more of this when my caffeine intake goes up. I don't have to quit, but more than 2 cups of tea a day makes this start happening. I don't notice any correlation to my cycle either.
posted by fiercecupcake at 5:03 PM on February 6, 2012

*Raises hand*

Random, sharp and intermittent left boob pain, just as the OP has described. When mentioned years ago to my gyno, she claimed the same. I have had mammograms resulting from family risks for many years, and nothing seems to support any pathology to said pain. I hope the anecdotal evidence you are receiving puts your mind at rest about your BOOOOOOOOBS.
posted by msali at 5:29 PM on February 6, 2012

Yes to the "fibrocystic", yes to the "I have gotten it checked out and it's nothing," yes to the "High caffeine intake tends to trigger it."

Get it checked out, but my guess is that you'll be eligible for Club Fibrocystic. I used to try to be really conscious of my caffeine intake during ovulation, because that combo tended to result in boob pain.

Sleeping in a leisure bra or cami bra has really helped when I've been having the pain.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:58 PM on February 6, 2012

It's only in my left breast and lasts just a few seconds. It happens maybe once or twice a year. Like royalsong since it didn't last long or happen often and I've had other sudden pains in other parts and, hey, bodies are just weird, I haven't worried about it. But it is nice to know I'm not alone.

posted by deborah at 8:50 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yup, and now that I think abou it, I don't think it's happened since I quit coffee.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:51 PM on February 6, 2012

Yes, but mine is linked to alcohol consumption, not caffeine.
posted by fiercekitten at 10:22 PM on February 6, 2012

Have you tried keeping a diary of when pain occurs?

I did and discovered that what I thought was a random 'ow' in my breast / chest area was actually acid reflux.

I had been experiencing it for *days* and it went away about ten minutes after I took some over the counter acid reflex / indigestion liquid based remedy.

Analysing my eating habits means the pain has not resurfaced.

Good luck sourcing the cause, especially if it's diet related (which can be hard to self diagnose). I hope you get to the bottom of it soon.
posted by Faintdreams at 1:42 AM on February 7, 2012

Yes and I went to a doctor about it. She said I was wearing the wrong bra size and should get re-measured. Not sure why this should translate to pain in the boob (pain in the back I would understand) but she's the doctor, not me!

I haven't noticed any pain since. I have a feeling some of it may have been psychosomatic because ever since going to the doctor about it I haven't experienced any pain at all.

Go see a doctor if you're worried.
posted by Ziggy500 at 2:14 AM on February 7, 2012

Thanks everyone! I'm glad to see this kind of thing is relatively normal and usually benign. That's interesting about the dairy/caffeine/acid reflux. I'll definitely keep this stuff in mind the next time it happens. Given that I've never had any random lactation or been told that my breasts are fibrocystic, I think I'll file this under Random Physical Sensations Not Worth Worrying About and call it a day.

Hooray boobs!
posted by Yo Mamma at 7:59 AM on February 7, 2012

« Older Siblings of Individuals with Disabilities: What do...   |   Enterprise software upgrade fees Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.