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Breast J. 2014 Sep-Oct;20(5):508-13. doi: 10.1111/tbj.12305. Epub 2014 Jul 7.

The prevalence, severity, and impact of breast pain in the general population.

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Department of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, United Kingdom.


Breast pain has been investigated in clinical populations; however we have yet to understand the prevalence and severity of this condition in the general population to determine whether more should be done to minimize the impact of this condition on women's quality of life. Therefore, this study investigated the prevalence, severity, and impact of breast pain on quality of life and factors associated with breast pain in a normal population sample. 1,659 females (34.1 ± 13.2 years) completed the Breast Pain Questionnaire online, providing information on demographics, duration, frequency, and severity of breast pain, its association with the menstrual cycle, relieving, and aggravating factors and the impact on quality of life. Over half the sample (51.5%) experienced breast pain, with a severity similar to that reported in clinical populations. There was a higher prevalence of breast pain in older participants, larger breasted participants and those who were less fit and active. Of symptomatic participants, 41% and 35% reported breast pain affecting quality of life measures of sex and sleep and 10% of symptomatic participants had sufferer for over half their lives. The results of this study suggest that breast pain is a significant issue within the general population and yet this is the first study to investigate it. It is concluded that this condition warrants increased investigation, awareness, and treatment. The reported relationship between breast pain and fitness/activity levels may offer an alternative treatment in the form of exercise intervention strategies to reduce breast pain.


McGill pain questionnaire; breast pain; mastalgia; quality of life

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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