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How to Determine if Breast Tenderness Is a Symptom of Something Serious

While breasts are sensitive by nature, it's sometimes hard to tell if there is an underlying cause for tenderness. Learn how to tell the difference between general soreness and a serious medical condition.


  • TIP: Some diuretics, steroids, and chlorpromazine -- a drug used to treat schizophrenia -- are known to cause breast soreness.
  • Step 1: Check any medications that you are taking for side effects that include breast tenderness.
  • Step 2: Look at your history of illness. It is common for people with liver damage caused by alcohol to have breast tenderness.
  • Step 3: See your doctor if your breast tenderness seems out of the ordinary, especially following your period. You'll feel better when you have the peace of mind that everything is all right with your girls.
  • FACT: In 2009, Rosie Jones set a world record for the most bras taken off and put on in 1 minute, with a total of 7 brassieres.
  • Step 4: Feel your breasts to check for swelling. If they are hard to the touch, you should check with your doctor, especially if you gave birth within the last week.
  • Step 5: Determine if the pain you are feeling has been persistent and long-term. Persistent breast tenderness should be reported to your physician.
  • Step 6: Perform a breast self-exam to check for tender spots and lumps. If you have a lump that is hard like a marble or a spot on your breast that is painful and that does not go away after your period, see your doctor.
  • TIP: Get measured by a bra specialist and try on different styles to find the most supportive and comfortable bra.
  • Step 7: Check your breasts for redness or skin that is hot to the touch. This could be a sign of mastitis, a breast infection that will need treatment with antibiotics.
  • TIP: Mastitis is seen most often in breast-feeding or weaning mothers.
  • Step 8: Check your nipples for blood or pus, as this is also a sign of infection. See your doctor if you have any discharge from your breasts.
  • Step 9: Wear a supportive bra. Breasts that are not supported properly may be sore because of gravity's pull on the internal structure of the breast.

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