Why Do I Have A Swollen Breast?

Question

Asked by rach

Why Do I Have A Swollen Breast?

My right breast is swollen and sore. I can't find any lumps, either in the breast or under my arm, and my nipple is OK. I'm 32 and have never breastfed. Do you know what might be causing this swelling?

Answer

Breast swelling and soreness is fairly common as part of your menstrual cycle, and during pregnancy/breastfeeding. Your hormone levels fluctuate quite a bit during these times, and swelling and soreness is one of the results.

However, when just one breast swells up, it's typically not hormonal. You might have an infection of some kind; mastitis would the most likely. Contrary to what most women believe, it's possible to get mastitis without ever having been pregnant or breastfed; non-lactational mastitis can strike a woman at any time. Another possibility is a fluid-filled cyst that's suddenly grown larger; while not dangerous, cysts can cause breast swelling and be quite painful.

Sudden breast swelling is also a symptom of inflammatory breast cancer. Thankfully, at your age, and given the rareness of this diagnosis, it's highly unlikely.

Whatever's causing this soreness and swelling, you need to get checked by a doctor - and fairly quickly. If it's an infection, early treatment can really make a difference.

Answered by PJ Hamel