But rest assured, breast changes are a normal part of female anatomy. Keep in mind that breast heaviness is rarely a sign of cancer. Fibrocystic breast changes are very common. According to the Mayo Clinic, half of women experience them at some point in their lives. This noncancerous condition can cause a variety of changes in the breasts, including the accumulation of water in the breast tissue.
The causes of a swollen breast range from hormone fluctuations to more serious medical conditions. While it's best to see a doctor if you're concerned about a breast enlarged beyond its normal size, there are signs that can help you determine what the underlying issue might be. By far the most common cause of swelling or enlargement of the breasts in women is due to hormonal changes, says Paige Johnson, MD , an ob-gyn at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Women can also experience breast swelling with changes in weight, fluid retention, after trauma or when a breast cyst develops, she continues. The best advice for swollen breasts — or any changes in this body part — is to "know your breasts," says Dr. Any mass that's new, enlarging or tender for more than a month should be evaluated by a doctor. Young girls may experience swollen breasts when puberty begins, since the first sign of this life change is the development of tender breast buds, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
If you buy something through a link on this page, we may earn a small commission. How this works. Women of all ages report having breast pain, also known as mastalgia.
Breast pain mastalgia — a common complaint among women — can include breast tenderness, sharp burning pain or tightness in your breast tissue. The pain may be constant or it may occur only occasionally. Postmenopausal women sometimes have breast pain, but breast pain is more common in younger women who haven't completed menopause. Most times, breast pain signals a noncancerous benign breast condition and rarely indicates breast cancer.