Learn more about breast problems in men: introduction
There are many reasons breasts can be painful. Breast pain by itself is unlikely to be a symptom of cancer.
Most causes of male breast pain are not serious. A few of the more common causes of male breast pain include:
- Breast injury
An injury to the breast can happen from sports, automobile accidents, or work-related activities. When these injuries cause the death of fatty tissue in the breast (called breast fat necrosis), the breast can develop dimpling or a firm lump. This can be frightening as the symptoms of breast fat necrosis often seem similar to those of breast cancer.
- Runner's nipple
Sometimes men develop irritated or bloody nipples from jogging. Friction over the nipples can result in pain and bleeding.
An infection of breast tissue called mastitis can occur in men as well as women.
- Breast cyst
A breast cyst is a fluid-filled sac in the breast. It happens to both men and women.
While uncommon in men, a fibroadenoma is a benign breast tumor composed of glandular and fibrous breast tissue.
Gynecomastia is swelling of the breast tissue in boys or men, caused by an imbalance of the hormones estrogen and testosterone. Gynecomastia can happen both breasts, sometimes unevenly. Newborns, boys going through puberty and older men may develop gynecomastia as a result of normal changes in hormone levels, though other causes also exist. Generally, gynecomastia isn't a serious problem, but it can be tough to cope with the condition. Men and boys with gynecomastia sometimes have pain in their breasts and may feel embarrassed. Gynecomastia may go away on its own. If it persists, medication or surgery may help.
How to ease the pain yourself
You can take paracetamol or ibuprofen, or rub painkilling gel on your breasts.
There's little evidence that vitamin E tablets or evening primrose oil help with breast pain. Sometimes breast pain is caused by: These can be signs of something more serious. 111 will tell you what to do. They can arrange a phone call from a nurse or doctor if you need one. Go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111.
See a GP about breast pain if:
Get advice from 111 now if:
Other ways to get help
There's little evidence that vitamin E tablets or evening primrose oil help with breast pain.
Sometimes breast pain is caused by:
These can be signs of something more serious.
111 will tell you what to do. They can arrange a phone call from a nurse or doctor if you need one.
Go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111.