BY PATRICIA INACIO, PHD
Mastalgia and fibromyalgia can significantly coexist in women, suggesting that mastalgia may be a potential syndrome in fibromyalgia. These are the results of a study titled “Can mastalgia be another somatic symptom in fibromyalgia syndrome?” and published in the journal Clinics.
Mastalgia, also known as mastodynia or breast pain, occurs in about 80% of women. Commonly associated with benign breast conditions, such as fibrocystic breast disease, premenstrual syndrome, and psychological disorders, it may in rare cases be a sign of malignancy.
Researchers investigated the coexistence of mastalgia and fibromyalgia, and how both syndromes can impact pain patterns. The team enrolled 114 women, 61 experiencing breast pain (mastalgia group) and 53 with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS group). All patients reporting breast pain (including those in the fibromyalgia group who experienced mastalgia three months prior to starting the study) answered the Breast Pain Questionnaire. All patients in the mastalgia group were screened for fibromyalgia syndrome to determine the coexistence of the two.
Scientists observed that 47.2% of patients with fibromyalgia were diagnosed with mastalgia at the time of admission; additionally, they discovered that 37.7% of women with mastalgia met all the defined criteria and were diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome. Total breast pain scores registered in mastalgia patients in the FMS group were significantly higher than those in the mastalgia group. Moreover, patients with fibromyalgia in the mastalgia group exhibited significantly higher Widespread Pain Index and Symptom Severity Scale scores when compared to patients in the FMS group.
The authors highlighted that the coexistence of mastalgia and fibromyalgia syndrome is more frequent than previously estimated. Moreover, mastalgia may be included as part of the central sensitivity syndrome and is therefore a potential symptom to be considered in the overall somatic symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Mastalgia has two forms: cyclic mastalgia, which is the most common and associated with menstrual periods, and non-cyclic mastalgia, affecting a small proportion of women without premenstrual exacerbations.