Why your morning coffee habit may be causing breast pain

If you occasionally experience breast pain or tenderness, breast cancer surgeon Dr. Anita Johnson says, you are not alone.

"It's very common," Dr. Johnson says. "Over 87% of women have breast pain."

Johnson, chief of surgery at Cancer Treatment Centers of America Atlanta in Newnan, says the most common culprit breast pain may be in your coffee cup right now.

"The number one cause is caffeine-related," she says.  "So, you have to watch your teas, your chocolates, make sure you cut down on that. And, a lot of women are drinking energy drinks, and so it will make your breasts hurt tremendously."

Smoking can be another common trigger, Johnson says.

"Nicotine is actually vasoconstrictor," she explains. "So, it's vasoconstrictor for the entire body, and the nicotine actually will clamp the vessels down and cause discomfort."

Certain medications like diuretics, birth control pills and blood pressure medications can also cause breast tenderness.

Same thing with hormonal shifts, like your menstrual cycle.

The breasts will typically start to hurt a few days before your cycle begins and ease a day or two into your period.

"If your breasts hurt, you know, around your period, that's normal," Dr. Johnson says.  "If it goes away, then you're fine. So number one, check for the caffeine, and check for nicotine, and check the time of the month that your breasts hurt."

Women who are pregnant, going through menopause hormone therapy or fertility treatment may also experience breast tenderness or pain.

If the pain doesn't go away after a couple of weeks, or you have a lump, whether the lump is painful or not, Dr. Johnson says go see your doctor.

"You need to get it checked out," she says.  "If it's time for you to get your mammograms, and the breast pain is persistent, we encourage you to do so. "