What causes breast burning sensation?

Breast burning sensation can be the result of skin damage to the breast and surrounding tissues. For example, burns and exposure to poisonous substances or toxic chemicals can damage the nerves in the skin, leading to breast burning sensations.

Damage to the peripheral nerves (peripheral neuropathy) can also result in breast burning sensation. Peripheral neuropathy may be due to specific diseases or conditions, such as diabetes or alcoholism, that can affect nerve health, or it may have no known cause. A small percentage of women with new-onset breast discomfort have breast cancer.

Physical causes of breast burning sensation

Breast burning sensation may be caused by physical causes including:

  • Breast trauma or injury
  • Burns, including sunburn
  • Exposure to cold
  • Exposure to toxic or poisonous compounds
  • Injury to nerve
  • Pressure on nerve

Diseases or disorders causing breast burning sensation

Breast burning sensation may be due to a specific, underlying disease or disorder that causes nerve damage including:

  • Alcoholic neuropathy (nerve damage associated with excessive alcohol consumption)
  • Breast cancer
  • Cyclical hormone stimulation
  • Diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage due to high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes)
  • Ductal ectasia
  • Fibrocystic disease of the breast
  • Pregnancy
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (chronic autoimmune disease characterized by joint inflammation)
  • Shingles (reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, which remains in the body in an inactive state following chickenpox)
  • Sjogren’s syndrome (autoimmune disorder damaging glands that make tears and saliva)
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (disorder in which the body attacks its own healthy cells and tissues)
  • Vitamin deficiencies

Serious or life-threatening causes of breast burning sensation

In some cases, breast burning sensation may be a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition that should be evaluated immediately in an emergency setting, including myocardial infarction (heart attack).

Questions for diagnosing the cause of breast burning sensation

To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your breast burning sensation including:

  • How long have you felt the breast burning sensation?
  • Where do you feel the burning sensation?
  • Do you have any other symptoms?
  • Are you menopausal or premenopausal?
  • When was your last breast examination?
  • What medications are you taking?

What are the potential complications of breast burning sensation?

Because breast burning sensation can be due to serious diseases, failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications and permanent damage. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, it is important for you to follow the treatment plan that you and your health care professional design specifically for you to reduce the risk of potential complications including:

  • Heart failure
  • Permanent nerve damage
  • Spread of cancer
  • Spread of infection


  1. NINDS paresthesia information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/paresthesia/paresthesia.htm.
  2. Peripheral neuropathy fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/peripheralneuropathy/detail_peripheralneuropathy.htm
  3. Srivastava A, Mansel RE, Arvind N, et al. Evidence-based management of Mastalgia: a meta-analysis of randomised trials. Breast 2007; 16:503.

What is breast burning sensation?

Breast burning sensation, a burning feeling in one or both breasts, can result from a number of causes, including a thermal burn, various diseases, or direct exposure to toxic substances or extreme cold.

Another possible cause of breast burning sensation is neuropathy, or damage to the nerves that relay signals from the breast to the brain and spinal cord. Neuropathy can be a re... Read more about breast burning sensationintroduction


What other symptoms might occur with breast burning sensation?

Breast burning sensation may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. The cause of the breast burning sensation may also affect other body systems.

Breast symptoms that may occur along with breast burning sensation

Breast burning sensation may accompany other symptoms affecting the breast including:

Read more about breast burning sensationsymptoms

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Brain and Nerves