Armpit and breast pain can affect any woman, but those going through menopause are more susceptible. Pain in the armpits can be caused by a number of things, including muscle strains, injury, infection, or inflammation. Breast pain is a common symptom in menopausal women, ranging from mild to severe, and it is most often caused by hormone fluctuations. However, there are many natural remedies that can help alleviate this pain.
What Causes Armpit and Breast Pain?
Armpit pain can be caused by muscle strain, pinched nerves, minor injuries, infection, and inflammation. Infection and inflammation of the armpits is typically caused by harsh chemicals in deodorants and antiperspirants, or by fungi or bacteria in the armpit. Muscle strains or pinched nerves can be caused by activities like golf or softball, which involve a lot of swinging. Common symptoms of armpit pain are redness or discoloration of the armpit, itching, soreness, or inflamed armpits.
The most common cause of breast pain is hormonal changes, specifically estrogen and progesterone fluctuations. These hormonal fluxes cause inflammation of breast tissue, resulting in pain. Common symptoms of breast pain include tenderness, a sharp stabbing sensation, burning, swelling, and aching. These sensations can also spread to the armpit area.
Natural Remedies for Armpit and Breast Pain
Fear not - there are many things you can do to deal with these pains. Here are some helpful tips:
Apply a cold compress
Applying an ice pack or cold cotton washcloth directly to the armpit or breast is an effective way to relieve inflammation and pain, including swelling.
Take a warm bath
Conversely, warmth can also remedy armpit and breast pain. If there is an infection or inflammation, soaking in a warm bath with a tablespoon of baking soda can help relieve itchiness, inflammation, and overall pain.
Drink plenty of water
Drinking more water than usual can help speed up the healing of the infection and reduce water retention by balancing out salt levels.
Wear loose, cotton clothing
Avoid wearing tight clothing made of out polyester, nylon, or other synthetic fabrics, which can further irritate inflamed armpits and sore breasts. Also, wearing a soft, supportive bra during any kind of activity can help prevent breast pain.
Try over-the-counter painkillers
If the above methods are ineffective and pain persists, try taking over-the-counter medication, like ibuprofen. If armpit or breast pain worsens, continues, or spreads to the chest and feels like squeezing or radiating, talk to your doctor immediately.
Read for more information about breast pain treatments.
- National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). Antiperspirants/Deodorants and Breast Cancer. Retrieved July 21, 2014, from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/AP-Deo
- National Health Service UK. (2012). Breast pain, cyclical. Retrieved July 21, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breastpaincyclical/pages/introduction.aspx
- University of Maryland Medical Center. (2014). Breast pain. Retrieved July 21, 2014, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/ency/articles/breast-pain