Breast pain is experienced by 70% of women during their lives and is felt as general discomfort, tenderness, and soreness in the breast. The sensation can last anywhere between a few hours and several days. Commonly, however, breast pain tends to be a harmless symptom of hormone fluctuations. While most typically benign, it is wise to give all the potential causes of breast pain due consideration.
Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause can all cause breast pain. The changes in estrogen and progesterone levels specifically can result in a painful inflammation of the breast tissue.
Research recently published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine examined the relationship between breast pain and active women. The results, unfortunately, demonstrated that exercise has a significantly negative impact on breast pain. Conversely, however, exercise is still considered beneficial for menopausal women in the long run. Scientists argue that ill-fitting sports bras are the main cause of exercise-related breast pain, so in order to benefit from the rewards of exercise, ensure your bra is well-fitted.
Breast Cyst or Breast Size
Sometimes, breast pain can be triggered by cysts in the breast. Although cysts are commonly benign, if you discover one, it is wise to seek out medical advice in order to rule out the threat of serious conditions. The size of the breast itself can also play a role in breast pain, as those with larger breasts tend to find themselves more susceptible to pain.
Stress is a common trigger for many menopause symptoms, including breast pain. In order to lessen the experience of breast pain, it is advised that women take steps to regulate their stress levels. Engaging in regular exercise, yoga, or meditation can provide an excellent way of reducing stress and improving overall well-being.
Too Much Alcohol or Coffee
Drinking alcohol and coffee in excess is inadvisable, as these beverages can dehydrate the body and adversely influence the nervous system. High alcohol consumption can even impact estrogen levels.
Breast pain can be experienced as a common side effect of taking oral contraceptives, antidepressants, or heart medications. Before beginning a treatment, it is wise to consider your medications potential side effects. Talk to your physician if you are experiencing breast pain or any other side effects from your prescriptions.
Breast pain is a common menopause symptom that affects almost two-thirds of menopausal women. Making simple lifestyle changes - like engaging in regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and ensuring your bras are properly fitted - can be highly effective when managing breast pain. Adopting natural home remedies like taking warm baths, wearing loose cotton clothing, and using cold compresses can also be effective when trying to alleviate sudden breast pain.
- Brown, N. et al. (2013). The experience of breast pain (mastalgia) in female runners of the 2012 London Marathon and its effect on exercise behaviour. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48(4), 320-325. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092175
- Mason, B.R. , Page, K.A. & Fallon, K. (1999). An analysis of movement and discomfort of the female breast during exercise and the effects of breast support in three cases. Journal of science and medicine in sport, 2(2), 134-144. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10476977
- National Health Service UK. (2012). Breast pain, cyclical. Retrieved July 23, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breastpaincyclical/pages/introduction.aspx
- University of Maryland Medical Center. (2012). Breast pain. Retrieved July 23, 2014, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/ency/articles/breast-pain