There are two types of breast pain: cyclical and non-cyclical. Cyclical breast pain recurs on a monthly basis and is primarily caused by hormonal fluctuations. Non-cyclical is sporadic and typically caused by things like cysts. Breast pain refers to the general discomfort, tenderness, and soreness in one or both breasts. It affects as many as 70% of women during menopause, making it one of the most common complaints.
As previously mentioned, hormone fluctuations are the primary cause of breast pain. These shifts often cause inflammation of the breast tissue, which results in pain. Women typically experience this kind of breast pain during times of hormonal change, like menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.
Previous incisions in or around the breast that haven't properly healed or have become irritated can cause breast pain.
Cysts are fluid-filled sacs in the breasts that feel like round lumps. They occur more frequently in menopausal women and can cause alarm. They typically disappear on their own and are usually benign. If they're causing severe and prolonged pain, they can be surgically removed.
Some antidepressants and birth control medications can cause breast pain. Always be aware of the potential side effects of the medications you take.
Women of all breast sizes can experience breast pain, but women with larger breasts are more susceptible to it. It's important to wear a properly fitted bra during any period of activity to provide optimal support and comfort.
Women who have an unbalanced diet are more likely to experience breast pain than those with healthy diets. Remember to include plenty of fruits and vegetables, protein, complex carbohydrates, and good fats into your diet. The general recommendation is to eat three healthy meals a day, in addition to small, nutritious snacks every three to four hours. Avocados, kale, and low-fat yogurt are all nutrient-rich foods that can help lessen breast pain.
Caffeine causes blood vessels to dilate, which sometimes leads to breast pain and tenderness. Try to avoid tea, coffee, and sodas in order to prevent breast pain.
This is a non-cyclical cause of breast pain, and is the inflammation of the ribs' junctions to the breastbone or sternum. Costochondritis typically affects older women and can be a result of a lifetime of bad posture.
Breast pain and tenderness can be caused by a number of things. The main cause in menopausal women is hormonal imbalance. Other causes of breast pain include too loose bras and breast size. Breast pain is rarely a sign of breast cancer, but it's still crucial to get regular breast exams just to be sure. If breast pain and tenderness persists or worsens after several days, it may be wise to contact a doctor.
- National Health Service UK. (2014). Breast pain. Retrieved August 19, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breastpaincyclical/pages/introduction.aspx
- National Institute on Aging. (2012). Hormones and Menopause. Retrieved August 19, 2014, from http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/hormones-and-menopause
- University of Maryland Medical Center. (2012). Breast pain. Retrieved August 19, 2014, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/ency/articles/breast-pain