Many women are able to chart their menstrual cycle through corresponding pain in their breasts. Often one or two weeks before her period, a woman will experience breast tenderness, which will begin to subside after the period starts. While no one is quite sure about the exact reason for breast tenderness, theories have been made that can help women relieve annoying and painful symptoms. Read over the following article for more information about the remedies and causes for breast tenderness.
What Exactly Is Breast Tenderness?
Breast tenderness is, like the term suggests, the experience of any pain or soreness experienced felt in the breasts. It is commonly experienced during menstrual periods, pregnancy and breast-feeding, and often comes accompanied by swelling. Many women will suffer symptoms of breast tenderness during menopause.
What Causes Breast Tenderness?
Doctors believe that breast tenderness is caused by excessive female hormones, that is, there being too much estrogen, progesterone or prolactin in the body. Other theories argue that it is not the amount, but the fluctuations of these hormones that are responsible. This would explain the intense breast pain many women encounter during menopause as throughout this time female hormones fluctuate greatly. It is thought that these monthly changes in hormones triggers the fluid retention that makes them feel swollen and tender.
Breast tenderness and discomfort also tends to correspond with emotional stress or prolonged activity. An excessive amount of salt, fat and caffeine can also worsen the experience of tender breasts.
Tips for Breast Tenderness
If you are experiencing typical monthly breast pain, there are a range of things you can do to bring relief. For example:
Exercise. Partake in any regular physical activity. Breast pain is often worse among people who are inactive.
Make sure you are wearing the correct bra. Wearing a supporting and well-fitted bra when exercising or going to bed will help support the strain off tender breast tissues.
Use ice packs. Some women find that ice packs help reduce any swelling in their breasts. Place an ice pack against your breasts for 10-15 minutes for relief.
- Medications. If you feel that the pain is too much and home remedies don't seem to be having much of an effect, there is a range of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory tablets that can help with breast tenderness.
In addition to these remedies, there are also some alternative medicines that can help alleviate the symptoms of breast tenderness. These medicines target the core problem of hormonal imbalance and help stop the pain at its source.
Click for more information on specific treatments for dealing with breast tenderness
- Hutchinson, Susan M.D. "The Stages of a Woman's Life: Menstruation, Pregnancy, Nursing, Perimenopause, Menopause". November 2007.
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- BMJ Group. "Menopause: What is it?" Patient Leaflet. 2007.