Missed periods can be a scary experience because missed periods, especially when they happen along with symptoms such as breast tenderness, can be a sign of pregnancy. If you think you may be pregnant, it is a good idea to take a pregnancy test to make sure and visit a local health clinic or doctor to get your results corroborated.
However, breast tenderness and missed periods are not just a sign of pregnancy when felt together. They can also signify an underlying medical condition or be symptoms of menopause.
What Is Breast Tenderness?
Breast tenderness is described as sensitivity, discomfort, or pain in either one or both breasts. Scientifically, such sensations are termed mastodynia, mastalgia, or mammalgia. The pain can be constant or occur cyclically. Many women experience tenderness during premenstrual syndrome (PMS), about a week before their period should come. This is due to hormonal changes that may make the breasts more tender and sensitive.
What Causes Breast Tenderness and Missed Periods?
Breast Tenderness Fact:
Around 70% of women will experience breast tenderness at some point in their lives. This can stem from a variety of situations, such as pregnancy, exercise, PMS, or an underlying medical condition.
During menopause, a woman's body begins to produce less estrogen and gets ready to end its reproductive capacity. This can lead to missed periods and other symptoms, such as breast tenderness, hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and vaginal dryness.
However, if you are not menopausal or pregnant, you may be experiencing an underlying medical condition. One medical condition that causes breast tenderness is ovarian cysts. Ovarian cysts are fluid filled or solid sacs that grow in and around the ovaries. They usually disappear on their own, but they can become a medical problem that needs treatment. Symptoms include abdominal pain, an irregular menstrual cycle, nausea, and breast tenderness.
If a woman has missed her period for three or more months and it is not due to menopause or pregnancy, it is called amenorrhea. It may seem nice to not have to deal with a period, but missing your period can be a sign that your body is not functioning properly. Amenorrhea can be caused by sudden weight loss, low body fat or body weight, stress, malnutrition, eating disorders, medication, or lots of exercise. It is important to address these causes and help your body become healthy.
What Are the Symptoms of Breast Tenderness?
Symptoms of breast tenderness include:
- Breast swelling
- A rise in sensitivity to touch
- An increase in sensitivity to pressure
- Breast soreness
Breast Tenderness Treatment
Treatment for breast tenderness often depends on what the underlying cause of it is. If it is disrupting your day-to-day life, it is a good idea to talk to a physician. However, lifestyle changes such as wearing a supportive and well-fitting bra, using warm compresses on your breasts, and taking over-the-counter painkillers can help. Click on the following link to learn more about breast pain treatments.
- Princeton University. (2015). Women's Health. Retrieved November 12, 2015, from http://uhs.princeton.edu/health-resources/womens-health
- Reynolds, G. (2013). The Problem of Breast Pain in Women Who Exercise. The New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2015, from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/01/the-problem-of-breast-pain-in-women-who-exercise/?_r=0