Breast pain affects approximately two out three women at some point in their lives. Breast pain refers to the general discomfort, tenderness, or aching in one or both breasts. There are two types of breast pain: cyclical and non-cyclical. Cyclical breast pain is linked to periodic hormonal fluctuations. Non-cyclical breast pain includes uncommon causes, like infection in the breast or pain from breastfeeding. Breast pain is a common occurrence, and should not be a serious cause for worry.
Breast pain can range from mild to severe discomfort. Common symptoms of cyclical breast pain include: tenderness to touch, lumpiness, sharp stabbing sensation, burning, swelling, and dull aching.
The leading cause of breast pain is hormone fluctuations, specifically of estrogen and progesterone. These hormonal changes cause irritation of breast tissue, resulting in pain.
Additional causes of daily breast pain include: stress, exercise (with ill-fitting bras), certain medications, previous breast surgery or trauma, breast size, cysts in the breasts, and poor diet.
Remedies for Breast Pain
Making a few simple lifestyle changes can help prevent daily breast pain. Getting plenty of sleep every night (between seven to eight hours), avoiding excess alcohol and caffeine, and hydrating properly are all simple changes that can reduce breast pain.
Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is essential to feeling and looking your best. It is recommended to eat three small, healthy meals a day, along with nutritious snacks every few hours. Several nutrient-rich foods that have been known to help prevent and relieve daily breast pain include: salmon, avocados, chicken, almonds, spinach, kale, guavas, low-fat yogurt, and broccoli.
Herbal remedies are a natural alternative to prescription medication when dealing with daily breast pain. Several herbs that have been shown to help with breast pain are evening primrose oil, ginger and soy. Other helpful at home remedies include cold compresses, warm baths, and wearing loose cotton clothing.
Getting plenty of exercise not only keeps you fit and healthy, but it has also been shown to prevent and ease daily breast pain. It is generally recommended to get around 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least three times a week. Biking, walking, swimming, and yoga are all excellent low-impact workouts that can help reduce stress, and boost energy levels. Be sure wear to a properly fitted sports bra when exercising to prevent breast pain.
Breast pain affects as many as 70% of women at some stage of their lives. Of those 70%, about 10% experience severe breast pain, which can interfere with daily life and relationships. Although breast pain may be alarming, it should not be a major cause for concern, as it is a normal symptom. It is important to note that breast pain is rarely a sign of breast cancer, only 2-7% of women with breast cancer experience breast pain. Read more about home remedies for severe breast pain.
- National Health Service. (2014). Breast pain. Retrieved on December 9, 2014 from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breastpaincyclical/pages/introduction.aspx
- University of Maryland Medical Center. (2012). Breast pain. Retrieved on December 9, 2014 from http://umm.edu/health/medical/ency/articles/breast-pain
- Reynolds, G. (2013). The Problem of Breast Pain in Women Who Exercise.. Retrieved on December 9, 2014 from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/01/the-problem-of-breast-pain-in-women-who-exercise/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0