The answer to this question is not so clear-cut. For certain people, caffeine can play a role in cyclical breast pain, a type of pain associated with hormonal fluctuations and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). However, for other cases of breast pain, such as during menopause, the connection is not direct. Read on to find out if your consumption of caffeine may cause breast pain.
What's the Connection Between Caffeine and Breast Pain?
Caffeine is derived from a chemical substance called methylxanthine, which causes blood vessels to become wider. When these pathways expand, although the effect may be minimal, it can cause an uncomfortable sensation.
Additionally, caffeine has been cited for increasing levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body. This increased presence of cortisol may interact with other female hormones - especially when you are experiencing premenstrual syndrome - and cause tender breasts.
Various studies have yielded differing opinions on the link between caffeine and breast pain. While some doctors conclude that there is no link, others say that the effect of caffeine on breast pain differs from woman to woman. Some women, for example, may experience less breast pain when they stop consuming caffeine, whereas for others, eschewing the drug may actually cause breast pain. Ultimately, each woman has to determine what effect caffeine has on her body independently.
Which Caffeine Products Affect Cyclical Breast Pain?
Everyone knows that a cup of coffee or a can of soda contains caffeine, but there are other products that you could be consuming that contain enough caffeine to have an impact on breast pain. Excedrin-brand painkiller, for instance, contains the same caffeine as that cup you had this morning. This caffeine kick is actually what in part gives it its painkilling ability. Caffeine is also present in some candies, chocolates, and energy drinks.
Recommendations for Relieving Breast Pain
If you're experiencing cyclical breast pain, adjusting your caffeine intake is one way to try and ease your discomfort. Because each woman is different, it's important to do a trial period where you test whether or not caffeine intake is influencing your breast pain. Try taking caffeine out of your diet for a few weeks and see what the results are.
Of course, there are many other ways to alleviate breast pain. Many women wear ill-fitting bras unknowingly, so getting a professional fitting for a more supportive bra may help relieve pain. Additionally, using a hot or cold compress on the site to soothe the swelling may help. Learn more about breast pain.
- 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