Breast pain is identified as the general feeling of discomfort, tenderness, or pain in one or both breasts. The primary cause of breast pain during menopause is hormone fluctuations, specifically of estrogen and progesterone. These hormonal fluxes cause inflammation of breast tissue, resulting in pain. Breast pain can range from mild to severe discomfort, and can include symptoms like sensitivity, burning, and swelling. Cyclical breast pain is the most common type of breast pain, and is often recurrent during menopause.
There are several ways of easing breast pain during menopause, like exercising and reducing stress. Keep reading to learn more.
Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is essential to feeling and looking your best. Try including plenty of protein, fruits, vegetables, complex carbs, and good fats into your daily diet. It is generally recommended to eat three healthy meals a day, in addition to small, nutritious snacks every few hours. Tuna, avocados, chicken, almonds, spinach, kale, and guavas are all nutrient-rich foods that have been known to help ease menopausal symptoms.
A recent study published by The British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that exercise significantly impacts breast pain. Although it seems counterintuitive to continue exercising, it has been shown to help in the long run. Scientists say ill-fitting sports bras are a main cause of breast pain during exercise, so be sure to get properly fitted before working out. Finally, exercise significantly increases energy and improves mood, as well as the efficiency of the heart, muscles, and joints.
Stress is a common trigger for breast pain. It is important to try to manage stress as much as possible for your overall well-being. Yoga, meditation, and regular exercise are all excellent stress relievers. It may also be helpful to take time alone to read, listen to music, or take a soothing bath.
Applying cold compresses directly to the breasts, taking a warm bath with essential oils, and wearing loose cotton clothing are all helpful ways of easing breast pain during menopause. These are also all things you can do from the comfort of your home.
Herbal remedies are a low-risk and cost-effective alternative treatment for breast pain. A popular herb for treating breast pain is chasteberry. While it is typically used to alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, it also helps treat breast pain in many women because it reduces the production of prolactin, the breastfeeding hormone, which can cause pain and swelling in excess.
Breast pain is a troublesome menopause symptoms that affects around two-thirds of women at some point during their transition. It can range from mild to severe and last anywhere from several hours to several days. The most common cause of breast pain is hormone fluctuations, so it is important to try and restore hormonal balance. There are several approaches to easing breast pain during menopause, which include exercising regularly, eating healthy, trying herbal remedies, and reducing stress.
- Brown, N. et al. (2013). The experience of breast pain (mastalgia) in female runners of the 2012 London Marathon and its effect on exercise behavior. The British Journal of Sports Medicine, 48(4), 283. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092175
- Mason, B.R. , Page, K.A. & Fallon, K. (1999). An analysis of movement and discomfort of the female breast during exercise and the effects of breast support in three cases. Journal of science and medicine in sport, 2(2), 134-144. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10476977
- National Health Service UK. (2012). Cyclical breast pain. Retrieved August 15, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breastpaincyclical/pages/introduction.aspx
- National Institute on Aging. (2012). Hormones and Menopause. Retrieved August 15, 2014, from http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/hormones-and-menopause
- NYU Langone Medical Center. (2013). Chasteberry. Retrieved August 15, 2014, from http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=21649
- University of Maryland Medical Center. (2012). Breast pain. Retrieved August 15, 2014, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/ency/articles/breast-pain