Breast pain is one of the most commonly reported menopausal symptoms: as many as 70% of women experience it during their transition. The phenomenon is described as overall discomfort, tenderness, or sharp pain felt in one or both breasts. The primary cause of breast pain is the fluctuation of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. These hormonal changes can cause inflammation of breast tissue, which often results in pain. Common symptoms of breast pain include tenderness, tingling, sharp pain, burning, swelling, and aching, which can last anywhere from a few hours to several days. Fortunately, there are several lifestyle changes that can help ease breast pain during menopause. Keep reading to learn more.
Maintaining a healthy, low-fat diet is essential to your overall well-being and breast comfort. Ideally, you should include plenty of protein, fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and good fats into your daily diet. The general recommendation is to eat three healthy meals a day, along with small, nutritious snacks every three to four hours. Nutrient-rich foods that have been shown to prevent and relieve breast pain include salmon, avocados, spinach, kale, and low-fat yogurt.
Try to avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and caffeine, as both are known triggers of breast pain. Smoking is also known to amplify menopausal symptoms, so try to cut down or quit smoking in order to prevent breast pain and balance hormone levels.
Getting plenty of exercise not only keeps you fit and healthy, but also prevents and helps ease various menopause symptoms, like breast pain. Studies have proven that regular exercise (i.e., at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least five times a week) significantly increases energy, improves mood, and improves bodily functions. Biking, walking, and swimming are all excellent low-impact workouts that can help ease breast pain.
Properly fitting bras are crucial to providing maximum breast support and comfort. Getting fitted for the right bra is also easy to do at any lingerie store. It is recommended that women wear a well-fitted, supportive bra during any kind of physical activity, as this has been shown to lessen breast pain in about 85% of women. Any kind of activity and movement can cause breast pain, not just exercise, so it is helpful to provide proper support as often as possible.
Stress is one of the most common causes of menopausal symptoms because it weakens the body and makes you more susceptible to pain and illnesses. Reducing stress can also help alleviate breast pain, as well as prevent fatigue and keep off excess weight. Helpful ways to reduce stress include, doing yoga, reading, listening to soothing music, and mediating - whatever relaxes you.
Breast pain during menopause is a common complaint, affecting around two-thirds of women at some point. The experience is typically caused by hormone fluctuations, but can also be prompted by lifestyle factors. These include poor diet, lack of exercise, and stress. It is important to make the necessary changes in order to improve overall health and manage breast pain during menopause. Eating properly, exercising regularly, and avoiding triggers are all helpful tips to cure breast pain during menopause.
- 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. (2014). Hormones and Menopause. Retrieved August 15, 2014, from http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/hormones-and menopause
- University of Maryland Medical Center. (2012). Breast pain. Retrieved August 15, 2014, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/ency/articles/breast-pain.