Breast swelling and tingling commonly happens to women, especially during times of fluctuating hormones, such as during menopause. The main cause of this is fluctuations in the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, which usually occur during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. These fluctuations cause inflammation of breast tissue, resulting in soreness. It can cause breast pain that is mild to moderate, breasts that are sensitive to touch, dull achy pain, tingling, and swelling in the breast and armpit area.
Breast tingling is a characteristic of breast pain that occurs during times of hormonal fluctuations, like menopause. Other less common causes of breast pain include infection, benign cysts, and poor diet. Although it may be concerning to experience swollen and tingling breasts, keep in mind that it is common to experience these sensations during menopause. Breast pain alone is not a sign of breast cancer. However, it is recommended to get regular breast exams and mammograms for your well-being and peace of mind.
A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray that checks breasts for any abnormalities (i.e., lumps or masses). A breast exam can be done by a general practitioner during a physical or by a gynecologist. Scheduling mammograms and breast exams every year is recommended for women ages 40 or more.Women below that age should still receive regular breast exams or perform self-breast exams.
Maintaining a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise can be effective in managing menopausal symptoms and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Not smoking, cutting back on caffeine intake and eating less saturated fat can also help you.
It is important to wear a properly fitted and supportive and structured bra when doing any kind of physical activity in order to prevent breast pain. Making sure the bras that you do wear fit you well and wearing a supportive bra to sleep can also be beneficial when it comes to relieving breast pain. A warm compress applied to the chest area can also relieve breast pain or tenderness. Over the counter painkillers can also help relieve breast pain when you get it. Some women find that alternative treatments such as evening primrose oil and acupuncture helps to relieve breast pain and tenderness.
Lifestyle changes like proper diet as well as regular exercise can help soothe swollen and tingling breasts. Breast pain affects as many as 70% of women at some point during their lives. Out of those 70%, about 10% experience severe breast pain, which can interfere with daily life, relationships, and activities. If breast pain is lowering your quality of life, it is important to see your doctor. The most frequently prescribed medications for breast pain is an anti-inflammatory gel that you apply to your breasts. Talk to your doctor for more information.
- National Health Service UK. (2012). Cyclical breast pain. Retrieved August 5, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breastpaincyclical/pages/introduction.aspx
- National Institutes of Health. (2012). Breast - premenstrual tenderness and swelling. Retrieved August 5, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003153.htm
- The New York Times. (n.d). Menopause In-Depth Report. Retrieved August 5, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/menopause/print.html?module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar%2C%7B%222%22%3A%22RI%3A18%22%7D
- University of Maryland Medical Center. (2012). Breast pain. Retrieved August 5, 2014, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/ency/articles/breast-pain
- National Health Service UK. (2014). Breast Pain. Retrieved from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/breastpaincyclical/Pages/Treatment.aspx