While it is true that 70 percent of women experience breast pain at some point in their lives, it is also a common menopause symptom, brought on by the ovaries winding down reproductive functions.1 Read on to find out how hormonal imbalance and breast pain are related and how you can treat it for ultimate relief.
What Is Breast Pain?
Breast pain - medically called mastalgia - is when a woman's breasts feel tender or are causing discomfort. Symptoms vary but include tenderness, tightness, soreness, burning, swelling, dullness, and aching.
Some women suffer from breast pain a week or so before their periods, known as cyclical breast pain, while others experience breast pain periodically, called noncyclical breast pain.
How Does a Hormonal Imbalance Lead to Breast Pain?
Studies are still being conducted over if hormonal imbalance causes breast pain. Nevertheless, researchers believe that hormones do play a role in breast health.
In regards to cyclical breast pain, one theory suggests that high levels of estrogen can make the breasts feel sore and with lumps or cysts. Another proposes that prolactin may play a role. Whatever the case may be, more research needs to be done.
This type of breast pain is common in pre- and perimenopausal women who are still menstruating, which leads further to believe it has hormonal roots.
Could Breast Pain Be Caused by Anything Else?
A woman may also be affected by non-cyclical breast pain. This term refers to breast pain resulting from conditions other than hormonal imbalance, such as:
- Breast cysts
- Breast trauma
- Large or heavy breasts
- Medications, such as antidepressants, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), or oral contraceptives
- Chest pain from conditions such as costochondritis
As the name suggests, this type of breast pain does not come in cycles, but is a constant pain that generally presents itself on one side and in different locations of the breast.
Non-cyclical breast pain is much less common during pre- and perimenopause.
What Else Do I Need to Know About Breast Pain?
While breast pain can be an uncomfortable and sometimes life-disrupting symptom for women of all ages, small lifestyle changes can help combat it, as can alternative treatment options. Click on the following link to be brought to natural and effective breast pain treatments that will help you find comfort in yourself once again.
- Breast Cancer Now. (2018). Breast pain. Retrieved October 17, 2019, from https://breastcancernow.org/information-support/have-i-got-breast-cancer/benign-breast-conditions/breast-pain
- Cleveland Clinic. (2014). Breast Pain (Mastalgia). Retrieved October 17, 2019, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15469-breast-pain-mastalgia
- John Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Breast Pain (Mastalgia). Retrieved October 17, 2019, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/mastalgia-breast-pain
- MedlinePlus. (2018). Breast pain. Retrieved October 17, 2019, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003152.htm
- National Breast Cancer Foundation. (n.d.). Breast Pain. Retrieved October 17, 2019, from https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-pain/
- Files, J.A. et al. (2014). Effects of Different Hormone Therapies on Breast Pain in Recently Postmenopausal Women: Findings from the Mayo Clinic KEEPS Breast Pain Ancillary Study. Journal of Women's Health, 23(10), 801-805. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2014.4871