Breast pain is a common ailment among women of all ages, including those passing through the menopausal transition. Although it is usually not a cause for concern, it is important for women to know what kinds of symptoms to expect and which symptoms require attention.
Continue reading to discover the most common symptoms of breast pain so that you can have the peace of mind and the tools to deal with them with more ease.
Many middle-aged women experience breast swelling. Heavy painful breasts can be a symptom they may notice with improperly fitted bras. Choosing a bra that is in a larger size or a sports bra made from a stretchy, comfortable material can be helpful during these painful days.
When soreness occurs, it can cause an almost tight feeling in certain areas of the breast. Sometimes, the nipple or the areola surrounding the nipple can become very sore. The pain can shift from area to area and become more intense during certain parts of the day. Likewise, the pinching feeling can sometimes transform into a tingling sensation in breasts.
This is probably one of the most common symptoms of breast pain during menopause.1 Breast tenderness can range in intensity from mild to excruciating, which can be highly disruptive during daily life. When severe, even the slightest contact, such as putting on a shirt or bra, can cause pain. Walking and running can also cause tenderness, especially without proper bra.
This typically feels like a sharp pain in the breasts, sometimes described as an electric shock feeling. It usually affects random areas in the front or on the side of the breast. Because this is often quite sudden and unprovoked, it can be startling and confusing, as well as distracting if it occurs while preforming daily tasks.
Sometimes, non-cyclical and cyclical breast pain symptoms can radiate all the way to the armpit and can be felt in the center or the crease. The throbbing sensation usually persists for a while and can sometimes culminate in moments of sharp, stabbing armpit pain alongside breast soreness.
Although annoying and sometimes disruptive, these symptoms of breast pain are extremely common, especially during PMS and menopause. However, if your pain worsens or persists, you develop a lump, notice discharge, or experience a fever, then you should see a doctor immediately to rule out potentially serious causes.2,3 Meanwhile, women whose symptoms are due to menopause are encouraged to seek effective treatments for breast pain so that they can reduce their episodes in the future and manage them more easily.
- Harvard Health Publishing. (2005). Breast pain isn't just a menstrual complaint. Retrieved February 24,2020 from https://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/breast_pain
- MedlinePlus. (2016). Breast pain. Retrieved February 24,2020 from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003152.htm
- Menopause. (2010). Predictors of Breast Discomfort among Women Initiating Menopausal Hormone Therapy. Retrieved February 24,2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2866780/
- Alexander, I. & Knight, K. (2005). 100 Questions and Answers about Menopause. Sudbury, Massachusetts: Jones and Bartlet Publishers. Available through Google Books
- Medline Plus. (2018). Breast infection. Retrieved February 24,2020 from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001490.htm
- Medline Plus. (2017). Breast cancer. Retrieved February 24,2020 from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000913.htm