The causes of breast tenderness during menopause range from small hormonal changes to more serious conditions, such as breast cancer. However, women should not immediately think that the cause of their breast tenderness is cancer. The percentage of women who are affected by breast tenderness due to cancer is very small, and 85% of the lumps a woman finds in her breasts are benign. The cause of breast tenderness is far more likely to be due to hormonal changes related to a premenopausal woman's menstrual cycle.
Why Does Breast Tenderness Occur?
When the cause of breast tenderness is related to menstruation, the feelings of tenderness will occur in cycles. This cause of breast tenderness is called cyclic pain and typically occurs when the hormonal levels become imbalanced. Cyclic breast tenderness is usually experienced in both breasts. The pain is often described as a feeling of heavy breasts that ache a great deal. Cyclic breast tenderness usually subsides when a woman is no longer menstruating and does not have any other adverse side effects. As such, it does not often require any treatment.
Non cyclic breast tenderness is more common among women between the ages of 30 and 50. The occurrence is usually due to a cyst and can often be treated easily after a visit to a doctor. Non cyclic breast tenderness is usually characterized by sharp pain and often only occurs in one breast.
How Can Breast Tenderness Be Treated?
The treatment for breast tenderness depends on the cause. There are many effective over the counter medications that can relieve breast tenderness. However, pregnant women consult with their doctor before taking any medication.
Women should seriously consider the benefits and risks of medications before taking them. Only in very severe cases of breast tenderness should medications be considered, due to the unpleasant side effects that taking them can have.
Actions that can lessen the severity of breast tenderness include:
- Taking warm baths and showers
- Using moisturizers and oils to massage the breasts
- The contraceptive pill can often be helpful with cyclic breast tenderness
- Taking magnesium tablets
- Eating a diet low in fat.
Women should always visit their medical practitioners to discuss the possible cause of their breast tenderness. Although the cause of breast tenderness is often hormonal imbalance, women should not ignore the problem of breast tenderness. Explore the articles below or more information about breast tenderness causes and how to treat it effectively.
- BMJ Group. "Menopause: What is it?" Patient Leaflet. 2007.
- Hutchingson, Susan M.D. "The Stages of a Woman's Life: Menstruation, Pregnancy, Nursing, Perimenopause, Menopause." November 2007.
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers PRess, 2003.