Many women will experience breast pain at some point during their lives. The distress caused by severe breast pain has the potential to disrupt life significantly, greatly affecting a woman's ability to carry on with daily tasks. It is important to have an understanding of the factors that lead to breast pain, particularly cases affecting women during menopause, in order to lessen this symptom.
What Are the Symptoms of Breast Pain?
Breast pain refers to any tenderness or discomfort in the breasts. It is also typically accompanied by swelling, and in some cases, lumps in the breast.
When Am I Likely to Experience it?
Breast pain is often experienced during periods, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. Menopause has also been acknowledged as a common time when women experience breast pain.
What Causes Breast Pain in Women?
Breast pain in women can be caused by a variety of factors. However, in the majority of cases of breast pain during menopause, the principal cause is an imbalance in the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
If not occurring during menopause, pain or tenderness in one or both of your breasts can be attributed to things such as puberty or pregnancy, which are not necessarily cause for concern. It can also be a recurrent problem for women, and when it is associated with the menstrual cycle, it's known as cyclical pain. Although cancer is a concern for many women, it is rarely the cause of isolated breast pain.
Some of the causes of breast pain are:
- Fibrocystic breast disease
- Estrogen therapy
- Chest wall tenderness
- Injury to the breast
- An infection in the breast
- Cysts in the breasts
To avoid breast pain during menopause, it is important to maintain healthy estrogen and progesterone levels throughout this period.
How Should I Manage Breast Pain?
Hormone imbalance is the most common cause of breast pain during menopause, so initial treatment should focus on returning hormone levels to normal. This can be achieved in a number of ways, and most easily and naturally with a healthy diet and exercise regime. A hormonal-balancing program with the use of natural or alternative medicines can also offer a solution. Alternative treatments have been shown to work naturally, and often target the issue of hormonal imbalance. Optimum results are usually achieved by combining lifestyle and alternative medicine treatments.
For further information on treatments for breast pain, follow the links below.
- Love, S. (2003). Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press.
- National Health Service UK. (2014). Breast pain. Retrieved February 9, 2016, from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breastpaincyclical/Pages/Introduction.aspx