Because breast pain or tenderness is one of the most familiar symptoms throughout women's life stages, many might not take the initiative to seek relief. Luckily, the choices for breast pain treatments are abundant and offer tremendous help for relieving this bothersome discomfort.
Find out what breast pain treatments you have at your disposal to put an end to this debilitating symptom and enjoy optimal breast health way into postmenopause.
Three Approaches to Treating Breast Pain
To treat breast pain, there are three levels of approaches women can consider: (1) Lifestyle changes, (2) Alternative medicine, and (3) Conventional medicine. They are advised to begin with the least risky approaches, namely lifestyle changes and herbal supplements, and resort to more conventional options only if necessary.
Lifestyle Changes for Breast Pain Treatment
The first level of breast pain treatment entails virtually no cost or risk, but it requires the most self-discipline. However, these seemingly small lifestyle adjustments can go a long way in relieving symptoms by promoting hormonal balance.
A well-balanced menopause diet is unlikely to relieve breast pain on its own, but it can nourish the body, help achieve hormonal balance, and lessen breast pain and other symptoms of the transition. Women are advised to choose from a colorful variety of healthy fats, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates as well as the following:
- Phytoestrogens - plant compounds with estrogenic properties - have been found to reduce breast main by up to 44%, depending on the amount consumed.1
Soy, oats, yams, tomatoes, apples
Flax can aid in cyclical breast pain treatment as shown by a study in which women who consumed flaxseed-rich bread experienced a significant reduction in symptom severity.2
- Vitamins E and B6 have been scientifically proven to decrease the severity of cyclical breast pain.3
Lentils, avocado, spinach, sunflower
Physical activity - when kept at a moderate level of intensity - can benefit women going through the menopausal transition by not only reducing brain pain severity, but also promoting hormonal equilibrium and controlling weight gain.4
Amount: While 150 minutes of exercise per week is the general goal, women new to exercise are encouraged to start slowly and gradually build up.5
Type: Menopausal women are encouraged to opt for low to moderate aerobics alongside muscle-strengthening exercises. Good options include swimming, brisk walking, resistance bands, and yoga.
Useful tips: It is key to always wear a supportive bra for all types of exercises, including walking or bike riding.
Precautions: To prevent worsening of symptoms, women should avoid strenuous workouts as well as those that put pressure on or can damage the chest area.
Making healthier daily habits can be a beneficial complement of breast pain treatment as they can strengthen the body and the mind and help women manage their symptoms more effectively. Women can consider the following:
Wearing a soft, well-fitted bra during the day and a well-supported sports bra during workouts and to sleep is a must as it can bring significant improvements in breast pain severity and its prevention.
Applying warm or cold compresses to the breast may alleviate the pain almost instantly. Some women find reprieve from alternating between cold and warm applications.
Relieving stress with meditation or breathing exercises can help unload the burden high cortisol levels can have on hormonal equilibrium and the resulting physical and emotional health.
Quitting addictions to nicotine and excess caffeine can go a long way in reducing breast pain as both substances have been linked to causing breast pain or worsening its symptoms.6
Alternative Medicine for Breast Pain Treatment
The second level of treatment offers numerous alternative solutions for breast pain relief, most common of which are herbal supplements. They are not only simpler to follow, but also tackle the main underlying root of the symptom, hormonal imbalance.
There are two types of herbs that be considered for breast pain treatment: phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating supplements.
Phytoestrogenic supplements are made from plants, like gingko or black cohosh, that are rich in compounds called phytoestrogens. They function like estrogen in the female body, thus helping balance its levels as well as those of other hormones. However, depending on outside hormones can eventually make the body less capable of producing its own. This can worsen an imbalance. As such, these supplements are best used short-term.
Hormone-Regulating Herbal Supplements
Hormone-regulating supplements, like Macafem, nourish the endocrine glands rather than using outside hormones. This promotes the body's natural hormone production at balanced levels and helps alleviate symptoms of an imbalance, including breast pain. These supplements are considered some of the safest and most effective options for long-term use, given that they cause virtually no side effects and have nurturing effects on the endocrine system.
From Nature and Health Magazine, Dr. Chacon says:
"Macafem's nutrients help restore natural hormones in women. Unlike hormone drugs, which are basically resumed in taking synthetic hormones, Macafem acts totally different in your body. It nourishes and stimulates your own natural hormone production by inducing the optimal functioning of the pituitary and endocrine glands." Click on the following link if you wantto learn more about Macafem.
A combination of lifestyle habits and herbal supplements often provides the most effective and lasting relief from breast pain. However, more severe symptoms might require conventional treatments, namely medications and surgery.
Conventional Medicine for Breast Pain Treatment
Interventions at the third level typically involve the greatest risk and require the highest costs. Since some medications' side effects may outweigh the benefits, it is crucial to consult a doctor before starting any regimens for breast pain.
Pain-relieving medications can help reduce breast pain related to menstruation. The best options - available in topical as well as oral forms - include the following:
Pain killers, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or diclofenac, can be implemented.
Danazol is the only prescription medication approved for treating breast pain.
Tamoxifen can be prescribed for severe or persistent breast pain, although it is mainly used for breast cancer.
Antibiotics might be prescribed if breast pain is caused by mastitis, an inflammation of breast tissue.
Hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) used to be widely prescribed for women passing through the menopausal transition, seeking to treat breast pain. While it may be a fast and powerful way to alleviate the symptom, it is laden with the possibility of side effects and health risks, as revealed in the studies below.
The 2002 reports from the Women's Health Initiative, published in JAMA, revealed that women taking HRT are more prone to serious health risks, including breast cancer, heart disease, and strokes.7 A more recent (2019) Oxford University study on HRT's effects not only confirmed the WHI's findings, but also discovered that the risks of hormonal therapy may persist for over a decade.8
In some women, breast pain treatment with medications may not be effective, and surgical interventions might have to be considered. Depending on the cause of the pain, they may range from abscess drainage to mastectomy, among others.
These three approaches for treating breast pain can be used separately or in any combination to best address the symptoms throughout women's life stages. Many women prefer to opt a combination of lifestyle changes and herbal supplements to suit their needs in the most natural way without reaching for pharmaceuticals.
A Safe Way of Treating Breast Pain
Implementing Lifestyle Changes:
- Eating a balanced diet with phytoestrogenic foods
- Focusing on regular, low- to moderate-level exercises
- Wearing a soft, well-fitted bra during the day and night
- Applying cold or warm compresses to the breast
And Taking Herbal Supplements:
- Phytoestrogenic herbal supplements, like gingko
- Or natural hormone-regulating supplements, like Macafem
- American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Breast Cancer Signs and Symptoms. Retrieved March 31, 2020 from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/about/breast-cancer-signs-and-symptoms.html
- Cleveland Clinic. (2014). Breast Pain (Mastalgia): Management and Treatment. Retrieved March 31, 2020 from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15469-breast-pain-mastalgia/management-and-treatment
- indirect. (n.d.). Breast pain. Retrieved March 31, 2020 from https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/conditions/breast-pain#toc-9
- Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology. (2001). Cyclical mastalgia: prevalence and associated health and behavioral factors. Retrieved March 31, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11446156/
- Mayo Clinic. (2019). Breast pain. Retrieved March 31, 2020 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/breast-pain/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350426
- NHS. (2017). Breast pain. Retrieved March 31, 2020 from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breast-pain/
- Breast. (2002). A double-blind randomized controlled trial of isoflavones in the treatment of cyclical mastalgia. Retrieved March 31, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14965665/
- International Journal of Family Medicine. (2014). Comparing the Effects of Dietary Flaxseed and Omega-3 Fatty Acids Supplement on Cyclical mastalgia in Iranian Women: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Retrieved March 31, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4147287/
- Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research. (2015). Clinical effectiveness of vitamin E and vitamin B6 for improving pain severity in cyclic mastalgia. Retrieved March 31, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26793260
- The Physician and Sports Medicine. (2017). The effects of exercise on mastalgia. Retrieved March 31, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27776458
- American Heart Association. (2018). Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids. Retrieved March 31, 2020 from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults
- Breast Care. (2016). Factors Effecting Mastalgia. Retrieved March 31, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4960349/
- JAMA. (2002). Risks and benefits of estrogen plus progestin in healthy postmenopausal women: principal results from the Women's Health Initiative randomized controlled trial. Retrieved March 31, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12117397
- The Lancet. (2019). Type and timing of menopausal hormone therapy and breast cancer risk: individual participant meta-analysis of the worldwide epidemiological evidence. Retrieved March 31, 2020 from https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)31709-X/fulltext