The medical term for breast pain is mastalgia, and while breast swelling and tenderness are more often linked with pregnancy, breastfeeding, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), they are also common symptoms of menopause. The majority of women will experience breast swelling and tenderness at some point, as they are common-medical symptoms.
What Causes Breast Swelling and Tenderness?
There are two types of mastalgia: cyclical breast pain is related to a woman's monthly cycle, while non-cyclical breast pain can affect women of any age. Both kinds of pain are linked to hormonal imbalance. Swollen breasts are most likely to occur during menopause when the levels of hormones in the body fluctuate. Breast tenderness is also most commonly associated with fibrocystic changes in breast tissue that often occur during pregnancy, breast-feeding, or menopause.
Less common causes for breast swelling and tenderness include:
Excessive caffeine and salt intake
In very rare cases, cancer can be a cause of breast swelling and tenderness, but it is highly unlikely.
What Are the Symptoms of Breast Swelling and Tenderness?
Increase in size of the breasts
Feeling of heaviness
Breasts being sore to the touch
It has also been reported that the pain associated with these symptoms is sometimes more intense during menopause. For non-cyclic mastalgia, the symptoms should not be long-lived, and if they persist, medical advice should be sought.
Managing Breast Swelling and Tenderness
There are many lifestyle adjustments that can help make breast swelling and tenderness more manageable:
Lower caffeine and salt consumption. Since excessive consumption of both nutrients can cause water retention in breasts, they can easily be linked to a stronger sensation of swelling and tenderness. Cutting back on processed snacks, coffee, and soft drinks can provide a great deal of relief.
Take more vitamin E. This vitamin has long been popular for providing relief from breast pain and swelling.
Wear a well-fitting bra. This may be one of the simplest and most effective ways of reducing breast pain.
Use warm compresses. Applying a warm compress at the base of each breast can help relieve the pain after a particularly painful day.
Treatments for Breast Swelling and Tenderness
In addition to everyday coping tips that can diminish the pain, there are also treatment courses that will help you address the underlying hormonal imbalance.
Chasteberry is a widely used supplement that can help lessen breast symptoms and restore hormone levels back to normal. Other types of phytoestrogenic supplements, like black cohosh or soy, can ease discomfort by increasing estrogen levels in the body, thereby supporting the hormonal glands. However, always ask your doctor about doses and any possible side effects.
However, in severe cases, women may need medication to achieve breast pain relief.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This is the most commonly prescribed treatment course, and it consists of a combination of estrogen and progesterone dependent on individual symptoms. HRT can be taken as a pill, a patch, or as a topical gel. However, HRT has several contraindications and side effects, so some women may need to consider other treatment courses.
Over-the-counter pain relievers. Common pain-relief medication, like aspirin, paracetamol, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen can help ease initial pain.
Alternative treatments have been shown to work efficiently and naturally, and are often able to target the issue of hormonal imbalance directly. For further information on which treatment for breast pain and tenderness to choose, click on the link above.
Other Related Articles:
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Breast Tenderness: Addressing Wardrobe
Breast Pain After Menopause
Breast Pain during Postmenopause FAQs