Breast pain, focused in the left breast, right breast, or both is a common occurrence. Most women up to 70% will experience it at some point in their lives, stemming from normal bodily changes that occur during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause. These changes may include the onset of breast lumps, pain, soreness, and shifts in size or shape. Rest assured, most breast tenderness or lumps are not indications of cancer or heart problems, but rather part of the natural process associated with the menstrual cycle and aging.
About Breast Pain
Breast pain medically referred to as mastalgia, mastodynia, or mammalgia is characterized by a burning, tightness, dullness, soreness, or swelling occurring in one breast (either the right or the left), or sometimes both. It can be felt throughout the whole breast, just a small part, in the nipple, or in the surrounding area. Pain is subjective, and some women can feel sore with more severity than others.
Most often, breast pain is transient and will disappear on its own, and its pattern is often described as either cyclical or non-cyclical. The former refers to pain that comes and goes with at regular intervals, usually in conjunction with a menstrual cycle, but other intervals are also possible. Non-cyclical pain is discomfort that may be slightly intermittent, but generally prolonged over a long stretch of time.
Causes of Left Breast Pain
Some types of breast pain like one accompanied by a lump or nipple discharge may warrant additional tests, ordered by a physician, to rule out more serious conditions. These include:
Cytological evaluation of nipple dicharge
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Ask your doctor for more details.
It is unknown why one breast may hurt more than the other, but pain in either breast can be triggered by the same underlying factors and is generally not a cause for alarm. The most common cause of breast pain is due to fluctuating hormones specifically estrogen and progesterone. The time surrounding the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause is when these are most often in flux, and therefore when breast tenderness is likely to be felt. Likewise, the imbalance of estrogen and progesterone during menopause can cause painful changes in the size of the breasts.
Less often, breast pain results from more serious issues, such as:
While tenderness is common and does not necessarily indicate cancer, talking to and getting examined by your doctor will rule out any more serious issues. In fact, cancer is usually painless, which is why regular self-checks are so important.
Dealing with Left Breast Pain
If hormone imbalance is causing your left breast to be sore, then there are some adjustments than can make the pain easier to handle, especially if combined with a healthy diet and exercise regime.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Avoid foods with a high salt content. Too much sodium can lead to fluid retention and exacerbate tender breasts.
Choose a low-impact workout. Swimming and yoga, for example, involve swift and gentle movements but provide a vigorous full-body workout, so they won't add extra strain or jiggling to a sore chest.
Get a localized back massage. Back muscles are in charge of supporting the weight of a woman's chest, and a massage will prevent injury in the area, as well as provide moderate stress relief.
Eat more phytoestrogens. Foods containing phytoestrogens include chickpeas, soy products, and flax, they have been shown to complement the diminished body's hormones naturally.
Regardless of the method you choose, moderate relief from breast pain is within reach. However, women looking for a deeper, more long-term solution may want to try more comprehensive treatment options. Find more specific information concerning treatments for pain in the left breast.
Other Related Articles:
Home Remedies for Severe Breast Pain and Tenderness
Why Are My Breasts Swollen?
Breast Pain and Irregular Periods Management
Choosing the Best Treatment for Breast Pain during Postmenopause
Myths and Facts about Sharp Pain in Breasts