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Breast pain is a common symptom that can develop during the menopausal transition, due to fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone. While postmenopausal women can experience breast pain, it is most common in premenopausal and perimenopausal women.
A common complaint among females, breast pain affects as many as 70% of women at some point in their lives. Only a small portion of these women, about 10%, will experience severe breast pain, which can have a significant impact on relationships, work, and daily life. Nevertheless, breast pain can prompt understandable questions and concerns at any intensity.
Becoming more educated about breast pain in menopause is one of the best steps towards understanding and managing this condition. Please read on to learn more about breast pain.
About Breast Pain
Breast pain – known medically as mastalgia, mastodynia, and mammalgia – is the general term used to mean discomfort, tenderness, and/or pain in one or both of the breasts.
Breast pain is categorized as either cyclical or non-cyclical. With the former, breast pain is the result of hormonal changes, making it the most common kind of breast pain in pre– and perimenopausal women. Non-cyclical breast pain, more common in postmenopausal women, is not related to hormonal changes. Extramammary breast pain, which originates outside the breast, is a third type of breast discomfort.
The symptoms of breast pain can vary depending on the type and the individual woman. Generally speaking, symptoms include tenderness, tightness, soreness, burning, swelling, dullness, and/or aching. Symptoms can be consistent or intermittent and may affect one or both breasts.
Click here to learn more about breast pain, or read on to learn more about the causes of breast pain.
Chest and breast pain are two conditions that can occur separately or in tandem. Many women are concerned when they experience these, so it is a good idea to get medical treatment and when it is unnecessary. This article provides information about the most important things to know about chest and breast pain.
Causes of Breast Pain
The most common cause of breast discomfort during menopause is hormonal change. As with all times of hormonal fluctuation (i.e. menstruation and pregnancy), menopause can alter the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body. As a result, women may develop breast pain.
While hormones are the most common cause of breast pain experienced in menopause, other factors can cause or contribute to breast pain. These rarer causes range from serious health conditions to dietary issues.
Less Common Causes of Breast Pain
Prior breast surgery
Oral contraceptive use
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Cholesterol and heart drugs
Click here to learn more about the causes of breast pain, or read on to learn more about when to speak with a doctor about breast pain.
Breast pain affects nearly two-thirds of women, and is primarily caused by hormone fluctuations. Most of the causes of breast pain are very common and usually harmless. Exercising regularly, eating healthy, cold compresses, and reducing stress are all helpful ways of dealing with breast pain.
Breast Pain Diagnosis
While breast discomfort during menopause is not usually cause for alarm, it is never a bad idea to speak with a doctor about this symptom. Though breast pain is rarely indicant of cancer, speaking with a doctor to rule out breast cancer can greatly help to allay these worries and help a woman determine the best way to manage breast tenderness.
Women who experience prolonged or unexplained breast pain, or additional accompanying symptoms should speak with a doctor to rule out rare, but more serious, causes of breast pain. At a doctor visit, a full physical and clinical exam will be performed. If something more serious is suspected, a doctor may order additional tests.
Click here to learn more about breast pain diagnosis or continue reading to learn more about the different breast pain treatments there are.
Breast pain affects nearly two-thirds of women at some point in their lives, and is primarily caused by hormone fluctuations. Breast pain should not cause too much worry, as it is a very common symptom. However, it is recommended to get regular breast exams to be breast aware and stay healthy.
Breast Pain Treatments
Fortunately, a number of self-care measures and natural treatments can help to relieve breast pain during menopause with little or no side effect risks. Self-care can include avoiding dietary and lifestyle triggers, getting regular exercise, massage, and relaxation techniques.
While these can help a woman reduce the severity of breast pain, they alone cannot reach the root problem of hormonal imbalance. Natural therapies are safe and effective methods of relieving breast pain symptoms by targeting the root cause of hormonal imbalance. A majority of women find that a combination of self-care and natural therapies is the best way to address breast pain in menopause.
Experts recommend exploring medical options only after these other methods have failed to provide relief, because these are often more invasive and carry greater risks.
Click on the following link to learn specific treatments for breast pain, which begin with lifestyle changes, move onto alternative medicines, and finally, if those options don't seem to help, drugs and surgery. The most effective treatments for breast pain typically combine lifestyle changes and alternative medicines.
Exercising often offers numerous health benefits and can provide considerable relief from breast pain. Low-impact exercises like yoga, cycling, walking, and swimming are all excellent ways to get the appropriate daily aerobic activity. These activities are inexpensive and easy to incorporate into your daily life.
- Hutchinson, 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.
- BMJ Group. “Menopause: What is it?” Patient Leaflet. 2007.
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