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Breast Pain
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Breast Pain

Breast Pain anatomy

Breast pain is a common symptom that can develop during the menopausal transition due to fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels. While postmenopausal women can experience breast pain, it is most common in premenopausal and perimenopausal women.

A common complaint, 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 negatively impact relationships, work, and daily life. Nevertheless, breast pain can prompt understandable questions and concerns at any intensity.

Understanding menopausal breast pain is one of the best steps toward managing this symptom. 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, 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.

Breast pain symptoms can vary depending on the type and the individual woman. Generally speaking, symptoms include tenderness, tightness, soreness, burning, swelling, dullness, and 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.

How Do I Know If My Breast Pain Is a Sign of Menopause?

Breast pain and menopause can often go hand in hand, but it can be difficult to distinguish if the pain has anything to do with menopause, or whether it is due to something else entirely. This article lists some telltale signs that suggest your breast pain might be linked to menopause.

Understanding Breast Pain in Young Women

Breast pain in young women is primarily cyclical - caused by hormone fluctuations during menstruation. Pain can range from mild to severe. Exercising regularly, eating healthy, and trying at home remedies are among the helpful ways to prevent and reduce breast pain. Keep reading to learn more.

Causes of Breast Pain

The most common cause of breast discomfort during menopause is hormonal change. As with all times of hormonal fluctuation, like menstruation and pregnancy, menopause can alter the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body. As a result, women may develop breast pain.

Oral contraceptive pills: a less common cause of 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.

  • Breast cysts
  • Breast trauma
  • Prior breast surgery
  • Breast size
  • Stress
  • Alcoholism
  • Oral contraceptive use
  • Antidepressants
  • Mastitis
  • 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.

3 Unexpected Causes of Breast Pain

Breast pain affects most women and can have negative consequences on daily life. Many of the contributing factors are well-known, but there are some that might come as a surprise to learn. This article discusses some of the more unexpected causes of breast pain women may experience.

4 Common Causes of Breast Pain

Breast pain, which can be uncomfortable and interfere with a woman's daily life, can be caused by a variety of things, but there are some causes that are more common than others. This article discusses some of the factors that contribute to the majority of cases of breast pain

Breast Pain Diagnosis

Breast Pain Cancer

While breast discomfort during menopause is not usually cause for alarm, it is never a bad idea to consult a doctor about this symptom. Though breast pain is rarely indicative of cancer, speaking with a doctor to rule out breast cancer can greatly help allay these worries and help a woman determine the best way to manage breast tenderness.

Women who experience prolonged and 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 available.

Daily Breast Pain: Should I Be Worried?

Breast pain affects nearly two-thirds of women at some point in their lives, and 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.

Sharp Breast Pain: Should I Be Worried?

Breast pain is always uncomfortable and worrisome, regardless of whether it's dull or extreme, sharp or intermittent. To find out the various causes of breast pain and whether or not you should take immediately action, read this article.

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 risk of side effects. Self-care can include regular exercise, massage, relaxation techniques, and avoidance of dietary and lifestyle triggers.

Breast Pain Treatment

While these can help a woman reduce the severity of breast pain, they alone cannot solve the root problem of hormonal imbalance. Alternative 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, prescription medications. The most effective treatments for breast pain typically combine lifestyle changes and alternative medicines.

5 Tips to Relieve Cyclical Breast Pain

Cyclical breast pain affects nearly two-thirds of women and is primarily caused by hormone fluctuations. Estrogen and progesterone fluctuations cause inflammation of the breast tissue, resulting in pain. There are several natural tips for relieving cyclical breast pain, like wearing a well-fitting bra, eating healthy, and reducing stress.

Top 4 Foods to Reduce Swelling in Breasts

Swelling in breasts can be painful and uncomfortable, leading many sufferers to seek effective treatments. Dietary habits are part of the fight against this, and this article lists some of the foods that can be eaten to reduce the swelling that can occur in the breast area.

Sources:
  • Love, S. (2003). Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press.
  • National Health Service UK. (2014). Breast pain. Retrieved April 15, 2016, from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/breastpaincyclical/Pages/Introduction.aspx
  • Office on Women's Health. (2012). Menopause and menopause treatments fact sheet. Retrieved April 15, 2016, from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/menopause-treatment.html

General articles

Updated on Apr 25, 2017
Severe Breast Pain: Probable Causes
Severe breast pain affects the day-to-day functioning of many women owing to the physical and psychological problems that can ensue. There are many possible causes of this condition, but it is rarely serious. This article discusses some of the probable causes for severe breast pain and how to deal with it.
Updated on Mar 23, 2017
3 Daily Habits to Prevent Chest and Breast Pain
Chest and breast pain are conditions with a wide range of causes, but a few specific daily habits should reduce the likelihood of developing the conditions. This article discusses chest and breast pain in more detail and provides a list of daily habits to help prevent them.
Updated on Jan 03, 2017
Chest and Breast Pain: Symptoms
Chest and breast pain are two separate conditions that can sometimes go hand in hand, and in their more severe form, can affect the everyday life of middle-aged women. This article focuses on the symptoms of each condition, as well as when you should be worried.
Updated on Jul 11, 2016
Talking to Your Partner about Breast and Vaginal Pain
Breast and vaginal pain are distressing conditions on their own, but further anxiety can be added when trying to broach the subject with a partner. This article discusses why having this conversation is important and ways it can be made easier for both you and your partner.
Updated on Jan 04, 2016
Dietary Changes to Prevent Chest and Breast Pain
Chest and breast pain affects around 70% of women. The primary cause of breast pain is hormone fluctuations, but it can also be induced by poor diet. Simple dietary changes you can make to prevent breast pain include eating more greens - like kale and spinach - and avoiding fried foods.