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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.

Breast Pain during Irregular Periods

There is an inextricable link between breast pain and irregular periods, as they both arise from the same source - hormonal imbalance, typically during perimenopause. This article discusses in more detail exactly how the two are connected, and the treatment options.

Things to Know about Chest and 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.

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.

Common Reasons for Breast Pain and How to Deal with it

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. Learn about helpful ways of dealing with breast pain.

8 Uncommon Reasons for Breast Pain and Tenderness in Women

Breast pain and tenderness in women are typically caused by hormone fluctuations during menopause. Uncommon causes of breast pain include caffeine, poor diet, and breast cysts. It is important to get regular breast exams, especially when going through menopause.

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.

A 3-Week Plan to Avoid Breast Swelling and Pain

Breast swelling and pain can cause distress for a lot of women, not least because of the feelings of helplessness that can arise. However, there are simple tricks to use at home that can dramatically reduce and even eliminate the problem.

Can Low-impact Exercises Help Relieve Breast Pain?

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.

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 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.
Updated on Jun 02, 2015
When Do Breast Pain Symptoms Stop?
Breast pain is defined by the overall feeling of discomfort, tenderness, or aching in one or both breasts. The principal cause of breast pain symptoms during menopause is hormone fluctuations. Breast pain symptoms affect around 70% of women at some point, and can interfere with daily life.
Updated on Mar 31, 2015
Knowing Your Body: Breast Pain during Menopause
Breast pain is an uncomfortable nuisance occurring during PMS, pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause, most women have no chance of escaping tender breasts at some point in their lives.Keep reading the links below for more information on treating pain in breasts during menopause.
Updated on Jan 30, 2015
Should I Talk to My Doctor about Menopausal Breast Pain?
Breast pain is a common symptom of menopause, affecting a large number of women. But at what point is the pain actually cause for concern? Click the following link to learn more about breast pain, and what accompanying symptoms are necessary before you should proceed to the doctor.