About Breast Tenderness

Woman who suffer from breast tendernessBreast tenderness is a common symptom during menopause and other times of hormonal fluctuation. During menopause, when hormonal levels are in flux, a woman is more likely to develop breast tenderness. Though postmenopausal women may also experience breast tenderness, it is most common in premenopausal and perimenopausal women.

Breast tenderness is a common complaint among females, affecting as many as 70% of women during their lifetimes. Only a small portion of these women, about 10%, will experience severe breast symptoms, which can have a significant impact on relationships, work, and daily life.

It is important to know that breast tenderness rarely signals breast cancer. Most cases of breast tenderness around menopause are caused by normal hormonal changes in the body. Becoming more educated about breast tenderness during menopause is one of the best ways to understand and manage this symptom. Please read on to learn more about breast tenderness.

Breast Pain

Breast Tenderness Definition

Breast tenderness, often referred to medically as mastalgia, mastodynia, and mammalgia, is the general term used to mean discomfort, sensitivity, or pain in one or both of the breasts when touch or pressure is applied. Some people use the term more generally to mean any breast discomfort.

Many women experience breast tenderness around the time of menstruation or during pregnancy, when the hormones estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone are in flux. As with menstruation and pregnancy, menopause involves hormonal fluctuations, and; thus, can also cause breast tenderness and pain.

Breast tenderness can be experienced differently at different times in the lifecycle and can also vary based on a woman's own unique physiology and genetics. Nevertheless, some symptoms are common to breast tenderness. Please read on to learn more about the common symptoms of breast discomfort during menopause.

About Breast Pain
Types of Breast Pain
Breast tenderness
Hormonal Causes
Rare causes
When to see the Doctor
Tests and Procedures

Symptoms of Breast Tenderness

Breast tenderness during menopause can be persistent or intermittent. Some women will experience symptoms in both breasts, while for others breast tenderness will only affect one breast. The following are the most common symptoms of breast tenderness.

Common Symptoms of Breast Tenderness

• Breast swelling
• Breast soreness
• Increased sensitivity to pressure
• Dull, heavy, or aching feelings
• Discomfort with movement
• Pain while sleeping
• Aches
The anatomy of the breast

Please read on to learn more about the different types of breast tenderness that can occur during a woman's life.

Causes of Breast Tenderness

Hormonal change is the most cause of cyclical breast tenderness during menopause. During the menopausal transition, levels of estrogen and progesterone become irregular. Spikes and dips in these hormone levels can lead some women to experience breast tenderness.

Rare Causes of Breast Tenderness

• Breast cancer
• Medication use
• Breast cysts
• Breast trauma
• Prior breast surgery
• Breast size
• Mastitis
• Stress
• Alcohol intake

For some women, breast tenderness is caused by too little or too much estrogen, but for others it is caused by too little progesterone. No one specific hormone has been singled out as the sole contributor to breast discomfort.

Additionally, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) used during menopause can also cause breast tenderness. This explains why some women on HRT continue to experience breast tenderness even after menopause.

Now that the symptoms and causes of breast tenderness are better understood, the next step is to learn more about how to treat breast tenderness during menopause. Because breast tenderness can also be considered a type of breast pain, both are treated with the same approaches during menopause. These approaches range from lifestyle changes and natural therapies to more invasive medical options. To learn more about breast tenderness treatments, please see the helpful information about breast pain treatments.


Breast pain commonly occurs in women as a result of hormonal fluctuations, so may affect a woman during the transitional menopause period. Find answers to commonly asked questions about breast pain. These include how this issue differs from woman to woman, as well as its symptoms and treatment options such as adopting lifestyle changes.


Breast pain is common during menopause and may affect both, or the right or left breast only. Find out more about the make-up of the breasts and learn what can cause breast pain during menopause. The most common cause is the fluctuation in hormone levels experienced during this time. As such, an effective treatment will involve re-stabilizing hormone levels.


34 Menopause Symptoms