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women going through menopause

Breast Swelling and Tenderness

The medical term for breast pain is mastalgia, and while breast swelling and tenderness are more often linked with pregnancy, breastfeeding, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), they are also common symptoms of menopause. The majority of women will experience breast swelling and tenderness at some point, as they are common medical symptoms.

Breast swelling and tenderness are common symptoms of menopause

What Causes Breast Swelling and Tenderness?

There are two types of mastalgia: cyclical breast pain is related to a woman's monthly cycle, while non-cyclical breast pain can affect women of any age. Both kinds of pain are linked to hormonal imbalance. Swollen breasts are most likely to occur during menopause when the levels of hormones in the body fluctuate. Breast tenderness is also most commonly associated with fibrocystic changes in breast tissue that often occur during pregnancy, breast-feeding, or menopause.

Less common causes for breast swelling and tenderness include:

  • Excessive caffeine and salt intake
  • Mastitis
  • Pregnancy
  • Oral contraception

In very rare cases, breast swelling and tenderness can be a sign of cancer or other malignant tumors, but this is highly unlikely. Having this in mind, it is always recommended to visit your doctor and to get yearly mammograms after the age of 40.

What Are the Symptoms of Breast Swelling and Tenderness?

  • Increase in size of the breasts
  • Feeling of heaviness
  • Breasts being sore to the touch

It has also been reported that the pain associated with these symptoms is sometimes more intense during menopause. For non-cyclic mastalgia, the symptoms should not be long-lived, and if they persist, medical advice should be sought.

Managing Breast Swelling and Tenderness

There are many lifestyle adjustments that can help make breast swelling and tenderness more manageable:

  • Lower caffeine and salt consumption. Since excessive consumption of both nutrients can cause water retention in breasts, they can easily be linked to a stronger sensation of swelling and tenderness.

  • Take more vitamin E. This vitamin has long been popular for providing relief from breast pain and swelling.

  • Wear a well-fitting bra. This may be one of the simplest and most effective ways of reducing breast pain.

  • Use warm compresses. Applying a warm compress at the base of each breast can help relieve the pain after a particularly painful day.

Treatments for Breast Swelling and Tenderness

Coping tips can diminish the pain; however, there are other approaches that can help achieve more lasting relief. These may include alternative treatments and medications. Learn more about the different options to treat breast swelling and tenderness here.

Breast Pain and Irregular Periods Management

Understanding why your body experiences menstrual irregularities and pain will help you manage the symptoms and find relief.

Daily Breast Pain: Should I Be Worried?

Daily breast pain can be caused by a number of factors, like stress and hormone fluctuations.

Common Reasons for Breast Pain and How to Deal with it

Breast pain is typically caused by hormone changes, ill-fitted bras, and stress. Herbal remedies and exercise are helpful ways to ease breast pain.

  • BMJ Group. "Menopause: What is it?" Patient Leaflet. 2007.
  • 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.