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Does Birth Control Lead to Breast Tenderness or Pain?

To answer this question, it's necessary to understand birth control and its function in the body. Oral contraception is the most common method of contraception among women. It contains hormones that control the reproductive cycle and prevent pregnancy.

Women's bodies need time to adjust to external hormones

Birth Control

While the pill is good for preventing conception, it also takes time for a woman's body to become accustomed to the new levels of hormones. Adverse effects of the pill are a legitimate concern for women on all iterations of estrogen and progesterone replacements. Also, certain medications such as Rifampin (i,e; an antibiotic taken to treat tuberculosis), some anti-seizure medications, and phytoestrogens may make the pill less effective.

Breast Tenderness

Breast tissue is sensitive to the effects of hormones, especially during menstruation or pregnancy. Some breast tenderness is normal, the discomfort may be caused by hormone changes. It can be felt in any part of the breast and may spread to nearby areas too.

Birth Control and Breast Pain: The Link

The increased amounts of hormones can cause fluid retention, which in turn causes breast tenderness and pain. If you suffer from water retention, it is likely that your breasts will return to normal within three months of being on the pill.

The pill can also make bleeding unpredictable, so your periods may take more days, you may experience bleeding between periods or not having periods at all.

Other less common side effects of birth control are: nausea, mood changes, and migraines.

However, breast pain can also result from other issues, such as:

  • Bras made of synthetic fabrics
  • Stress
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Weight Gain
  • Abscesses
  • Cysts
  • Infections
  • Side effect of antidepressants

Should I Be Worried?

With or without birth control, a woman's breasts are subject to the hormonal fluctuations that take place from one menstrual cycle to the next. Sometimes, they will feel lumpy or knotty, while at other times, they will feel smooth. These and other changes are simply a part of being a woman.

Although some women immediately associate breast pain with an increased risk of breast cancer, this is not necessarily true. Breast cancer signs are usually painless, which is why it's important to perform regular self-checks at least one a month.

However, if breast pain is continuous and lasts longer than three months, this might be an indicator of a more serious underlying condition. It's advisable to talk to a doctor.

Recommendations for Breast Pain

There are many different ways to treat breast pain caused by birth control; try out the following suggestions and see if any are right for you:


  • Try a pain reliever or anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • Avoid salty foods, which may cause your breasts to retain extra fluid.
  • Wear a comfortable, supportive bra - even at night, if necessary.
  • Use a hot or cold cloth for immediate relief.

Additionally, if breast tenderness becomes a constant problem, you can always talk to your doctor about a change to a different brand of birth control or a different method. Every woman's body is different, and may react better with another combination or dosage of synthetic hormones. You can try keeping a healthy diet and an exercise. Find low-impact exercises to relieve breast pain here.

Daily Breast Pain: Should I Be Worried?

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

Can Low-impact Exercises Help Relieve Breast Pain?

Keep reading to learn more about these beneficial low-impact exercises.

How to Ease Breast Pain

There are several treatments for easing breast pain. Keep reading to learn more.

Sources:
  • Bruton-Seal, J. & Seal, M. (2009). Backyard Medicine. New York: Skyhorse Publishing.
  • National Center of Alternative Medicine. (2012). Menopausal Symptoms and Complementary Health Practices. Retrieved August 13, 2014, from http://nccam.nih.gov/health/menopause/menopausesymptoms
  • National Health Service UK. (2013). 10 medical reasons for feeling tired. Retrieved August 18, 2014, fromhttp://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/Pages/medical-causes-of-tiredness.aspx
  • National Institutes of Health. (2014). Fatigue. Retrieved August 13, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/fatigue.html
  • University of Maryland Medical Center. (2013). Gotu kola. Retrieved August 13, 2014, from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/gotu-kola