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Top 4 Good Habits to Prevent Breast Pain

Around two thirds of women experience breast pain at some point in their lives, and reasons can be hormonal or physical. Cyclical breast pain is the type caused by hormones and can often be predicted. On the other hand, non-cyclical breast pain has more to do with muscle or tissue trauma caused by too much stress on the breast or surrounding area. The good news is that breast pain can be managed. Read on for the top four good habits to prevent breast pain.

Top 4 Good Habits to Prevent Breast Pain
1

Dietary Changes

Hormonal breast pain can often be prevented through eating a diet low in fat and high in fiber. Such a diet will increase estrogen production, so hormonal fluctuations are minimized. It might also help to replace your refined carbohydrates (such as white rice or bread) for whole grain options. The whole grain foods contain a lot more of the original goodness than their processed counterparts and are metabolized more slowly, avoiding the sudden spikes and dips in blood sugar levels that whiter options can cause.

2

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise keeps blood sugar and insulin levels at a stable rate so that hormones do not fluctuate quite as much. Studies have even shown that women who engage in strenuous exercise are far less likely to suffer from pain or tenderness in the chest area. In addition, excess weight can cause hormone imbalances, so the natural weight loss that often comes with physical exercise can also help. It is important to remember, however, that any physical activity must be partnered with a well-fitting sports bra in order to minimize stress on the breasts.

3

Well-fitting Bra

As well as during periods of exercise, a well-fitting bra should always be worn, as too much unsupported movement can cause stress on the tissue and surrounding muscles, leading to breast pain. This is especially important in women with larger breasts. Try to opt for bras without an underwire, as this can sometimes dig in to the delicate breast tissue. Ask the store if they offer a bra-measuring and fitting service to make sure your size is right. Some women also feel that wearing a bra at night can also prevent long-term pain, so this might be worth a try.

4

Breast Massage

If breasts are particularly painful, massaging them can often help. There are no muscles in the breast, so if a stagnant lymph becomes trapped, it often needs external help to get moving. Gently applying pressure with your fingertips can encourage the blockage to move and also improve blood circulation to the area. A hot or cold compress has also been shown to be an effective pain reliever.

Breast pain is common and rarely a cause for concern. Most women find that developing a few good habits can alleviate breast pain for good, and it is certainly the cheapest, healthiest, and most long-term way to deal with the problem. However, if the pain is severe or accompanied by any unusual symptoms, medical advice should be sought.

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Sources:
  • Ahn, S., Kim, J. & Cho, J. (2011). [Effects of breast massage on breast pain, breast-milk sodium, and new-born suckling in early postpartum mothers]. Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing, 41(4), 451-459. doi: 10.4040/jkan.2011.41.4.451
  • Breast Cancer Care. (2013). Breast pain. Retrieved September 16, 2014, from http://www.breastcancercare.org.uk/breast-cancer-information/benign-breast-conditions/breast-pain#noncyclical
  • National Breast Cancer Foundation. (2012). Breast Pain. Retrieved September 16, 2014, from http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-pain
  • National Institutes of Health. (2012). Breast - premenstrual tenderness and swelling. Retrieved September 16, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003153.htm
  • Northrup, C. (2006). The Wisdom of Menopause. New York: Bantam Dell.
  • Sutter Health CPMC. (2014). Breast Pain. Retrieved September 16, 2014, from http://www.cpmc.org/services/women/breast/breast_about.html