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Understanding Armpit and Breast Pain

Breast pain can be a symptom of menopause and can cause sore, swollen breasts and a persistent throbbing pain in the armpit. Breast pain can grow so severe that walking, jerky movements, or contact of any kind causes discomfort. It is essential to understand what you're experiencing in order to treat armpit and breast pain.

Understanding armpit and breast pain

Common Causes of Armpit and Breast Pain

Breast pain, also known as mastalgia, is categorized as either cyclical or non-cyclical. Cyclical breast pain, which is characterized by constant pain in one area of the breast as a result of hormonal changes, is the most common kind of breast pain in premenopausal women. However, non-cyclical breast pain is more common after menopause, and it is typically caused by arthritis or physical trauma.

Breast pain can be experienced during different life stages and can vary based on a woman's own unique physiology and genetics.

Other Causes

Other factors can cause or contribute to breast pain.

  • Oral contraceptives. Birth control pills can cause side effects, including breast tenderness and pain. Women should talk to a doctor to find out what method of contraception would work best for them.
  • Breast cysts. Fluid-filled sacs that are usually tenderer just before your menstrual period can also cause breast pain.
  • Breast size. Large and dense breasts can cause breast pain.
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Antidepressants
  • Mastitis

Managing Armpit and Breast Pain

Breast pain can sometimes subside with simple lifestyle adjustments. These include:

Avoid Triggers

  • Caffeine
  • Saturated fats
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Tight clothing
  • Using ice packs or hot water bottles. Apply compresses to the breasts to soothe them. Do it before going to sleep.

  • Wearing a supportive bra. Try wearing a well-fitting bra, especially when you exercise. Invest in a quality sports bra.

  • De-stressing activities. Yoga, stretching, and meditation can help reduce the severity of armpit and breast pain and also promote relaxation

  • Staying hydrated. Consuming the equivalent of eight glasses of water a day helps reduce swelling and inflammation.

  • Herbal medicine. Chasteberry can help reduce breast pain because it lowers levels of prolactin.


    Although breast pain is generally a harmless and normal symptom of menopause or premenstrual syndrome, there is a point when the pain is severe enough that you should look for more than simple lifestyle changes.Tips for managing the symptoms may help, but to treat the principal cause of breast pain, click here.

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    How to Ease Breast Pain

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    • 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.