Breast pain: Why does my breast hurt and how to make it stop.! Hormonal changes as well as an infection can make your breast hurt just like in other similar pains. If you are a woman then it is likely you have had times your breast ached. Breast pain also called mastalgia is commonly caused by hormonal changes during certain times of a woman’s life like the menstrual cycle where changes in breast tissue causes breast pain.
Breast pain associated with your menstrual cycle is called cyclical pain and subsides after a woman’s period is over. Non cyclical pain comes from a host of other causes including injury to the breast.
Breast pain may come in form of a sharp pain to a mild tingling pain associated with full and tender breast to some women. Asides the menstrual cycle, hormonal changes can occur in puberty, pregnancy and menopause too.
- Hormonal fluctuations( Menstruation)
Estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate during a woman’s cycle. Breast pain is usually experienced 2-3 days before menstruation causing lumpy, full, swollen breast and is likely to stop after the menstrual cycle. This pain caused by hormonal changes may become worse with age or may not be there at all.
The more a woman advances with age, her breast tissues gets replaced by fat causing development of more fibrous tissues and cysts called fibrocystic breast categorized by a lumpy appearance and breast tenderness and pain. This breast tissue can enlarge during the menstrual cycle.
During breastfeeding certain hormones fluctuates and are responsible for changes. There are a host of reasons for breast pain in breastfeeding mothers.
There are times during breastfeeding when the breast becomes extremely full and enlarged causing tight skin and pains.
Try to pump or manually express your milk by using your fingers at the top and bottom of the breast to relieve you if you cannot feed your baby immediately.
2. Improper latch
There are ways your baby may be positioned on your breast nipple that is deemed inappropriate latching and may cause nipple cracks and soreness. See your doctor to help you with proper latching techniques.
Most times breast pain could be caused by an infection of your milk ducts causing fever, chills and red streaks on breast along with nipple cracks, itching, burning, blister and extreme pain in the nipple. Antibiotics can be prescribed by a doctor for treatment.
-Fatty acid imbalance
An imbalance of fatty acids from vegetable and animal oils in your cells can make the breast more sensitive to hormones. The remedy is to cut down fat and diet.
When a woman’s breast is larger and isn’t proportionate with her frame, there is likely to be a discomfort on the neck or shoulders from stretched ligaments and breast tissue. A breast reduction surgery can help if the breast tissue doesn’t get damaged during the operation.
Wearing a supportive bra all times and sports bra during exercise can help.
Pain from scar tissue formation during breast surgery can linger even after incisions have healed.
- Extra mammary concerns
When the back muscle, chest and arms are irritated by a few activities like shoveling, raking, rowing and waterskiing, breast pain can occur.
Smoking increases epinephrine levels in breast tissue which causes hurt in breast.
Medications for heart disease, hormone therapy, antidepressants and antibiotics can contribute to breast pain. Speak to your doctor to consider alternative options.
Breast pain can occur during first trimester of pregnancy.
When do you see a doctor?
Breast pain is not linked to breast cancer if other symptoms do not follow nor is fibrocystic breast mean you are at a risk of developing cancer.
If your breast pain is consistent through the month and consistent in pain, area of pain and intensity, call your doctor.
Your doctor will carry out various diagnosis to see if cancer cells are present.
A scan used to penetrate breast tissues and identify lumps without radiation exposure.
Involves removal of breast tissue for examination under microscope for presence of cancer cells.
Magnetic resonance imaging(MRI)
Used to identify potentially cancerous lesions by creating detailed images.
Using imaging test to identify abnormalities in tissues of the breast.
Age, medical history and severity of pain along with the underlying cause of your breast pain will determine the type of treatment.
- Estrogen blockers like tamoxifen can help
- Take calcium supplements
- use medications. Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs( NSAIDs) like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help.
- Wear supportive bra 24 hours a day when pain is worse.
Reduce sodium intake
- Take oral contraceptives to even hormone levels.
See your doctor
- If pain gets worse with time
- Lasts longer than 2 weeks
- Becomes concentrated in a part of the breast
- Accompanies new lump that gets thicker.
Summary; Pain that is sudden and comes with numbness, tingling and chest pain may signal a heart attack.
- Your doctor will like to know when your pain in breast begun
- At what time you noticed the pain E.g. during menstruations etc.
- A physical examination and some imaging test may help the doctor picture your breast tissue.
-Send us a mail with your Facebook name to get an invite to our private health and anti-aging group.
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