Most women experience breast tenderness and breast pain at one time or another. Almost 70% of women face breast pain out of which only 15% require treatment. Breast pain is often easy to treat, but on rare occasions, it can be signs of something more serious. It is very normal for a woman’s breasts to change throughout her life. However, breast pain could indicate a more serious health problem.
Know the Types of Breast Pain
Cyclical Breast Pain
- It occurs in premenstrual women during/before their menstrual cycle due to hormonal variations.
- Cyclical breast pain accounts for about 75% of all the breast pains.
- Stress is also a significant cause of this type of breast pain.
Non-Cyclical Breast Pain
- It’s less common breast pain which is not related to the menstrual cycle.
- Pain is felt only is a specific area of the breast known as the target zone.
- Women suffering from non-cyclical breast pain can point to exactly where it pains.
- This type of pain can even last for a year or two and then disappear.
- It occurs to both pre-and post-menopausal women but common in women who are between 40-50 years.
- Though cancer occurrence is rare, one must consult the doctor to rule out.
Non-Breast Origin Pain
- Though it may feel like the breast is hurting, the pain is not actually from the breast.
- The pain originates in the middle of the chest and has no relevance to the menstrual cycle.
- Arthritic pain that occurs in the ribs and breast bone is known as costochondritis.
- The causes of this pain include poor posture, too much exercise, the aging process, and stressful joints.
What Are the Causes of Breast Pain?
1. Hormonal Changes
Hormonal fluctuations are one of the reasons for breast pain. Breasts become sore/tender a few days before the beginning of the menstrual period. The pain stops after the menstrual cycle. The rise in estrogen and progesterone during periods causes your breasts to swell and lead to tenderness.
How Can You Minimize Breast Soreness during Menstruation?
- Avoid caffeine
- Eat a low-fat diet
- Reduce salt intake
- Avoid smoking
- Take pain killer
2. Breast Injury
Breasts can be injured due to sports, exercise, an accident, or from breast surgery, you may feel sharp, shooting pain at the time of injury. You may even experience Breast tenderness for a few days up to several weeks. You need to consult your doctor if you have
- A lump in the breast
- Redness and warmth
- Severe swelling
- A bruise on your breast
3. Breast Pain Due to Unsupportive Bra
With more women not wearing a bra during the lockdown, the ligaments connecting the breasts to the chest can stretch and cause pain. It is essential to choose the right bra to provide instant support. For example, if you feel the soreness of breasts during exercise, you need to wear the right sports bra/exercise bra for good support. Also, read our tips to buy a bra for heavy breasted women.
Self-Help Tips to Cure Breast Pain Caused by Poor Bra
- Wear a well-fitting bra during the day time
- Wear super soft, cotton highly supported sleep bra
- Choose sports bra for intense workouts
4. Breast Pain from Your Chest Wall
You may feel pain on your breast but it may come from your chest wall. The tissue, muscle, and bone that surrounds your heart and lungs may cause the pain. Common causes include:
- Trauma to the chest wall
- Bone fracture
- Inflammation around the ribs
- Pulled muscle
5. Breastfeeding and Reasons for Breast Pain
Breastfeeding can be the source of breast pain for many mothers. It can be caused due to
- Painful nipples due to improper latch
- Tingling sensation when the milk starts to flow
- Nipple soreness due to being bitten
- Having dry, cracked skin
- Infection on nipples
When there is a pain while breastfeeding, you must talk to your doctor for assistance. You should also wear the best nursing bra to provide ample support to your breasts. You can check out our complete guide on finding the best nursing bra for breastfeeding mothers.
6. Infection in the Breast
Most breastfeeding women are prone to infections. If you have infections, you will have a fever followed by swelling in breasts, redness, and pain. You need to consult a doctor immediately to take pain relievers and antibiotics.
7. Medication Side Effects
Some medications might trigger breast pain as a side effect. Medicines for anemia, various mental health conditions, kidney and heart diseases, high blood pressure, birth control pills, heart failure pills, and more can cause breast pain.
8. Breast Cyst
If a tender lump starts to appear in your breast, you may have a cyst. Though these lumps aren’t dangerous, they can cause pain. If it doesn’t resolve on their own, you need your breast evaluated by doctors.
9. Complications from Breast Implants
Few women have complications from breast implants made of silicone or saline. They may feel pain after breast augmentation surgery, have scars around the implants that can lead to pain. To avoid pain, you can try natural and effective ways to increase breast size.
10. Signs of Breast Cancer
It is unusual for breast cancer to cause pain but not impossible. Only 1%-5% of women have serious symptoms of breast cancer. You need to consult the doctor immediately if you spot lump around your breast, red or discoloration, swollen, or heavy and painful breasts.
When Should I Be Concerned About Breast Pain?
Although most cases of breast pain are minor, if you have persistent painful breasts, you should be evaluated by your doctor. Understand the reason for your breast pain and seek medical help whenever needed.