Breast Pain: 6 Reasons That May Cause It
Updated: Sep 12
Ever since puberty, you’ve had to live with your breasts and that means taking care of them too, but what if they start to hurt? When we say hurt we mean pain - the soreness, tenderness, swelling, heaviness or tightness or whatever kind of symptoms you may experience. This may make you worried especially if you start to think of it as a sign of breast cancer. The truth is not all breast pain is breast cancer! Breast pain is experienced by approximately two-thirds of females during their reproductive years and is one of the most frequent complaints of those aged 15–40 years. Let's learn about some of these causes!
1. Hormone fluctuations
This happens to be the number one reason women experience breast pain. Usually, breasts would become tender 3-5 days before your period and will stop once it starts. Breast pain before your period is completely normal and you have nothing to worry about. It is caused by the rise of 2 hormonal levels, estrogen and progesterone. Should you become pregnant, the breasts will remain tender during the 1st trimester as hormone productions peaks and this is one of the earliest signs of early pregnancy.
Remember whenever you feel some breast tenderness before your period, track with the Grace App
2. Wearing an unsupportive bra
The main idea of a bra is to support your breasts. Without proper support, the part of the body known as the ligaments that connect your breasts to your chest wall would be overstretched and painful by the end of the day. This can result in soreness and tenderness. A good time to observe this is when you try to do exercises. A good bra should be your exact size and offer enough support for you.
Breastfeeding is a natural way of feeding your infant but unfortunately, it may have its disadvantages. Some of the reasons and things you could experience when nursing include:
Engorgement - when your breasts are too full. The breasts will become enlarged and your skin will feel tight and painful
Improper latch - when the baby is not latching on correctly to the nipple.
The tingling sensation during letdown - this happens when the milk starts to flow to the baby.
Mastitis - Is an infection of the milk ducts. It causes severe pain, itching, burning, cracking or blistering on the nipples. A doctor can prescribe some antibiotics to treat this.
4. A medication side effect
Intake of some medications could cause breast pain as a side effect. Examples of such medication include, hormone therapy, antibiotics, antidepressants and medicine for heart disease. Despite the pain, this does not mean you should stop your medication. Instead, speak to your doctor for alternative options available.
5. Breast Cysts
As you get older, your bodies changes. In this case, the breast tissue is replaced by fat and one of the side effects of this is cysts and more fibrous tissue. This may appear as a fluid-filled lump on your breast. While they may not be dangerous or need treatment the rule of thumb is always to consult with a doctor to rule out if it’s cancerous or not.
Diagnosis may include a mammogram, ultrasound or draining fluid from the lamp. The draining of fluid is also regarded as a form of treatment. Should the cyst be no cause of concern, there might be no need for treatment.
6. Breast Cancer
You’ll be surprised to learn that breast pain is not linked to breast cancer but not impossible. There’s a type of cancer known as Inflammatory Breast Cancer which is rare but could cause breast pain. Aside from the pain, people might also experience redness or discoloration and swelling or heaviness. If you have breast pain that is only in one area and consistent through the month with no fluctuations in pain level, consult a doctor immediately.
When to see a doctor about breast pain
In most cases, breast pain could be minor and wear off with time. However, it’s still important to talk to your doctor especially if:
Pain lasts longer than two weeks
It seems to get worse with time
The pain is in one specific area of your breast
Interferes with your daily activities
Followed by a new lump that’s getting thicker
Remember to pay attention to your body and observe your signs and symptoms. Early diagnosis of any condition would mean early treatment. If you would like to track tender breasts or do a breast exam you can do so using the Grace Health app.
Have you learned something about breast pain? Share in the comments!
Stay informed, stay in control.
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