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Do Your Breasts Hurt During Menopause

Sore Breasts During Menopause

How to ease breast pain during menopause

Your breasts get sore during menopause for the same reason that they may have been sore before your period or in early pregnancy.

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As your hormone levels go up, fluid can build up in your breast tissue. And because your hormone levels get a little spiky during perimenopause, this pain can strike at unpredictable times.

Its also important to remember that its not just your breasts themselves that can be painful. Larger breasts mean that youre more likely to suffer from back pain too.

What can you do about sore breasts during menopause?

Here are some tips to help with sore breasts :

  • Wear a properly fitted bra
  • Massage your breasts when they feel achy
  • Use a warm compress to ease the pain
  • Cut down on caffeine to generally improve your menopause symptoms, including breast tenderness

Should You Worry About It

Often times abdominal pain does not indicate a serious condition. Since your ovaries are in the abdominal region, the pain could be coming from something else. Keep in mind that gastrointestinal ailments such as food poisoning, a stomach virus, or irritable bowel syndrome can cause abdominal pain and cramping. They can even pop up after eating certain foods or when under stress.

If you are still in the perimenopausal stage, treat cramps as you would during any period while they taper off. Over-the-counter pain meds such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help. A heating pad or hot water bottle can soothe discomfort. Sometimes walking or other exercises can relieve discomfort along with easing stress which can make cramps worse.

Keep in mind that taking estrogen to ease menopausal symptoms and a family history of ovarian or uterine cancer are risk factors for you. Other things to consider are getting your period before age 12, cessation of periods after age 52, and the use of an IUD for birth control. Discuss any of these risk factors with your doctor.

I Am 52 Years Old And Have Not Had A Period For Three Months Now My Breasts Hurt So Bad I Can Hardly Sleep On Them They’re Sore And Tender All The Time In The Past They Have Been Sore Right Before My Period For A Couple Days But Never For This Long Do I Need To Worry About Anything Or Is This Probably Menopause Setting In

This article has been archived. We will no longer be updating it. For our most up-to-date information, please visit our menopause hub here.

Q:

I am 52 years old and have not had a period for three months. Now, my breasts hurt so bad I can hardly sleep on them. They’re sore and tender all the time. In the past, they have been sore right before my period for a couple days, but never for this long. Do I need to worry about anything, or is this probably menopause setting in?

A:

You’re right to consider that menopause is setting in. Only it’s important to get the language right “menopause” per se is really only one day in a woman’s life: the day at which she reaches 12 consecutive months without a period. You’re currently in the perimenopausal stage, which may last anywhere from a few months to several years.

Changes in your menstrual cycle are a key marker of perimenopause. They often come more frequently than the typical 28 days, you may skip cycles, your menstrual flow may be lighter, heavier or spottier than normal. You may also find your period lasts longer – or for just a couple of days. In other words, all bets are off in terms of predicting the timing, duration and severity of your menstrual cycle once you reach perimenopause.

Having said that, it is quite likely that you are approaching the actual menopause. The average age of menopause in this country is 51.4 years, but normal menopause it can occur any time between age 40 and age 58.

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Home Remedies To Alleviate Symptoms

Self care is extremely important when it comes to breast pain and tenderness. If you dont seek out the care that you need, the painful symptoms can quite literally ruin your day.

To prevent horrible breast changes, or at the least alleviate some of the pain, try implementing some suggestions that Ive come across over the past several years.

Dont smoke cigarettes, and if you do, quit as soon as you can. Not smoking will promote good skin and good tissue health.

Fluid naturally builds up in the breasts during perimenopause and menopause. Once the period completely stops, the breast pain should subside.

Some women have a tendency to ask the question, Can HRT cause sore nipples? The answer to that is yes if youre going through hormone replacement therapy, additional unwanted signs and symptoms may arise.

Talk to your doctor about options other than hormone therapy if your breasts start to become more of a problem than the menopause itself.

Additionally, suggestions that helped me were to limit my salt intake and drink more water on the daily. Think about it this way: dehydration leads to fluid retention, which can potentially worsen breast pain.

What Is Cyclical Breast Pain

Do Your Breasts Get Bigger During Menopause

The most common type of breast pain is linked to the menstrual cycle. It is nearly always hormonal. Some women begin to have pain around the time of ovulation. The pain continues until the start of their menstrual cycle. The pain may be barely noticeable. Or it may be so severe that you cant wear tight-fitting clothing or handle close contact of any kind. The pain may be felt in only one breast. Or it may be felt as a radiating feeling in the underarm area.

Some healthcare providers have women chart their breast pain to figure out if the pain is cyclical or not. After a few months, the link between the menstrual cycle and breast pain will appear.

Researchers continue to study the role that hormones play in cyclical mastalgia. One study has suggested that some women with this condition have less progesterone than they do estrogen in the second half of the menstrual cycle. Other studies have found that an abnormality in the hormone prolactin may affect breast pain. Hormones can also affect cyclical breast pain due to stress. Breast pain can increase or change its pattern with the hormone changes that happen during times of stress.

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Sore Breasts And Menopause: Everything You Need To Know

Lots of women experience this menopause symptom, we asked a GP why

Menopause and perimenopause symptoms differ from woman to woman, but there are some that are more common than others.

Lots of us know about hot flushes and brain fog. When it comes to sore breasts and menopause though, we’re less clued up and often end up Googling in search of more information.

So, we asked Dr Cat Hyatt, a GP based in Dorset, to explain the facts around breast pain and menopause.

Headaches Dizzy Spells Or Vertigo

Have you ever woken up first thing in the morning to the room spinning as if youve had one too many the night before? This feeling is known as vertigo and, along with dizziness, is another symptom of the perimenopause caused by a drop in oestrogen levels.

Falling oestrogen and progesterone levels are also the cause of headaches in menopausal women and some women may even experience migraines for the first time during perimenopause. Women who suffer from headaches around their period due to low oestrogen levels may find headaches increase as they transition to the menopause. But after menopause, some women find that headaches, in particular, migraines lessen.

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The Importance Of Routine Breast Screening

In the UK routine breast screeningwill be offered to you when you reach 50. You can ask to be screened earlier if you have a family history of breast cancer or other concerns about the health of your breasts.

The screening will be repeated every 3 years. I would strongly advise you to take up the offer. Breast screening can detect early changes in your breasts that may indicate cancer. While not all changes are cancer the earlier a problem is diagnosed and treated the better.

It only takes a few minutes of your time to be screened. It may be a little uncomfortable but its not painful. The process is discreet and professional and the results dont take too long to come through. Its really worth your while getting it done.

Remember that you will still need to do your own regular breast examinations as problems can arise between screenings. And dont forget to check your armpits too as they are an important part of checking for changes in your breast health.

Top Causes Of Breast Pain During Menopause

Breast Screening And How To Check Your Own Breasts In Menopause

As with most physical changes and menopause symptoms, breast pain is linked to changing hormone levels in a womans body.

When estrogen and progesterone levels begin to fluctuate and then decline, this can give rise to a number of symptoms that may feel strange or downright scary at first.

But sore breasts in and of themselves are not a cause for alarm.

As hormone levels become increasingly erratic, this can also cause the breasts themselves to change in shape or size. This is due to changing tissue composition, according to WebMD.

Once the milk-producing gland system is no longer needed, it shuts down and decreases in size as well as in density. This can cause breasts to sag itself a potential cause for soreness and change in shape or size.

Another common reason for breast tenderness during perimenopause is the formation of fluid-filled cysts or benign lumps. Here again, changes to tissue composition as well as fluid retention are often responsible for these changes and are linked to hormonal fluctuations.

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Why Do Womens Breasts Get Bigger With Age

Many women find that their breasts look smaller as they get older gravity and loss of skin elasticity are mostly to blame here, and theres also a genetic factor.

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But, if youre finding the opposite, thats also completely normal.

The main reasons why womens breasts get bigger as they get older are:

  • Weight gain or weight redistribution
  • Fluctuating hormone levels due to menopause.

Breast Changes During Menopause

By the time a person with a uterus and ovaries reaches their late 40s to early 50s, perimenopause has likely started. Perimenopause is the transitional phase leading up to menopause, the time when monthly periods have stopped for 12 months. During perimenopause, a person often starts noticing some changes in their breasts.

During perimenopause, breast changes often occur cyclically due to fluctuating hormonal levels. These breast symptoms start when the monthly cycle begins and then subside a few days later. When menopause occurs, hormonal levels continue to decrease, causing more changes in the breasts. These changes include:

  • A lower density of breast tissue
  • Increased fat tissue in the breasts
  • Shrinking and sagging breasts
  • Breast or nipple itching

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Symptoms Of Breast Pain After Menopause

Lets see how and why the mammary glands hurt after menopause. Soreness of the mammary glands during this period can be constant or periodic, in one mammary gland or in both.

Common signs of soreness of mammary glands:

  • breast swelling
  • obesity
  • stress.

For some women, breast pain after menopause is caused by too little or too much estrogen in the blood. It should be noted, for others, this pathology manifests itself with a low level of progesterone. No specific hormone has been isolated as the only cause of chest discomfort during menopause. In addition, hormone replacement therapy , which is used for menopause, also contributes to the soreness of the mammary glands. This explains why some women on HRT continue to experience breast soreness even with menopause. Knowing the causes of the tenderness of the mammary glands with menopause, you can understand the principles of treatment for this symptom. These approaches range from lifestyle correction and natural treatments to more invasive medical procedures.

You Can’t Touch That Tender Breasts During Perimenopause And Menopause

How Do I Know If My Breast Pain Is a Sign of Menopause?

Hot flashes. Mood swings. Weight gain. Osteoporosis. Just a few of the many symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. Add breast tenderness to that never-ending laundry list. For some women, “tenderness” is a gross and I mean gross!) understatement.

It’s ironic, isn’t it? From our “tender” preteen days, most of us couldn’t wait until that first sign of womanhood. We couldn’t wait to buy — and wear — our first training bra.

Of course, you’ve got to be careful what you wish for. My daughter, Sarah, was a late bloomer and prayed for boobs. They didn’t appear on the scene until she was about 18 or so. Fast forward 16 years, Sarah now writes a wonderful blog called, smilescurlsandbaby — lessons, joys, and laughs in baby making and life! She found pregnancy took her breasts to a whole new letter, Aint Nothin But a G-Thang….Baby….! Now if only we could train our breasts to not be so sore all the time!

Intimacy Interruptus

Pregnancy is not the only life cycle phase that can affect intimacy. During perimenopause, sore breasts can cause marital intimacy to suffer as well. “My breasts are off-limits to my husband when I’m mid-cycle” said one perimenopausal friend. “He can’t even look at them without getting the ‘evil eye’ from me! My breasts are so painful that sometimes I can’t even bear to have the shower head pointed toward them.”

A Different Kind of Fluid Retention

The Shape of Things to Come

The Progesterone Approach

How about Hormone Replacement Therapy ?

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Is Breast Pain A Sign Of Breast Cancer

People who are diagnosed with breast cancer will likely develop lumps in the breast area that can be quite painful. But breast pain on its own isnt usually a sign of breast cancer.

If you have breast pain either localized or generalized you should schedule a visit with your healthcare provider for a routine breast examination. This will ensure that your health is being monitored and that your breast screenings are up to date.

Breast Pain Diagnosis And Treatment

After receiving the diagnosis of hormone induced breast pain, there are three main treatment categories which are effective at alleviating if not stopping breast pain. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle such as balanced diet, plenty of rest, exercise, and avoiding foods and activities that trigger breast pain may take care of the issue. Some women for example, have found that overuse of caffeine causes breast pain.

Alternative medicine offers a variety of therapies such as massage, foods and supplements which contain estrogen like properties that help restore balance to the bodys chemistry, acupuncture, and relaxation exercises. Natural remedies are recommended above traditional hormone replacement therapy because they carry fewer health risks and are most often, less expensive.

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Use A Natural Deodorant

The other thing that not a lot of people think of is, is your deodorant a factor?” Your antiperspirant essentially blocks the pores under your arms which could be affecting the lymph system around the breast tissue. This could then be a factor contributing to breast pain.

Some women do find that when they go on to a natural deodorant and not an antiperspirant, their breast pain eases up. I know that I used a natural deodorant because breast pain was one of my horrible peri-menopause symptoms and I found that that made quite a difference for me.

I use our lovely Salts of the Earth Deodorant Spray and find it works for all sorts of great things as well. Remember that antiperspirants might also be a factor in your hot flushes, too, so this is a really nice one to try for a couple of months to see if this makes a difference for your symptoms.

Sore Breasts And Menopause

Breast Soreness in Perimenopause

Menopause is another process of hormonal change, and this can cause breast pain in the same way your period does. Some women may find that during peri-menopause that their cyclical breast pain worsens, due to erratic hormone levels. Its also worth mentioning that many women have anxiety about breast pain they might feel after menopause, assuming it is a sign of breast cancer. The good news is that only 2%7% of women with non-cyclical breast pain in one spot will go on to receive a cancer diagnosis.

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Causes Of Tingling And Swollen Breasts In Menopause

Breast tingling is a characteristic of breast pain that occurs during times of significant hormonal fluctuations, such as during pregnancy and menopause.

Both estrogen and progesterone have stimulating effects on the size and number of milk ducts and milk glands.

These fluctuations can cause various symptoms, like inflammation, soreness, pain, sensitivity, tingling, and swelling in the breast and armpit area.

Although it may be concerning to experience swollen and tingling breasts, keep in mind that it is common to experience these sensations during this transition out of fertile years.

Breast pain alone is rarely a sign of breast cancer. However, it is recommended to regularly self-examine your breast and undergo annual mammograms for your well-being and peace of mind.

Other causes of breast pain include infection, benign cysts, medication use, fatty acid imbalance, and breast surgery, among others.

Stress Anxiety And Breast Pain

During particularly harsh periods of anxiety, pressure and stress, you can experience breast pain.

What causes it? While the science isnt in on the why, once again it seems to come back to hormonal fluctuations. Research has found correlations between the impact of stress and oestrogen levels, meaning that increased stress during a specific time during the menstrual cycle could cause excess discomfort.

Whats the treatment for stress-related breast pain? Its easy for us to say dont stress so much but we know thats not as easy to do. Our stress health guide has lots of interesting articles and resources to help you better manage your stress. Youll also find programs and services we can offer if you need more help in getting on top of stress.

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