Breast Pain After Menopause And More
Breast pain, sometimes referred to as mastalgia, is either cyclical or noncyclical.
Cyclical breast pain. This is the kind that’s linked to menstruation and apparently results from monthly fluctuations of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Although studies have not found any hormonal abnormality that explains cyclical breast pain, we know that estrogen and progesterone have a stimulating effect, increasing the size and number of ducts and milk glands and causing the breast to retain water.
A few days before menstruation, both breasts may swell and become tender, painful, or lumpy. The pain may extend to the upper and outer portions of the breast, the armpit, and the arm. The symptoms subside when menstruation ends. Cyclical pain may worsen during perimenopause, when hormones can surge and drop erratically, and linger into menopause, especially in women who use oral contraceptives or hormone therapy.
Noncyclical breast pain. This type of breast pain isn’t obviously linked to menstruation and doesn’t follow any predictable pattern. It may be constant or intermittent, may affect one breast or both, and may involve the whole breast or just a small part. Noncyclical pain is usually a symptom of a specific problem, such as a cyst, trauma, or a benign tumor. Several conditions affecting the chest wall, esophagus, neck and upper back, and even the heart can produce symptoms that are felt as breast pain.
Change In Breast Size And Shape
When estrogen levels drop before, during, and after menopause, the milk systems inside the body shut down and the glandular tissue inside the breasts starts to shrink. In other words, the tissue becomes less dense, more fatty, and starts to sag.
All of these involuntary actions tend to change the breast size and shape. The breasts will shrink a bit, encouraging you to purchase a new set of bras.
And, the breasts will change shape and need a little less push up support and a little more cushion support.
What we have to do as women going through this is: be aware, purchase new bras, and last but not least, exercise.
To keep some of the breast size and shape that we had before menopause started, we must keep our bodies and muscles in shape.
If youre wondering how to increase breast size, we can start by heading on over to the gym to do some weight lifting. Weight lifting exercises will tone underneath the muscles, perking the breasts up, instead of allowing them to fall.
Natural Ways To Manage Breast Tenderness In Menopause That Work
Breast tenderness in menopause can be quite uncomfortable, but good news is, its highly manageable. Here are 9 things you can do to reduce the soreness!
1. Give your boobs some loving attention.
When one or both of your girls feel tender, one way to calm them down is through breast massage. Breast massaging has many benefits, including:
- Improves blood circulation
- Maintains the shape of the breasts and increases their size
- Helps in pain relief, easing soreness
- Increases your sensitivity, intensifying pleasure and improving orgasm
- Stimulates the release of youthful hormones
- Triggers the production of oxytocin , reducing stress and depression
In addition to these benefits, doing self-massage may also help you detect unusual lumps in your breasts. Heres a simple guide to breast self-massage by the Toronto Breast Health Clinic :
2. Use essential oils.
To add more positive effects to breast massage, use oils withessential fatty acidsto help decrease breast pain. Olive oil, coconut oil and primrose oil are rich in gamma-linolenic acid , which have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. Just take a few drops of this oil and apply it gently on your breasts for pain relief.
3. Fill your body with vitamins and minerals!
Vitamins B, C and E have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They also have balancing effects, which can immensely help your hormones in correcting PMS. Here are some foods rich in these vitamins:
4. Start a hormone supporting diet.
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Causes Of Breast Tenderness
Hormonal change is the most common cause of cyclical breast tenderness during menopause. During the menopause transition, levels of estrogen and progesterone become irregular. Spikes and dips in these hormone levels can lead some women to experience breast tenderness.
Rare Causes of Breast Tenderness
- Breast cancer
Causes Of Post Menopausal Breast Tenderness
The primary reason for breast tenderness is often fluctuations in the hormonal levels in the body. Entering nters the post menopausal stage, there is less production of hormones, estrogen and progesterone. At times it may drop down below normal warranting hormonal replacement therapy, to bring back the levels to normal. The body requires time to get used to these synthetic hormones and which can result in swelling of the breasts, followed by a feeling of tenderness or soreness. This condition is referred to as mastalgia and can last up to a couple of years.
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Why Your Breasts Hurt
A lot our patients ask, “why do my breasts hurt?” Breast pain is familiar to most women up to 70 percent of women experience it at some point. That breast sensitivity just before your period is cyclical mastalgia and is caused by .? You guessed it: hormone fluctuations. Those same shifting hormones can cause the girls to get a bit lumpy and swollen as well, so its good to know whats going on. This is often experienced in relation to pregnancy, as similarly disruptive painful sex is often a postpartum symptom. However, hormone-prompted breast pain can also happen in perimenopause, though in the good-news column, most women dont experience breast pain after menopause is complete, hoorah!
While hormones are a big cause of breast pain, theyre not entirely to blame. We asked Naturopathic Doctor Suzanne McMurry of Naturopathic Cancer Treatment to help us understand what causes breast pain particularly when its not necessarily our cycle anymore and what we can do about it.
What Causes Breast Tenderness With Dr Suzanne Mcmurry
As far as breast soreness in menopause, there are some factors that can definitely influence this. First, if the women is on bioidentical hormones, or just hormones in general, the dosage may be too high. She should have her hormone levels tested, through blood work, by her gynecologist or primary care doctor.
Second is diet related. This relates to either food sensitivities, specific to Immunoglobulin-G related food allergies. These allergies trigger the immune system, increasing inflammation and resulting in symptoms related to breast tenderness, joint aches, digestive upset, headaches and migraines, just to name a few. Caffeine consumption also has a strong, direct correlation with breast tenderness. If youre drinking more then 1 cup of coffee daily, substitute the rest with decaf or better yet, herbal teas and water, and do this for a week. Does this improve your pain?
Third relates to excess fatty tissue. In menopause, your ovaries are no longer producing estrogen. The main driver in estrogen production at this stage is your fat tissue. Some women store most of their fat in their breasts, others in various other places . This excess fat can give you symptoms related to what you may have experienced during or around your menstrual cycle. Exercise, Epsom salt baths, sauna treatments, all are great ways to eliminate the estrogens released from your fat tissue. These treatments also help to detoxify your body, enabling efficient and effective elimination of hormones.
How Breast Pain Is Evaluated
It’s important to discuss any breast pain with your clinician. She or he will take a careful history to try to rule out any conditions outside the breast. Your risk for breast cancer will also be assessed, including a breast examination and a check of your chest wall and underarms. Your neck, shoulders, and upper back may also be evaluated. If you haven’t had a recent mammogram, your clinician may order one, as well as an ultrasound if a lump is found.
Breast Changes During Menopause Are Normal
Though breast changes might have an impact on your self-esteem, rest assured that it is normal. Almost all menopausal women will notice some breast changes from menopause when they look in the mirror.
The greater cause for concern is the increased risk of cysts, fibroids, and other abnormal growths in the breast tissue. Women can develop abnormal growths at any age, but menopausal women are certainly in a higher risk category. But if you notice a breast lump, dont wait to be offered to screen see your health care provider rule out breast cancer. Breast cancer is most common in women over 50.
You may feel discomfort in one breast or both breasts. Not all women experience breast discomfort in the same way. Breast pain in the postmenopausal years may be coming from the chest wall, arthritis of the spine, or, only rarely, from cancer.
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Understanding Breast Pain During The Menopause
Alongside hot flushes, mood changes, and sleep issues, breast soreness can be a symptom of perimenopause the transitional period leading up to the menopause, which is when your ovaries lose their reproductive function and you stop getting periods. Perimenopause can last between 4-12 years , and most symptoms experienced during this time are caused by fluctuations in hormone levels.Throughout your reproductive years, breast tenderness can signal that your period is coming or be an early sign of pregnancy. However, the experience of breast pain during menopause is different.Here, we take a look at what happens to your breasts throughout menopause and outline simple ways you can manage pain and reduce any discomfort.
Top Causes Of Breast Pain During 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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What Causes Breast Tenderness In Menopause
Breast tenderness in menopause normally begins during the perimenopause stage. Perimenopause usually starts 8 to 10 years before the menopause stage, and at this time you may experience erratic periods.
Perimenopause is an unpredictable time. Your hormones are confused and they go up and down as they please. In perimenopause, estrogen is produced by your ovaries and adrenal glands at normal rates. It may also gradually decline but not as much as progesterone, which is why, you still have periods at this time.
Progesteroneis the first hormone that goes down first. This scenario may cause an imbalance in your estrogen to progesterone ratio, leading to a condition called estrogen dominance. As the name implies, estrogen tends to dominate more because theres less progesterone in the body.
Estrogen loves water, making your body absorbs more fluids. As a result, you become bloated, including your breasts. Estrogen also stimulates breast cells to grow. Excess fluids plus breast enlargement compress your nerves and puts on more weight, causing breast tenderness in menopause.
Chronic stressduring menopause can indirectly contribute to breast pain. Aside from muscle tension caused by high levels of cortisol, stress can further suppress progesterone . How does this exactly happen?
Are Swollen Breasts A Sign Of Pregnancy
Yes. Breasts can swell early in pregnancy. They can swell within one or two weeks of pregnancy or become tender. Swollen breasts can also occur closer to birth as the body prepares milk. Breast swelling is one of the most common early signs of pregnancy. If you suspect you are pregnant, you should either seek medical evaluation or take an over-the-counter pregnancy test.
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Causes Of Post Menopausal Breast Pain
If you experience breast pain after menopause, you may be concerned that it’s a symptom of a serious medical condition like breast cancer 25. Good news: Sore, painful or tender breasts are rarely a breast cancer symptom.
Breast pain, also known as mastalgia, is typically related to hormonal changes 2. Cyclical breast pain refers to pain that comes and goes with a woman’s menstrual cycle, according to Harvard Medical School12.
Postmenopausal women may still experience breast pain but it is considered non-cyclical, meaning it is unrelated to menstruation 2.
Non-cyclical breast pain can affect women after menopause for a variety of reasons 2. Here’s what you need to know about mastalgia after menopause.
Treatment For Breast Tenderness In Menopause
A healthy nutrition and change in lifestyle practices can help in regulating the hormonal imbalance and also in preventing symptoms of menopause including breast tenderness. Here are a few dietary tips,
- Ensure that you consume a healthy diet. Avoid processed foods, salts, high fat contents. Instead increase the intake of dietary fiber , fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, etc
- Increase the intake of foods that contain phyto-estrogens.Phyto-estrogens are estrogen like hormones found in plants, which help in complementing the bodys requirement for the estrogen hormone. Soy is a great source of phyto-estrogen and should be included in your diet
- Regular physical activity and regular exercises helps to neutralize the hormonal imbalance created due to changing reproductive cycle. An exercise for about twenty minutes about thrice a week is adequate for maintaining good health.
- Homeopathic drugs namely Pulsatilla and Sepia taken in low potency, repeated four times during the day is considered beneficial. These drugs not only relieve breast tenderness but also alleviate other symptoms associated with menopause
Life style modification and dietary changes play a crucial role in effectively managing breast tenderness, especially in women approaching their menopause. Incorporation of these life style changes is very beneficial in management of a wide range of other menopausal symptoms
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Large Breasts And Support Problems
Large, heavy breasts can stretch ligaments and tissues, which can sometimes cause breast pain and tenderness. That can also cause pain in your shoulders, back, and neck. You might notice that the pain is worse when youre physically active.
A bra that doesnt provide enough support can also cause or aggravate these symptoms.
What Can I Do To Help
Firstly. Its so important to make lifestyle changes when it comes to any of the peri/menopausal signs. We cant stress that enough. Things such as keeping hydrated, avoiding caffeine , alcohol and smoking, embracing nutrient dense foods and avoiding processed foods and refined white sugar and flour are crucial.
It may sound a bit broken record-y but one of the reasons we experience mild or severe signs of peri/menopause is our level of nutritional wealth as well as our level of stress as stress causes estrogen levels to fluctuate more.
6 Things You Can Do Now
Disclaimer: This article should never take the place of medical advice. If you are at all concerned about breast pain and/or other issues such as breast lumps, swelling or dimpling, changes in the size or shape of your breasts, nipple discharge, or chest pain please see your GP.
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When Should I Go To The Doctor For Breast Tenderness
When women hear about breast tenderness in menopause, they immediately think breast cancer. But good news is, breast soreness is rarely a symptom of breast cancer, and this is proven by theHarvard Health Publications. With that said, what are some warning signs that you need to go to your doctor?
- Severe and frequent pain with fluid discharge
- Breast pain that doesnt go away which isnt connected to your period
- Unusual symptoms, like lumps, nipple discharge, severe swelling and redness
- Orange-peel skin
- Dimples in the surrounding area of your breast
- Numbness in hands or fingers
- Chest pain
I know many women are afraid of breast cancer, but you can take part in your own assessment. A good way to do this is to practice the self-breast exam which you can learn on your own. Heres a great video that demonstrates how to do this :
Breast tenderness in menopause isnt a cause of concern. It rarely needs medical attention but always remember that you know your body more than anyone else. If you feel like something is not right, check it out the soonest!
Whats your experience on breast soreness? Tell us in the comments below. Are you on social media? Spread the word on , and !
Breast Pain During Menopause: Should You Worry
Breast pain during menopause is one of the less well-known menopause symptoms. This is because many women also experience sore breasts during premenopause when they still have regular menstrual cycles.
But as Medical News Today points out, sore breasts during the menstrual years and breast pain during menopause can arise for different reasons.
In this article, we take a look at what causes sore breasts during menopause.
breast pain is linked to changing hormone levels in a womans body
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