When To See A Healthcare Provider
Its important to see your healthcare provider for any new breast or nipple pain. While most cases of breast pain are easily managed, you would not want to delay a diagnosis of breast cancer or a serious non-breast-related cause like a heart condition.
Its true that the risk for breast cancer increases with age and that most cases are diagnosed after age 50. But breast pain is rarely a symptom of cancer, particularly if its your only symptom.
Other warning signs of breast cancer may include:
- Thickening or lump in your breast or under the arm
- Pitting of the skin, giving it an orange peel look
- Nipple discharge
- Swelling, redness
- Change in size or shape of your breast
Your healthcare provider can help determine if your breast soreness is hormonal or if another condition might be causing your symptoms.
Contact Your Doctor If You Experience Pain Along With Any Of The Below Symptoms
- Bloody or clear discharge from your nipple
- A new lump with the onset of the pain lump does not go away after your menstrual period
- Persistent, unexplained breast pain
- Signs of a breast infection, including local redness, pus, or fever
- Redness of the skin of the breast that may appear as a rash, with dilated pores, and possibly skin thickening.
If you have concerns in regards to breast pain and tenderness, it is always best to consult with your healthcare provider. At OB-GYN Womens Centre of Lakewood Ranch, we are a team of passionate healthcare professionals. We are here to help you at any stage of your life.
Tips To Prevent Or Ease Breast Pain
If your breast pain is clearly cyclic, or if youve already seen your doctor and ruled out a serious condition, here are eight ways to help manage the pain or to keep from making it worse:
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How Is Breast Pain Treated
Since cyclic breast pain is a regular part of your menstrual cycle, it doesnt require as much treatment. There are some pain-relieving medications you can take to help with your symptoms if the pain is becoming unmanageable, including:
If your breast pain is even more severe, your doctor may suggest Danazol or Tamoxifen, which are two prescription medications. But these two medications also have certain side effects, which is why its important to talk with your doctor before taking them, to determine whether it will be worth it for your specific case.
There are also a few other treatment methods that you can use to help relieve your pain, including:
- Wearing a well-fitting, supportive bra.
- Taking Vitamin E supplements and other multivitamins.
- Eliminating caffeine from your diet.
- Avoiding tobacco products.
- Using evening primrose oil.
- Applying heat to the most painful area on your breast, being sure to protect your skin.
- Taking magnesium supplements. If you take these during your menstrual cycle, roughly two weeks before your period, it can help relieve some of your symptoms.
- Applying over-the-counter trolamine salicylate cream to ease aches and pains.
- Relaxation and complementary therapy.
Your healthcare provider may suggest using some of the same medications to treat the symptoms of noncyclic breast pain. However, if they can find the underlying cause of your pain , they can remove it and relieve your symptoms.
Coping With Breast Pain
Breast pain can be very distressing, and many women worry that they may have breast cancer. In most cases breast pain will be the result of normal changes in the breasts.
Even though you may feel reassured that your breast pain is normal and you dont have breast cancer, the pain often remains. This can be upsetting, especially if your specialist cant tell you the exact cause of your breast pain.
Women affected by breast pain may feel many different emotions, including fear, frustration or helplessness. Although understanding more about your breast pain wont cure it, it may help you to get back some control over your life.
Having severe, long-lasting breast pain can sometimes affect a womans daily activities which may cause anxiety and, for some, depression. However, this isnt the case for most women and their pain can be helped or managed.
Having breast pain doesnt increase your risk of breast cancer. However, its still important to be breast aware and go back to your GP if the pain increases or changes, or you notice any other changes in your breasts.
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Get Help For Breast Tenderness
If your breast tenderness persists, then it is time to dig deeper and find your root cause. Meeting with a licensed practitioner can not only help you eliminate your pain, it can also ensure youre getting the most individualized treatment.
Breast tenderness can be treated with natural, effective solutions. You just need to know the right treatments for your type of breast pain. One important step you can take today is to begin tracking your symptoms. This can help your doctor figure out the cause and treatment of your pain.
Start becoming your own hormone detective by keeping a journal of your pain. Take note when you start feeling the tenderness:
- Where is it?
- How long does it last?
- How severe is it on a scale of 1-10?
- Do you have any other symptoms?
- When is your period?
- Do you have any skin changes?
- How does the pain impact your life?
What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Pain
Your symptoms will differ depending on whether youre suffering from cyclic or noncyclic breast pain. During cyclic breast pain, your breasts will likely feel:
The severity of the pain can be different for everyone, and for some, it may spread to your armpit and shoulders too. The symptoms of noncyclic breast pain are a little different, and are as follows:
- The pain will be limited to one specific area in your breast.
- A sharper, more acute pain.
- A burning, stabbing sensation in that one area.
These symptoms of noncyclic breast pain may come and go over time, or remain for a longer period.
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Why Do My Breasts Hurt
Breast pain is very common in women of all ages.
Having painful, sore or tender breasts can cause a lot of anxiety. But on its own, pain in the breasts isn’t usually a sign of breast cancer.
Many women experience breast pain as part of their normal menstrual cycle . This is called cyclical breast pain.
Lasting pain in the breast thats not related to periods is known as non-cyclical breast pain.
Sometimes pain that feels as though it’s in the breast is coming from somewhere else, such as a pulled muscle in the chest. This is known as chest wall pain.
How Is Breast Pain Diagnosed
Before performing a breast exam, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms, how long youve been experiencing them and the severity and frequency of your pain. During the breast exam, they’ll examine your breasts for any possible lumps. They may also ask you to lean forward during the exam to assess whether the pain is coming from your breast or from inside your chest. Your doctor may also order a mammogram or an ultrasound, but whether or not you need either of these imaging tests will depend on a few different factors, including:
- Your specific type of pain.
- The findings from the breast exam.
- Your age.
- The length of time between your last breast-imaging procedure.
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Top 7 Reasons Your Breasts Hurt
Breast pain, medically known as mastalgia, is a common problem for those born female causing sore, tender, or lumpy breasts. Its painful and scary, breast cancer is a real and frightening thing, but you should know breast cancer is rarely the cause of breast tenderness.
There are two types of breast pain, cyclic and noncyclic. Cyclic is the most common caused by normal monthly changes in your hormones. This pain usually occurs in both breasts and can radiate to the armpits and arms. Its almost painful just before menstruation and ends with it, it occurs more in younger women.
Noncyclic breast pain is common in women 30-50 years old. It usually occurs in one breast in one particular area. The pain can be sharp and burning and can be caused by a fibroadenoma or a cyst.
Here are the causes behind painful breasts:
Hormonal changes related to menstruationThe menstrual cycle is directly linked to changes in reproductive hormones. Different times in your cycle can cause your breasts to be painful, sore, and tender. The fluctuation in hormones leading to a lack of estrogen leads to breast pain. Stress can affect your hormones, and the hormonal fluctuations caused by stress can lead to breast pain.
Fatty acid imbalanceImbalances of fatty acids within cells is likely to affect breast tissue and circulation of hormones. You can use primrose oil, a good source of fatty acids, it helps reduce breast tissue sensitivity to hormones by compensating the loss of fatty acids.
Stress And Living With Cancer
There’s an old joke that the only people who have no stress are those who live in graveyards. But stress is a normal part of life to which we all respond differently, depending on our personalities, backgrounds, and situations. While stress can provide great motivation for some people, it can cause health problems such as headaches, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, dental problems, and ulcers for others.
Scientists aren’t completely convinced that stress causes cancer, but it can certainly lessen your quality of life.
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When To See A Doctor
If you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor.
- You have pain that is severe or lasts more than a few days.
- Tenderness or swelling in just one breast.
- Breast changes persist after your period
- You have one large, fluid-filled cyst that feels like a soft doughnut under your skin. It also may have a nipple discharge from the center .
Potential Reason No 1 For Breast Pain: Cyclical Breast Pain
One of the most common causes of breast pain is changes in your hormone levels. Most hormone-related breast pain is tied to a womans menstrual cycle. This is cyclical mastalgia, or cyclical breast pain.
Some of the different hormone-related causes of cyclical breast pain include:
- Premenstrual syndrome and menstrual cycle
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Can Stress Cause Breast Cancer To Recur Or Spread
While we’re not sure where we are at with cancer initiation, it appears that stress is a bad idea for people who have had breast cancer.
Researchers have looked at this from several angles, albeit mostly in cells in a dish or in rodents thus far.
From a biological standpoint it would make sense that stress could stimulate breast cancer to grow or spread. When we are stressed we release a hormone called norepinephrine, one of our “stress hormones.” Norepinephrine in turn may stimulate both the formation of new blood vessels by cancers and hasten metastasis . Other studies looking at something called “telomerase activity” also suggest that there could be a biological basis behind stress facilitating the recurrence or spread of cancer.
Does this translate to living creatures? For mice who were placed in a simulated stressful environment, their tumors were more likely to spread.
Studies in humans also seem to point a naughty finger at stress, though it’s more difficult to separate out confounding factors. In a fairly large study, women with some types of breast cancer lived longer if they participated in mindfulness stress reduction activities.
As a final note, we know that stress can cause insomnia. We’ve also learned that insomnia can be dangerous for people who have had cancer, having been associated with lower survival rates for women with some types of breast cancer.
Could It Be Complications From Breast Implants
Sometimes there can be complications from having breast implants whether made of silicone or saline. One of the most common causes of pain after any breast augmentation surgery is capsular contracture when scar tissue forms tightly around the implants. If an implant has ruptured, that may also be the cause of your pain. Be sure to bring up your concerns with your doctor.
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Can Stress Cause Breast Cancer
“You can’t tell me I didn’t have breakup cancer,” said Katherine Russell Rich in her book The Red Devil. She found a breast lump right after her divorce and was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. Elizabeth Edwards was helping her husband campaign for Vice President when she found her breast lump. You may know somebody with a similar story: after a period of chronic stress or significant loss, they found a lump and were diagnosed with cancer.
It may seem natural to associate negative emotions with breast cancer, but researchers are not sure if, or why, your body may be more vulnerable to cancer due to stress. And, not everybody who has stress gets sick. Some people seem to be able to de-stress or fight back, without risking their health.
In 2008, a group of Israeli scientists studied a group of women under 45 years old. They found that young women who had endured two or more traumatic life events had a higher than average rate of depression and greater vulnerability to breast cancer. The younger a woman was when a crisis hit, the greater their risk for cancer.
Likewise, a Scandinavian study found an increased risk of breast cancer among women who perceived their lives to be more stressful.
Stress, Your Immune System, and Stress Hormones
It’s important to understand that stress rarely happens in isolation, and perhaps some of the things people do when stressed play a role. For example, some people eat more or drink more, or smoke when stressed.
Can Emotional Stress Cause Breast Pain
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Are There Different Types Of Breast Pain
There are two distinct types of breast pain, which are:
- Cyclic breast pain. This type of breast pain lines up with your menstrual cycle. Because of that, its more common in 20-to-50-year-old women and its particularly common in women who are on the younger end of that range. You may have breast pain in one breast or both, and it typically occurs due to natural hormonal shifts. Roughly a week before your period, you may start to feel a little pain in the upper, outer parts of your breasts. Cyclic breast pain goes away naturally once you get your period, but returns during your next menstrual cycle. Most women dont experience this type of breast pain after menopause.
- Noncyclic breast pain. This type of breast pain has nothing to do with your menstrual cycle, and is more common in 40-to-50-year-old women.
What Are The Treatments For Cyclical Breast Pain
Treatment for cyclical breast pain will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Treatments vary greatly and may include the following:
Not having caffeine
Tamoxifen, an estrogen blocker
Supplemental hormones and hormone blockers may have side effects. In addition, the risks and benefits of such treatment should be carefully discussed with your healthcare provider.
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Have You Recently Experienced An Injury
We can injure any part of our bodies, breasts are not excluded. Have you experienced an accident or hurt yourself playing a sport? Have you recently had breast surgery? If you feel a sharp, shooting pain at the time of injury. Tenderness or pain may linger for a few days up to several weeks after trauma was presented. See your doctor if the pain persists or if you have any of the following:
- Severe swelling
- Found a lump in the breast
- Redness and warmth, which could indicate an infection
- A bruise on your breast that doesnt seem to go away
Sore Breasts And Menopause
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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