What is The Cause of Breast Pain?

What is the cause of breast pain?



There are various causes for pain in the breast. Women should go through self-examination of breasts on a weekly basis so that if there are any changes in shape or shape, it should be brought to the notice of the doctor. By detecting the changes at early stages, it is possible to get the best treatment. The risk of chronic sickness can be avoided. If you find any unusual changes in the breasts or pain in breasts, you should not hesitate to consult the doctor so that you can make the most of your life.


Various causes

Some of the causes that will lead to pain in the breast include fibrocystic breast disease, hormonal fluctuations, premenstrual syndrome, and pregnancy, the onset of puberty, estrogen therapy, chest wall tenderness and breastfeeding. The pain in the breast will also be caused due to injury to the breast and the use of medication for various kinds of diseases. Certain women will get pain due to infection in breasts.

Breast pain is the main concern for most women especially those residing in industrial countries. Since a lot of women have been taught that pain is equal to something serious, a few of them conclude that breast pain means they have cancer. However, breast cancer has little warning signs and pain are very rarely a symptom of cancer. The term which is medically used to refer to breast pain is mastalgia. Unfortunately, the breast pain causes are not well understood so treatments for it are not as clear. For most women, it is helpful to monitor breast pain as well as any symptoms of hormonal imbalance during their own menstrual cycle. Breast-related pain for women aged 40 and above could be a sign of perimenopause.

Essentially, the common kind of pain on the breasts is due to hormones which are related to one’s monthly cycle. Swelling of the breasts is stimulated by progesterone and estrogen during the second half of the menstrual cycle. Such cyclic breast pain happens in either both breasts or at one side more than the other. Pain is usually felt in the breast’s lateral aspect where more breast tissue is present. The pain could also differ each month but often gets worse prior to one’s period and then halts when menstruation arrives.

Breast-related pain could also be made worse by certain foods and medications. For one, caffeine has methylxanthine which causes the dilation of blood vessels. This swelling could then cause breast distention and pain. Also, diets which are rich in salt could increase swelling and cause the body to retain fluid thus putting a strain on breast tissue.


Presence of lump

The pain in breast might be caused with or without the presence of a lump. The conditions which will lead to pain in breasts include cysts, breast cancer, and fibrocystic changes. Most of the lumps that are found in the breast regions are not harmful. Hence, when you find a lump in the breast region, you should not be frightened. If there is pain along with the lump in the breast, you should get immediate medical attention. Even though it is possible to treat certain kinds of lumps in the breast, you should take care to consult the doctor so that you can really make the most from your health.

Evidence also shows that fatty foods, specifically animal fats, cause pain. The reason is not as definitive but it might have to do with the hormones of animals, the foods they consume and the process of how fat is broken down in their bodies. Similarly, dairy products are also considered as the cause of painful breasts.

Iodine deficiency might also be a cause for breast-related pain. When the body lacks iodine, breast tissue is more sensitive to any type of estrogenic stimulation. Pills which contain hormones, be it birth control pills or HRT (hormone replacement therapy), could also be the reason for breast pain. Take note that antidepressants, psychiatric medications or heart medicines, as well as cholesterol-lowering medications, could cause changes in the breasts.

The remedy for breast-related pain could be had by balancing the hormones in the body. Dietary changes are a must as well as dietary supplements such as Vitamin E, B, and omega-3. Reducing stress and engaging in exercise is highly recommended.

Fibrocystic breast disease is another cause of breast pain. A 2004 study showed that after 3 months of iodine supplementation more than 50% of the 6.0 mg/day treatment group recorded a clinically significant reduction in overall pain.


Doctor Consultation

You should consult the doctor if you cannot perform your day-to-day tasks due to pain in the breast. If there is any abnormal discharge from the nipples, it should be brought to the notice of the doctor. If there is prolonged and unexplained cause for the pain it is a fit case to visit the doctor.

In addition to pain, you might experience swelling, redness, tender lump and changes in the skin condition, you should consult the doctor. The treatment should be started at the earliest in breastfeeding mothers so that the health of babies will not be affected.


Diagnosis and treatment

In order to assess the pain in the breast, the doctor will conduct a physical examination. In addition to the areas of the breasts, underarms will also be examined. If a lump is found in the breast, you should go for physical examination after 2 or 3 weeks as advised by the doctor.

An ideal time to get a medical checkup is 7 to 9 days before the onset of periods. If there is no mass or lump in the breast, other kinds of tests will not be conducted. After evaluating the exact cause of pain in the breast, suitable treatment will be initiated. Changes in diet and lifestyle will be suggested so that there will not be further complications. In addition to the intake of vitamin supplements, certain other foods are slashed which include sodium and coffee.

Source: Breast J. 2004 Jul-Aug; 10(4):328-36.

What is The Cause of Breast Pain, Last Update: 8/5/2017

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