Breast soreness occurs when the tissue in the breast responds to hormones. The most common hormonal breast soreness comes from an increase in the level of oestrogen before a period. This causes the milk ducts and glands to swell trapping fluid in the breast. Many women have tenderness or pain in the lead, up to a period and sometimes through it.
Some women experience regular breast soreness at other stages of the menstrual cycle. Hormonal breast soreness usually stops when a woman’s menstrual cycle stops. Hormonal breast soreness is normal but not very severe. However, if the pain lasts for more than a week at the same time of the period or stops a woman from her everyday activities is not considered to be normal. It is often linked with Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
A Guide for Sore Breast Before a Period
Common Causes of breast soreness
The different causes of breast soreness apart from hormonal changes are listed below:
- Wearing an unfitting or unsupportive bra.
- Having a high fat diet.
- Consuming a lot of caffeine or energy drinks.
- Weight gain ( cause breasts to get heavier).
- Injury to the breast.
- Taking medicine or contraceptive pills that reduce cholesterol.
- Breast cysts or fibro adenomas.
- Physical activity that puts strain on the chest, shoulder such as weight lifting.
- Conditions affecting the chest walls and ribs.
Symptoms of breast soreness
The breast tissue may have a dense cobblestone feel to the fingers. This feel is more in the outer areas such as armpits. There may also be a dull, heavy pain along with tenderness. Certain symptoms of breast soreness experienced by women are listed below:
- The pain comes cyclically just as the menstrual cycle.
- The breasts may become tender.
- The breasts may swell.
- The pain becomes intense a few days before the period begins.
- Both the breasts are affected.
Diagnosis of breast soreness
Certain symptoms will be taken into consideration by the doctor to diagnose breast soreness. Some are mentioned below:
- Whether there is any obvious cause for the pain such as an injury or scar.
- History of the pain.
- When, where and how the pain is felt.
- The result of a physical examination such as ultrasound, mammograms or other tests.
- Whether the woman is still having periods or taking HRT.
Tips to reduce breast soreness
The suggestions mentioned below may take some time to work and show results, but they will:
- Wearing a supportive, well fitted bra.
- Eating a low fat diet.
- Cutting down on caffeine (coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks).
- Taking evening Primrose oil (not for those having epilepsy) (prescribed).
- Taking group B vitamins.
- Cutting down on smoking and alcohol.
- Using hot pack or taking a hot shower.
- Applying ice packs on the breast.
- Applying anti inflammatory gels and creams to the sore area.
Remedies for breast soreness
Cutting down on salt, sugar, caffeine ( tea, coffee, energy drinks) and dairy may help. Wearing a supportive bra during this time may bring some relief. One may also take some prescribed pain relief medicines. Regular exercise may also help in reducing menstrual breast pain such as biking or walking. Running will increase the pain and is therefore advised to avoid.
Treatment to reduce breast soreness
Treatment or check up should be done if a woman faces the symptoms mentioned below:
- Have new, unusual changing lumps in breast tissue.
- Have one sided lumps in breast tissue.
- Do not know how to perform breast self examination.
- Have a bloody or brown discharge from the nipple.
- Have symptoms interfering with the ability to sleep and diet and exercise has not helped.
- Are a woman of 40 years and above and have never had a screening mammogram.
The doctor may ask for the medical history of the patient and then do a thorough physical examination to check for breast lump and note the quality of the lump. A mammogram or breast ultrasound may be done to find any abnormalities in the breast. If not clear a breast biopsy may also be done. Based on the reports the doctor may prescribe certain medicines and injections.
Breast soreness is a common happening in woman at one point of their life. It is a normal change and may subside with time and proper care. However one must not neglect or delay if any severe change or abnormality is sensed which does not conform to the symptoms of breast soreness (mentioned above). Proper and thorough check up and medication is advised to avoid greater life risks in the future.