Breast tenderness can be caused my a number of factors. This article addresses some of those factors as well as remedies to help relieve the pain.
Causes of breast tenderness
Some causes for sore breasts are:
1. PMS. Many women suffer from sore breasts when suffering from pre-menstrual syndrome, often starting a full week before the period begins. Some women find relief once their period starts, other women continue to suffer pain throughout their menstrual cycle.
2. Fibrocystic breast disease.
3. Hormone Therapy. This is generally estrogen therapy given to women going through menopause.
4. The birth control pill.Some women find that birth control relieves their breast tenderness, for some women it is worse. Generally the birth control is prescribed to help the symptoms of breast tenderness associated with fibrocystic breast disease. If you are on birth control and have breast tenderness, check with your doctor to see if there is a different pill you can take.
5. Pregnancy. It is common for women to experience intense breast tenderness and swelling in pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. When seeking relief, stick with the more natural remedies, but check with your doctor before taking any pain killers.
6. Breastfeeding. The majority of women who begin breastfeeding experience anything from discomfort to extreme pain. This pain is generally associated with the early stages of breast feeding and is usually correlated with the baby learning how to latch or with milk duct infection, known as mastitis. Read Treating pain from breastfeeding for more information.
There are a few things you can do to relive the discomfort of tenderness and swelling of the breasts.
- Wear good breast support. Make sure to wear a good bra with support. Not wearing a bra can make breast tenderness worse, regardless of breast size. This is especially important during exercise. Bras/support will help to make breasts feel contained, helping to minimize soreness.
- Exercise. Sometimes just getting outside and moving around can help to relieve breast pain. Making exercise a regular part of your daily regimen, can help to relieve many symptoms of PMS.
- Hot or cold treatments. Some women feel better icing their breasts to relieve the pain. Others say heat and hot pads make a difference. Try them out and see which is best for you.
- Ibuprofen. Taking a pain reliever right before your period can make a difference in relieving cramps, breast pain and swelling. However, it is not recommended to take a pain reliever regularly, so limit it to key times of the month. Note, that ibuprofen should not be taken if you are pregnant.
- Change hormones.Check with your doctor about changing your birth control pill or your hormone replacement therapy if this applies to your situation.
- Visualization and breath-work. Imagining your breasts in a weightless state, in warm gentle heat or something like that helps many women minimize the breast pain. Deep breath work can help too.
Diet and breast tenderness
There is no doubt that diet makes a difference for breast pain. Some foods are known to trigger pain for some women and not others. Review this list of key suspects, and try eliminating one at a time to see if your symptoms improve.
- Salt. Too much salt and sodium is known to make breast tenderness worse. This leads to additional water-retention and swelling which then leads to additional breast pain. Try to eliminate high sodium foods from your diet at least a week before your cycle begins.
- Fat. Studies have shown that women who limit high fat foods in their diet have a serious decrease in breast pain. Eliminating heavy fats and animal products can lend to greater overall health which should help to minimize all PMS symptoms.
- Sugar. For many people sugar contributes to breast tenderness and to the 'ropey' feel that breasts often get the week before menstruation begins.
- Caffeine. Many women complain that caffeine can make breast tenderness worse. In fact, caffeine generally contributes to breast lumpiness at any time of the month. It is especially recommended to avoid caffeine all month round if you have lumpy breasts, and for the week leading up to your period if you only have breast pain.
- Move excess fluid from the body. It is important to drink lots of water to help remove the excess fluid from your body. And it is also helpful to take an natural diuretic to help the body flush excess water out.
- Add B, E and A vitamins. Studies suggest that taking a multi can help with PMS symptoms and thus breast tenderness. There is a likely a link between the intake of the B-6 vitamin and body's ability to metabolize estrogen.
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