Breast pain is experienced by 70% of women during their lifetime. While most women experience this discomfort during pregnancy or when they’re pre-menstrual, some will experience it during menopause or during the stage of peri-menopause when the body is transitioning to menopause.
In medical terms, breast pain is known as mastalgia or mammalgia and it’s defined as discomfort, tenderness, or pain in one or both of the breasts. This pain can be cyclical, associated with hormonal changes, or non-cyclical, which is non-hormone related. Most women who experience breast pain associated with menopause have cyclical pain, as it’s brought on during the hormonal changes of pre- or perimenopause.
Cause of Breast Pain During Menopause
Menopause causes hormonal fluctuations as a result of the changing levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body. These fluctuations are the cause of breast pain related to menopause. Pain should subside once your periods stop and your body stops the production of estrogen.
Breast pain during menopause has several possible symptoms, including tenderness, swelling, tightness, soreness, burning, aching, and dullness of the breast. These symptoms can be constant or come and go.
While you may not be able to completely eliminate your breast pain, there are some remedies you can try to help alleviate your symptoms.
Diet – Maintaining a healthy diet with plenty of vitamins B and E, as well as fiber, can help your body balance the levels of estrogen causing some of your symptoms.
Eliminating Caffeine – Stimulants such as caffeine dilate your blood vessels, which lead to swelling and pain.
Properly Fitting Bra – Making sure that your bra is properly fitted for your body will help alleviate pain caused by bras that are too constricting.
Home Remedies – Simple remedies, such as heating pads, warm showers, and ice packs can help with the pain and discomfort experienced with mammalgia. Alternating between heat and cool can have a profound effect on the pain you may be experiencing.
Natural Remedies – Primrose oil can help reduce inflammation due to being rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Applying the oil topically can alleviate breast pain and swelling. The oil can also be consumed orally by placing several drops in vegetable oil caps found at any health food store.
Alternative Medicines – Herbal remedies can be an effective treatment for some women. Two herbs that are helpful are Phytoestrogen and non-estrogenic herbs. These herbs replace the missing or lowering estrogen and balance your overall hormone levels.
Hormone Replacement Therapy – In severe cases, natural progesterone can help with painful breasts by helping your body balance its hormone fluctuations. HRT can be difficult to maintain at a tolerable level, so you will need to be under close supervision by your doctor to make sure your levels are reacting appropriately.
Breast pain associated with menopause should go away when your periods stop and the levels of estrogen your body is producing have dropped. If your pain doesn’t go away by then or if it becomes unbearable, you should seek a doctor and get examined, as in some rare cases breast pain can be caused by more serious health conditions.