At some point in their lives, many women will experience tender and sore breasts. Sore breasts can be caused by various reasons. The major ones, however, involve hormones.
Tender or sore breast is characterized by the feeling of soreness when the breast is touched. In addition, the breast can also feel heavier and fuller. In most cases, this is an indication of pregnancy. However, it can also be caused by other conditions.
Am I Pregnant or Not?
If you are already near your menstrual cycle, it is expected that you will experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
PMS is typically associated with breast engorgement, breast pain, and other symptoms that are similar to the symptoms experienced in early pregnancy. The symptoms suggest that you have ovulated. In the case of pregnancy, however, the symptoms occur because of the high levels of progesterone in the body.
In some occasion, some women continue to feel pain within their menstrual phase and even after their period. In such case, this does not suggest pregnancy as they have had their period.
There are several other reasons that can cause breast pain after a menstrual period. Knowing and understanding these reasons can help you achieve peace of mind and choose the proper intervention for this condition.
Breast Soreness – What Is It?
Breast pain or soreness is medically known as mastodynia or mastalgia. This is a symptom that is naturally associated with pre-menstruation.
This symptom is a common cause for concern among many women as this is often suspected as a symptom of cancer. However, this is actually rare for such type of condition.
The pain may be negligible at times. However, it can also become incapacitating.
Breast pain that is related to pregnancy, weaning, and lactation is not categorized under mastalgia. Also, there are two types of mastalgia, which are the cyclical mastalgia and the non-cyclical mastalgia.
Cyclical versus Non-cyclical Breast Pain
The cyclical breast pain is related to the changing hormone levels in the body during the menstrual cycle. Despite this, however, the exact cause of this type of breast pain is unknown.
The hormonal changes in a woman’s body can make the breast tissue more sensitive, which causes the painful sensation.
Non-cyclical breast pain, on the other hand, is not associated with the menstrual cycle. This is often described as a continuous painful sensation or a pain that comes and goes. This type of breast pain can affect before and even after a woman experience menopause.
While it is often unclear what causes this type of breast pain, this is thought to be related to benign breast conditions, injury to the breasts, previous breast surgical procedures, larger than normal breasts and drug treatments.
The pain felt can affect one or both breasts. It can also affect the entire breast or certain parts of the breast. In addition, the pain may be felt as a stabbing pain, burning or tightness.
Considerations and Possible Causes of Sore Breasts
To some extent, breast tenderness or soreness is normal. These are the possible causes of breast pain:
1. Hormonal Change
The pain or discomfort may be caused by changes in the hormone levels in the body due to premenstrual syndrome, menstruation, pregnancy, puberty, and menopause.
For those women who just recently delivered a baby, breast pain may be related to increasing milk supply and breast engorgement. Breastfeeding may also cause breast pain.
2. Fibrocystic Breast Changes
Another possible cause of breast pain is fibrocystic changes in the breast. The fibrocystic breast tissue may contain lumps that become tenderer before a woman’s menstruation.
This is a benign or noncancerous condition in which the breasts will feel lumpy. While this condition may not be harmful, this can be very uncomfortable for some women.
3. Certain Medications
There are certain medications that can cause breast pain. For instance, taking medications like Anadrol, diuretics, Chlorpromazine, methyldopa, spironolactone, and digitalis preparations can cause painful or tender breasts.
4. Previous Breast Traumas or Surgery
Surgery or trauma to the breast can cause breast soreness or pain. If you experienced breast trauma or have undergone breast surgery in the past, this may be the cause of sore breasts after a period.
5. Radiating Pain from the Chest Wall
Breast pain may also be caused by pain that is radiating from the chest wall right under the breast rather than the breast itself. In some cases, this can be caused by bony or muscular problems of the chest wall.
One example would be the condition known as costochondritis. This condition is characterized by the inflammation of the joints of the chest wall.
Via Nice Breastfeeding Blog
Mastitis is a condition wherein the breast tissues become painfully inflamed. This condition generally affects one breast at a time. In some cases, this may be what is causing breast soreness.
Mastitis that is not caused by an infection may be caused by milk in the breasts or milk stasis, which is common among nursing mothers. This condition, along with damaged or cracked nipples, can complicate and further cause breast infection.
Fatigue and stress of being a first-time mother can increase the risk of developing mastitis.
Shingle is a viral infection which causes a painful rash. This can cause breast pain if its distinct symptom, which is the rash, develops on your breast.
While the rash may appear as a single stripe of blisters on the left or right side of your body, it can still occur on any part of the body.
Treatment Options for Sore Breasts
Treatment is not indicated if the symptoms are mild. However, if the pain becomes severe, there are several treatment options that you can follow.
- Ensure Proper Support. Wearing well-supporting bras can help relieve breast pain. It is ideal to avoid underwire bras. Instead, you can wear sports bra especially when you are exercising.
- Pain Medications. Pain medications like ibuprofen and paracetamol help relieve breast pain. These medications may be taken regularly on those days when the breasts are sore.
- Topical Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). You can also use topical or rub-on NSAIDs to relieve breast pain, especially cyclical breast pain.
Check Your Medications. If you are taking contraceptive pills or hormone replacement therapy, the pain can worsen. If this is the case, you should discuss changing your medications with your primary health care provider.
When to Consult Your Doctor
If the notice that the pain is not relieved or that it increases, you should consult your health care provider right away. In addition, you should also call your doctor if you experience the following:
Breast pain, to some extent, is normal. However, this symptom is something that women should be mindful, especially if the pain will not go away or that it becomes intense.
Sore breasts after period also happen but this does not necessarily indicate a pregnancy. This can be caused by hormonal changes in the body, certain medications, or previous breast trauma.
With proper interventions, breast pain before and after a menstrual period can be relieved.