Breast pain is a common experience among most women, which can usually be treated easily, but sometimes it may indicate a more serious condition. In this article, Nadine Woods, who has over 12 years of experience in postpartum breast health, discusses the common causes of breast pain, their treatments, and when to seek medical attention.
1. Hormonal fluctuations can cause breast soreness.
The primary reason for breast pain in women is hormonal fluctuations. The breasts may become sore up to 10 days before the menstrual cycle begins and stop hurting after it starts. The increase in estrogen and progesterone just before the period causes breast swelling, leading to tenderness. Breast tenderness is also a common early sign of pregnancy and can occur during menopause. To reduce the soreness, one can eliminate caffeine, eat a low-fat diet, reduce salt intake, avoid smoking, take over-the-counter pain relievers, or consult a doctor about switching birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy medications.
2. Breast injury can cause pain.
Breasts can get injured like any other part of the body due to an accident, sports activity, or surgery. Typically, there is sharp, shooting pain at the time of injury, and tenderness can last for a few days up to several weeks. However, if the pain persists or any of the following signs appear, one should see a doctor:
Lump in the breast
Redness and warmth, which may indicate an infection
Bruise on the breast that doesn't go away
3. Your breasts hurt due to an unsupportive bra.
An ill-fitting bra will definitely cause breast pain. Without proper support, normal movements will aggravate breast tissues becoming overstretched and painful by the end of the day. The result is achy, sore breasts. This may be especially noticeable during exercise. Make sure your bra is the correct size and provides good support.
If you suffer from lack of support, the Alexander Bralette is the perfect innovative bra with patented features that adapt to your changing breast size. It reduces back pain, red shoulder marks, underwire pinching and under boob sweat.
Breast infections, also known as mastitis, are more common in breastfeeding women, but they can occur in other women as well. Symptoms of a breast infection in one breast include pain, redness, and swelling, accompanied by a fever. It is crucial to seek medical attention if you suspect a breast infection because an untreated infection can turn into an abscess that may require draining.
If you think you may have a breast infection, it's important to get checked out by your doctor. An untreated infection can turn into an abscess that will need to be drained.
5. Breastfeeding is causing breast tenderness.
Breastfeeding can sometimes be the source of breast pain. Some of the things you can experience while nursing include:
Painful nipples from an improper latch (the way a baby latches on to suck)
Tingling sensation during letdown (when the milk starts to flow to the baby)
Nipple soreness due to being bitten or having dry, cracked skin or an infection
If you have pain while breastfeeding, it’s best to talk to your doctor or a lactation consultant. They can help you troubleshoot the problem while maintaining your milk supply.
Hear from one mother’s challenges and triumphs on her breastfeeding journey and life lessons on how to be empowered during yours.
There still is this stigma around breastfeeding. Maybe it’s because breasts have been over sexualized and people are not used to the idea that they are actually on our bodies for the purpose of supplying milk.
- Anquinette Hill on her view of breasts and breastfeeding