Women are all too familiar with the feeling of sore, painful breasts that make it difficult for them to go about their day. No bra, medicines, or sleeping positions can come close to alleviating the pain. But, is it something you should be concerned about? Here are 6 reasons why your “girls” are in pain.
1. You’re Going Through PMS
PMS comes with a whirlwind of emotions, mood swings, cramps…and breast pain. Pain accompanies tenderness during PMS and usually occurs during the second half of the menstrual cycle. This pain is usually dull and might come and go. At this time, your breast might feel bumpy or dense.
Hormone changes during PMS might make your breasts swell as well. Things that might be contributing to these symptoms include genetics, a high-fat diet, and too much caffeine.1
2. You Don’t Have Enough Support
If you’ve heavy breasts, then chances are your bra isn’t giving them enough support. This is most likely because the weight stretches the ligaments and tissues in the breasts, causing pain in not just your girls but also your back and neck. It’s important to find the right size and type of bra for your breasts. Also, if you don’t have adequate support during workouts, the pain might get worse.2
3. You’re Working Out Too Hard
If you’re a gym-freak, then there’s a chance that you push yourself a little too hard. Lifting causes strain in the pectoralis major muscle, which is close to the breast. Any pain in this muscle might feel like it’s coming from the breast.3
Furthermore, studies show that excessive exercise and running might also be a cause of breast pain. So, if you think you might have gone too hard at the gym and caused your breasts to feel tender and painful, switch things up a little for a change.4
4. You Have Fibrocystic Breast Disease
If you’ve been diagnosed with fibrocystic breast disease, then don’t be too surprised at the onset of breast pain during and when nearing your menstrual cycle. Although the cause of this disease isn’t known, hormones are the prime suspects.
When you have fibrocystic breast disease, you will feel a lump in your breast that moves around when you poke it. Pain in your breasts might get worse as you get closer to your menstrual period. You might even feel discomfort under your arms. If you suspect that you might have this condition, you should see a medical professional immediately.5
5. You Have An Infection
While this is not too common, an infection of the breasts might also cause a lot of pain. This infection is called mastitis and it is common in lactating women. It could be caused due to blocked milk ducts or a bacterial infection. The former causes milk to pool up in the breast and cause inflammation. Such an infection can also be caused by a cracked nipple, which allows bacteria to enter. Mastitis can further cause breast swelling, redness, and tenderness.6
6. You Drink Too Much Caffeine
We’ve come to a full circle with this last point. Caffeine might aggravate the symptoms of PMS. In turn, it might lead to an increase in breast pain. Studies show that patients with fibrocystic breast disease who cut down on caffeine noticed a significant reduction in breast pain. So, try and switch your cup of latte with a juice or plain old water instead if you suffer from breast pain.7
Other causes of breast pain include injuries, certain medications, arthritis, and a connective tissue disease. Sometimes, breast pain might seem like a precursor to cancer. However, the chances of this are extremely slim, almost down to 2–7%.8 If you regularly suffer from breast pain, which seems serious to you, it might be a good idea to get yourself checked by a medical professional.
|↑1||Premenstrual breast changes. US National Library Of Medicine.|
|↑2, ↑3, ↑8||Breast pain: Not just a premenopausal complaint. Harvard Medical School.|
|↑4||Brown, Nicola, Jennifer White, Amanda Brasher, and Joanna Scurr. “The experience of breast pain (mastalgia) in female runners of the 2012 London Marathon and its effect on exercise behaviour.” Br J Sports Med 48, no. 4 (2014): 320-325.|
|↑5||Fibrocystic breast disease. US National Library Of Medicine.|
|↑6||World Health Organization. “Infant and young child feeding: model chapter for textbooks for medical students and allied health professionals.” Infant and young child feeding: model chapter for textbooks for medical students and allied health professionals. (2009).|
|↑7||Russell, Linda C. “Caffeine restriction as initial treatment for breast pain.” The Nurse Practitioner 14, no. 2 (1989): 36-40.|