PAINFUL BREASTS? OR TENDERNESS OF THE BREAST? WONDERING WHAT WOULD BE THE CAUSE?
Most women experience painful breasts at some time in their lives. For some women, painful and tender breasts occur fairly regularly, for example, just before their periods.
Naturally, the biggest fear for many women is that breast pain or tenderness or any other kind of discomfort may be breast cancer. While you should be sensible and go see a doctor for painful breasts, breast cancer symptoms do not often include painful breasts. Even if you feel a lump and feel pain, that might be mastitis (swelling or hardening of the breast) or a cyst. However if you feel a lump and it's hard and does not seem to move, or you see skin that looks like orange peel, this might be a symptom of breast cancer and you should see advice straight away.
ARE YOUR BREASTS TENDER OR PAINFUL BEFORE YOUR PERIOD?
Breast discomfort without any lumps in the breast tissue is quite common. Some women experience this before each period. It's known as premenstraual mastitis. It is almost always felt on both breasts and tends to ocur in the week before your period begins. This is caused by an increase in female sex hormones which in turn leads to fluid retention. It helps to avoid caffeine such as coffee, tea and coke. There has been some evidence that evening primrose oil can help.
ARE YOU BREAST FEEDING?
When you are breast feeding, breasts can become engorged or swollen and the tissues may be congested. Treatment for painful breasts due to breast-feeding include supportive bras and expressing the milk out.
ARE YOU PREGNANT?
If you are pregnant, your body might be telling you to get ready for breast feeding. So as above, milk ducts are begining to develop causing engorgement and congested or distended tissue.
ARE YOU DRINKING TOO MUCH ALCOHOL?
If you're drinking tooo much, you might have liver damage which means there could be too much oestrogen in your body. Male breast pain is often a symptom of this, it's a condition called gynaecomastia.
ARE YOU TAKING MEDICATION?
Some drugs have side effects including the swelling and discomfort of breast tissue leading to tender breasts
ARE YOU JOGGING A LOT?
You might have a simple case of 'jogger's nipple' in which your bra or clothing is rubbing on your chest. Switching bras or a generous coating of Vaseline or any other petroleum jelly will usually fix the problem.
If you have any doubts or concerns, lay them to rest by visiting your doctor.