For those who may not be aware, before a woman enters menopause, she will first go through perimenopause, a transitional period in which progesterone and estrogen levels in the body will frequently fluctuate. And these frequent fluctuations in hormone levels, for many women, will often give way to breast pain. Even after a woman has officially entered menopause which is characterized by 12 or more months without experiencing a period symptoms will persist. Sore breasts during menopause will also be accompanied by insomnia, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, weight gain, and decreased libido. It is worth noting that many women will also encounter psychological symptoms that are brought on by menopause, some of which include anxiety, depression, lack of focus, and memory problems. Although all of these symptoms can make this climacteric change in a woman's life difficult, most will agree that breast pain is one of the worse.
What Women Should Know About Sore Breasts During Menopause?
Although breast pain during menstruation and perimenopause is not uncommon, the pain often intensifies once a woman has officially settled into menopause and begins taking hormone replacement therapy drugs, such as Climara and Estraderm, for example. According to most gynecologists and general physicians, this happens as a result of fluid buildup in the breasts, which is caused by the hormonal changes that take place during menopause. Also commonly referred to as mastalgia, breast pain can cause a woman's breast to feel sore, sensitive, or swollen. Some women have also described the following sensations related to breast pain:
- A burning sensation
- A dull aching sensation
- Throbbing pain
How to Treat Breast Tenderness During Menopause?
Several studies show that making small lifestyle changes can go a long way toward easing breast pain during menopause, some of which include
- Exercising regularly
- Not smoking
- Limiting caffeine consumption
- Staying hydrated
- Wearing a more comfortable bra
- Taking frequent hot showers
Along with these lifestyle changes, there is evidence suggesting that a healthy, well-balanced diet can also help relieve breast pain. That said, it would be a good idea to avoid consuming too many processed foods or foods high in sodium as they trigger inflammation that could make breast pain even worse. Also, you will want to limit your consumption of foods rich in saturated fat, such as fatty cuts of beef, dark chicken, and high-fat dairy foods. Saturated fats have been shown to trigger a spike in estrogen, which can cause breast pain.
When Should You See a Doctor?
Generally speaking, taking over-the-counter pain relievers and making healthy lifestyle changes should be enough to provide some relief from breast pain. However, if the pain persists or worsens, you should be seen by a physician who can determine if the pain you're feeling is related to an underlying health problem. This is especially true if you have breast pain that is accompanied by any of the following:
- Noticeable changes in skin texture
- If you develop a cyst on your breast
- Lumps in the armpit
- Lumps in the breast
- Changes in the size or shape of the breast