Breast Pain

Many women worry about pain in their breasts because of the abundance of cases of breast cancer.  These women wonder if pain in the breasts could indicate that they have a problem that is more serious.  It is normal and smart for individuals to protect themselves against future diseases and risky medical conditions.  However, not all pain indicates that this condition has been developed.  Therefore, it is important to first understand the pain, then assess the situation to see if medical attention should be sought.

Where It Starts And What It Feels Like

Breast pain is more common in women than it is in men because women have more breast tissue, but anyone of either gender and any age group can get it. There are various causes of it, but most of them aren't serious. Aches and pains are a normal part of being alive, and worrying over them unnecessarily won't help a person feel any better. Breast pain can be sharp and stabbing, provide almost a tingling sensation, or be dull and throbbing. Sometimes it takes the form of tenderness to the touch more than continual pain.

However, if there is a lot of pain, it gets worse, or it's accompanied by things like swelling or redness, it's better to see a doctor, just to rule out anything serious. It's well worth taking the time to make sure that there isn't a serious problem developing.

Common Causes And Conditions of Breast Pain

No matter whether you're active or not, or what gender or age group you belong to, you can experience pain in the breast. It is not a condition that is simply limited to females between the ages of 20 and 50.  Therefore, here are some of the most common causes of breast pain.

•    A pulled muscle – pulled muscles in the chest area can contribute to breast pain. While this pain would actually be in the muscles of the chest, it can feel like it is in the breast, and a lot of people use the terms chest and breast interchangeably.
•    Fibrocystic breast disease – some women get a lot of lumps in their breasts, but these aren't cancerous. They are just lumps of fibrous tissue. Men can get them, too, but they aren't as common. Anyone who finds a lump in the breast would be wise to have it checked out by a doctor, though, just to make sure that it isn't something more serious.
•    PMS – women who struggle with premenstrual syndrome often experience pain and tenderness in their breast in the week or two before their menstruation actually starts, and it goes away at that time, only to return the next month.
•    Pills with hormones in them – birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy both have hormones in them.  They either provide individuals with a lot of strogen or a lot of progesterone – or, in some cases, both.  In addition, some psychiatric medications including common antidepressants could cause breast pain.
•    Stress – Stress actually can add to the pain in the breast area.  It is not exactly clear why this happens, though many people suffer with this problem and statistics indicate that this is likely.
•    Wearing The Wrong Bra – this sounds simple, however it happens to many women.  They wear a bra that is uncomfortable and irritating.  After a while, they suffer from breast pain because of the problem.  Therefore, it is important that these individuals make sure they are wearing comfortable intimate garments that allow their breasts to remain comfortable
•    Cancer – This is the biggest fear when a women experiences breast pain.  However, rarely is it the case.  Sadly, in some cases breast pain can be an indication that the individual has breast cancer.

Common Treatment Options for Breast Pain

Treating breast pain depends on what's causing it, but seeing the doctor is recommended if a simple cause can't be found, if the pain or tenderness persists, or if there is discharge from the nipple or any bleeding, along with if there are any sores that won't heal. Some common treatment options for breast pain are listed below.

•    Over-the-counter pain or PMS medication is often used by women to reduce breast pain that's associated with their monthly cycle. It can be very effective, because the pain usually isn't very severe and it doesn't last that long.
•    Ice or heat can help if the breast pain is actually coming from pulled or tense muscles in the chest.
•    Seeing a doctor is a good idea if fibrocystic breast disease is the cause, because there are medications and treatments that can be helpful, but they require a prescription and a doctor's care. Any lumps in the breast generally mean it's time to see the doctor, just to rule out a serious issue.
•    Try changing the bra.  Many people actually wear the wrong size.  A bra expert should fit individuals to make sure they are properly fitted in a bra and not wearing one that causes pain to the breasts.
•    Chest x-rays may be necessary if breast pain is not cyclical but ongoing.  The x-rays can help a doctor determine the cause of the pain and proceed with a proper treatment.

Holistic Approach

Since much of the pain in the breast is often stress, menstrual or menstrual related, a lot of the people like the natural remedies.  They provide helpful ways to reduce pain, and in many cases they are easy and effective.  Here are some ideas to try.

•    Purchase topical iodine.  This can be bought over the counter – no prescription is necessary.  It is relatively inexpensive.  Apply a quarter-sized area of the iodine once a night to the breast tissue.  It seems to help adjust the hormones and balance out the pain in many people.  Also, bioidentical progesterone works as well.
•    Try to locate a therapist trained in lymphatic massage.  This type of therapist is very helpful in treating some types of breast pain.  Individuals do not have to have lymphedema or arm swelling to see this type of massage therapist.  They simply need to request that type of massage because it can help ease the breast pain they are experiencing.
•    Creams are nice on the breast areas and will help relieve some of the pressure in the region.  Many people massage the area themselves with a thicker cream.
•    Castor oil has been known to loosen up the breast tissue.  Try this natural remedy.  However, those that try it will need to lie down for 20 minutes when they use it.
•    Many emotional factors create pain.  Therefore, many people advocate determining the emotional source behind the pain (if there is one).  Think about what could possibly be causing the pain and determine if there is anyway to fix it.

When To See A Doctor for Breast Pain

Statistically, less than 1 out of 10 women that suffer from breast cancer complain of pain in their breasts.  Therefore, it is not something to stress about and wonder if a doctor should be consulted.  It is relatively normal.  However, if has been an on going problem, the doctor can find the cause of the breast pain using various procedures.  He or she might do an initial breast diagnosis.  Then they might x-ray the breasts.  In addition, other common procedures include mammograms, a breast sonogram, and a breast biopsy.  Here are some guidelines to help individuals determine if they need to seek the help of a doctor.

•    Visit the doctor if the pain has been ongoing and doesn’t correlate with the menstrual cycles.  This could be an indication on another problem.
•    See the doctor if breast pain is a result of a recent accident.
•    See the doctor immediately if breast pain prompted a self-evaluation of the breast area where a lump was felt.  The doctor needs to examine this area and make sure it is not cancerous.
•    Visit the doctor for breast pain concern if it will help calm anxiety.

Managing Breast Pain

Unfortunately, for most people there is not a lot of medical help available for breast pain. It usually correlates to hormonal issues or muscle problems that are minor problems.  There is little that a doctor can do to treat this problem besides recommend a medication that might help relieve the pain.  Therefore, managing the pain is up to the individual.  

It is important for these individuals to monitor the medications they are taking.  Make sure they are correct.  Do any of the have an excess of hormones in them?  It is possible that there is another medication that might not cause the same side effect.  Also, pain medication may be helpful to relieve stress on particularly painful days.

Lastly, make good decisions.  This involves evaluating the current atmosphere and what could be responsible for the breast pain.  Is it the bra?  Is it emotional issues?  There could be several reasons for this problem.  It will be helpful to evaluate it and determine the cause.  In doing so, individuals will have a better life that is free of most breast pain.  Try it!

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