Ahhhh. The breasts. They create the hourglass figure. They are mystical to members of the opposite sex and they are the reason that 1 out of 8 women have to deal with cancer. Here’s a list of 5 reasons on why your breasts may hurt or feel uncomfortable, especially once pregnancy has been ruled out.
But remember, always discuss all concerns with your physician. Breasts don’t read the textbooks and there are always, always exceptions to the rule.
Why Do My Breasts Hurt?
Breast pain or discomfort can be a cause of anxiety for almost all women.
2) Ill-Fitting Bra
One of the most common things I encounter in practice is women who come in with breast pain that is on both sides, pretty consistent, happens more towards the end of the day, and dull in nature. The first thing I ask is how old are your bras? And the second, have you had any weight changes since you purchased said undergarments? Even 5 pounds of weight fluctuation can make a big impact in your cup and bra size, and not getting fitted every 18-24 months can mean wearing outdated and ill-fitting bras, which can then lead to breast pain.
If breast pain is not consistent one of the easiest things to do is keep track of your pain and discomfort in a calendar. If there’s a pattern to it then there could be a component of hormonal changes making breast pain more pronounced. Around ovulation (which falls around day 14 in a traditional 28-day cycle) the breasts can be more engorged and tender than normal. An easy fix to this is to start a hormonal contraceptive.
4) Referred Pain
There are a lot of nerves, muscles, bones and vital organs that live in the
chest. It’s important to do a mental refresh of activities in the last few days that may have been different from routine. New exercises? Change in activity ( i.e. moving, spring cleaning), even driving more than normal?
Another important thing for women to be conscious of is that the heart is a common cause of chest pain, that can be confused with breast pain. Pressure, pulling, left arm pain, tightness or shortness of breath should be evaluated by a physician.
5) Diet/ Lifestyle
Although it hasn’t been proven, there is some association between caffeine intake, alcohol intake, tobacco use and increased frequency of non-cyclic breast pain. Keeping a food diary that chronicles diet with breast pain can help shed some light on things that may be triggering pain.
This is by NO MEANS an inclusive list on why your breasts may hurt! Breast changes, pain, skin changes around or on the breast, discharge, or really any differences should be addressed and evaluated by a physician. It can be overwhelming or scary to acknowledge a breast concern, but it’s always better to get it checked out. A workup generally includes a mammogram or ultrasound. Sometimes it is necessary to have a biopsy done, and again as scary as this is, it’s better to have a definitive answer to a clinical concern.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Take a moment to check in and do your self-breast exam. If anything feels off or different, make an appointment! Healthy breasts are happy breasts 🙂