Do you have tender, sore, painful and/or lumpy breasts?
Chances are if you’re peri/menopausal you could be experiencing something like this. It’s a very, very common symptom so know you’re not alone.
What Does It Feel Like?
Although similar to the sensitive breasts we can experience in menstruation or pregnancy, this is a ‘different’ kind of soreness. Tender breasts during your period feel a little achy as a rule, while in perimenopause, women tend to describe them as ‘throbbing’ or ‘burn-y’, though, of course, everyone’s different.
What Causes Tender Breasts?
The fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone that occur during the meno years – the very same culprits that are behind so many other symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings.
The soreness can also be due to breast tissue changes that occur as the need to produce milk for our young disappears – they become less dense and more fatty.
What Is Mastalgia?
Painful/tender breasts are technically known as mastalgia, which means breast pain. It’s a term you first may have heard of during your first period years. The meno years take it up a notch because the estrogen and progesterone rollercoaster is far more dramatic. This is why the soreness can be more intense during perimenopause. It’s also why your breasts may get bigger.
What Is Perimenopause?
If you’re a regular here you’ll know perimenopause is the transitional stage where a woman moves from her fertile years through to post-menopause. Menopause itself actually only lasts a day, the day of your last period which you will only realise 12 months later. On average this occurs around 51, whilst perimenopause usually begins in your 40s and can last a while – six to 13 years in fact.
Will My Sore Breasts Go Away?
As you move further down your meno journey the discomfort should subside and post-menopause, once your estrogen level has dropped right off, it should go away.
However, it should be noted that various medical reports suggest that taking hormone therapy (HRT) may intensify it and cause it to stick around longer. Food for thought. 🤔
What Can I Do To Help?
Firstly. It’s so important to make lifestyle changes when it comes to any of the peri/menopausal symptoms. We can’t stress that enough. Things such as keeping hydrated, avoiding caffeine (more on that below), alcohol and smoking, embracing nutrient dense foods and avoiding processed foods and refined white sugar and flour are crucial.
It may sound a bit ‘broken record-y’ but one of the reasons we experience mild or severe symptoms of peri/menopause is our level of nutritional wealth as well as our level of stress (which may only be everyday normal stress) as stress causes estrogen levels to fluctuate more.
6 Things You Can Do Now
- Wear a well-fitting bra; if it’s a sports one so much the better.
- Try hugging a warm wheat bag.
- Supplement with Evening Primrose Oil and Omega 3’s like flax or fish oil.
- Increase your intake of dietary fibre. Studies show this helps reduce the levels of excess hormones in the body.
- Avoid methylxanthines, which are found in coffee (decaffeinated also), tea, chocolate, cola and some medications. Here’s a study.
- Some women swear by acupuncture (and it’s enforced time out – double winner).
- Take 40+ which has been proven to help with your quality of life during pre-/peri and post-menopause.
Disclaimer: This article should never take the place of medical advice. If you are at all concerned about breast pain and/or other issues such as breast lumps, swelling or dimpling, changes in the size or shape of your breasts, nipple discharge, or chest pain please see your GP.