Sore Breasts

Sore Breasts

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 sign 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 signs 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?

Lots. 🙂

Firstly. It’s so important to make lifestyle changes when it comes to any of the peri/menopausal signs. 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 signs 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

  1. Wear a well-fitting bra; if it’s a sports one so much the better.
  2. Try hugging a warm wheat bag.
  3. Supplement with Evening Primrose Oil and Omega 3’s like flax or fish oil.
  4. Increase your intake of dietary fibre. Studies show this helps reduce the levels of excess hormones in the body.
  5. Avoid methylxanthines, which are found in coffee (decaffeinated also), tea, chocolate, cola and some medications. Here’s a study.
  6. Some women swear by acupuncture (and it’s enforced time out – double winner).

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.

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Post-menopause


This is the time when menstruation is well and truly over, the ovaries have stopped producing high levels of sex hormones and for many ladies, perimenopause symptoms subside.

Estrogen has protective qualities and the diminished levels mean organs such as your brain, heart and bones become more vulnerable. It’s also a key lubricant so your lips may become drier, your joints less supple and your vagina might be drier. In addition, your thyroid, digestion, insulin, cortisol and weight may alter.

At this juncture, a woman might experience an increase in the signs of reduced estrogen but she should have a decrease of perimenopause symptoms. That said, some women will experience symptoms like hot flushes for years or even the rest of their lives.

Perimenopause

Peri = ‘near’

Most females begin to experience the symptoms of perimenopause in their mid-forties. Your progesterone levels decline from your mid-30s but it’s generally from around 40 that the rest of your sex hormones begin to follow suit. 

Perimenopause is a different experience for every woman and some women may barely notice it. The first indicators are usually changes to the monthly cycle. This means that for some ladies, this can be accompanied by things like sore breasts, mood swings, weight gain around the belly, and fatigue as time goes on.

For those with symptoms it can be a challenging time physically, mentally and emotionally.

Importantly, perimenopause lasts – on average – four to 10 years. The transition is usually a gradual process and many women enter perimenopause without realising.