Breast Discomfort


If breasts are really painful on slightest pressure, one of the following could be the cause;

  1. Maybe your period is around the corner, and today your very soft gown, feels like sand paper when it moves over the breasts.

  2. Maybe you're pregnant and you cannot believe that these enlarged and painful breasts could possibly be yours. Also, at night, you can't find a comfortable sleeping position.

  3. Maybe you are still worried with the hard lump you found during your monthly self-examination, even though a pathologist assures you it is benign.

The tenderness you feel just prior to your menstrual period or in pregnancy occurs because of fluctuations in hormone levels, estrogen and progesterone. These hormones signal the cells of the milk producing glands to grow, and the areas around these glands expand. These fluid logged tissues stretch nerve fibres, and you experience pain.

Fibrocystic changes, which include lump and cysts, usually affect the non-functional areas, the fat cells, fibrous tissues and other parts not involved in the making or transporting of milk.

But in either case, the same strategies can help you find relief and promote healing.

  • Switch your diet pattern: Change to one, low in fat and high in fibre - found in whole grains, vegetables and beans.

  • Stay slim: This means you should keep your weight within the proper range for your height. For seriously over-weight women, losing weight can help relieve breast pain and lumpiness. In women, fat acts like an extra gland, producing and storing estrogen. If you've got too much body fat, you may have more estrogen circulating in your system than what is really good for you.

  • Take vitamins: Be sure to get plenty of food rich in vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium and B vitamins. These vitamins help to regulate the production of prostaglandins E, which in turn has a prohibitory effect on prolactin, a hormone that activates breast tissue.

  • Avoid butter, margarine and other hydrogenated fats: Hydrogenated fats interfere with your body's ability to convert essential fatty acids from the diet into gamma linoleic acid (GLA), which is important as it contributes to the production of prostaglandins E, which in turn keeps Prolactin, in check.

  • Skip the fast foods: Highly salted foods make you bloated. Stay away! This is particularly an important thing to do, about seven to ten days before your menstrual period.

  • Apply cold: Some women find the relief by dipping their hands in cold water and cupping the breasts.

  • Or try heat: Other women, find relief after using a heating pad or hot water bottle or by taking a hot water bath. For others, alternating heat and cold works best.

  • Find a good support bra: A sturdy bra, can help prevent nerve fibres in the breast, already stretched by water-logged tissue, from stretching further. Some women find that wearing the bra to bed at nighttime helps.

  • If on the pill: The estrogen level in your oral contraceptive could disturb benign breast changes, depending upon what your particular condition is. In general, a low estrogen pill may help a true fibrocystic condition but aggravates fibro adenoma, a condition in which a solid but a movable lump is present.

  • Try massage to ease fluid accumulation: Some women find relief with a gentle breast massage.