Many women experience breast
pain, making it the most common breast related
concern. Breast pain may be felt in one or both
breasts, or in the underarm area. Breast pain
is not normally associated with breast cancer,
but may indicate that some fibrocystic changes
are occurring. Women who have breast pain should
consult with their doctors.
Breast pain can be cyclical or noncyclical.
Cyclical breast pain results from the monthly
changes in progesterone and estrogen levels. These
changes in hormone levels may cause the breast
tissue to swell and retain fluid. During this
time, breasts may feel painful and tender. Women
with cyclical breast pain may also have some fibrocystic
changes that are accompanied by lumps or areas
that feel thick. Cyclical breast pain usually
begins a few days before menstruation and diminishes
when menstruation ends.
Noncyclical breast pain is most often
felt in one specific area of a breast. This pain
may result from a direct injury to the breast.
Women who have had a biopsy of the breast tissue
may also feel some pain at the biopsy site. Muscle
soreness from physical activity can also increase
breast pain, as can poorly fitting bras.
Once it has been determined that
the breast pain is not caused by another breast
condition or abnormality, you may wish to explore
ways to reduce your discomfort. The following
suggestions may be helpful in reducing breast
• Vitamin E has been shown
to relieve breast pain in many women. The dose
is 800 to 1,000 International Units daily. This
works as an antioxidant and can potentially relieve
inflammation as the cause of breast pain.
• Evening Primrose Oil may
be taken at a dose of two to three grams per day.
This helps rebalance saturated and unsaturated
fatty acids in the breast tissue, relieving hormonal
sensitivity in the tissue. Although not a perfect
remedy, this appears to be the most likely way
to relieve breast pain for many women. Relief
may be experienced in 10 to 14 days, but can take
4 to 6 weeks.
• Dietary changes may also
provide some relief. Avoiding caffeine may relieve
some women of breast pain but this appears to
be a small percentage. Some women retain water
with excessive salt intake; therefore salt usage
should be limited. A high fat diet may cause breast
pain in some women; again this is a minority.
• Maintain an ideal weight for your age
• Some medications may produce
breast pain. Please discuss your medications with
These remedies may not make you feel
better in a matter of days. Do not get frustrated
and quit. If your pain is not relieved by these
measures after 2 or 3 months, then please call
the office for a re-evaluation.
It is important for every woman to do careful
breast self-examinations. If you are menstruating
regularly, this should be done about 5 to 7 days
after the start of your period, when your breasts
are least full and painful. If you are not menstruating
on a regular basis, do the examination on a regular
date every month.
If you have additional questions
or concerns, please call us at847-797-9000.