Sadly breast pain is all too common and heard all too often, and yet there is actually very little information in the big wide web and world about what to do if breast pain is affecting your life. You should always seek professional advice when dealing with breast pain.
We may not have all the answers, but we will do our very best to help discover what could be the cause of your breast pain and potential ways to alleviate this.
Hormone or cycle related. This is quite common; I suffer with breast pain myself during my cycle. I didn’t realise it until I went to the doctors and they asked me to keep a log of when I experienced the pain. It wasn’t the usual tender breast feeling, it was almost like a bruising without the marks. But sure enough, once a month in the exact same spot, the pain resurfaces.
- Do keep a diary of when you experience breast pain and this will help narrow down the cause
The best way to cope with this is wearing a really comfortable bra during your period, avoid exercise if the pain is too much, place warm, wet flannels over the pain to help ease it, and take pain killers if absolutely necessary.
Breast pain during exercise. This is not a pain to be ignored, if your running shoes were causing you discomfit, you wouldn’t wear them and you’d buy a new pair! Please don’t put up with it. Breasts can be heavy free-moving objects (average weight 1kg- the same as a bottle of wine!), and their only support structures are skin and ligaments. Both are very weak and can overstretch easily past its natural point. Without proper support, the weight of free falling breasts can be painful, on average breasts move 15cm during exercise. To help solve this type of breast pain, wear a correctly fitting, supportive sports bra. A high supportive sports bra with good coverage is often key to help reduce the pain.
Nipple cracking/chaffing. Your nipples are very sensitive and need to be treated with care. You can apply moisturiser and lotions to keep them soft and smooth and stop drying out. There are plenty of breastfeeding nipple creams (whether you breast feed or not!) That will be safe to use. Try to wear only seamless bras to reduce any chances of rubbing or irritation. Do not pick, scratch or irritate the nipple in anyway.
Other breast pain. Some women experience consistent breast pain which is not related to any of the above. It is usually diagnosed as non-cyclic mastalgia (basically breast pain not related to your menstrual cycle) so in some cases not a particularly useful diagnosis as it just tells you what you already know! To help manage the symptoms you should always wear a comfortable, correctly fitting bra and sports bra. Try some low impact, stress relieving activities such as yoga or pilates. Place a warm, wet flannel over your breasts and take pain killers if necessary, but always seek advice from your doctor.