General Health

Should You Worry About Breast Pain After Menopause?

While breast pain can occur at any age, its incidence is less common in people after menopause. Breast pain does not always signify breast cancer, but severe and persistent pain is a matter of concern.

Types of breast pain

Breast pain affects about 70 percent of women during their lifetime. There are two types of breast pain, otherwise known as mastalgia:- cyclic and noncyclic.

  • Cyclic mastalgia

Cyclic breast pain usually affects women during menstruation and may be related to hormone fluctuations. Symptoms of cyclic mastalgia include tenderness, generalized breast pain, swelling, and the presence of a lump. Cyclic mastalgia may worsen during perimenopause but does not occur after menopause.

  • Noncyclic mastalgia

Symptoms of noncyclic mastalgia are persistent severe pain, burning sensation, and soreness in the breasts. Noncyclic mastalgia can affect both the breasts but is more likely to be localized to a specific site on the breast.

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Causes of breast pain

Medications

Breast pain can occur due to hormonal therapy, cardiovascular medicines, medicines used to treat anaemia, and diuretics.

Trauma

Any breast injury can cause temporary pain, tenderness, and swelling. Trauma to breasts can occur during physical activity or due to an accident.

Referred pain

Pain may be referred to the breasts from different parts of the body. A few examples of referred pain to the breast are:

  • Inflammation of the cartilage.
  • Fracture of a bone.
  • Pulled chest muscle.
  • Arthritis in the neck.
  • Rashes.

Large breasts

Heavy breasts can stretch the ligaments and tissues, leading to breast pain and tenderness. Not only this, breast pain can be referred to the shoulder, back and neck. The pain usually worsens when the person is physically active.

Infections

Infections in the breast or mastitis can occur at any age. However, it is more common before menopause. The pain usually occurs in the infected breast. Signs of breast infection include swelling, redness, warmth to touch, discharge, and fever.

Benign breast conditions

Cysts and other breast conditions can occur at any age. However, they appear more commonly before menopause than after menopause.

What are the remedies to treat breast pain?

The pain usually resolves without treatment in most cases. However, there are a few things that can help to reduce pain.

  1. Use over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen.
  2. Try a topical pain reliever like diclofenac.
  3. A warm compress can help you to get some relief from breast pain.
  4. Wear a supportive bra, especially while indulging in physical activities
  5. Use evening primrose oil

When should you consult a doctor?

Certain conditions should not be ignored, and immediate medical help should be taken.

  • Severe breast pain without my reason
  • Persistent or worsening pain
  • Pain that interferes with day-to-day activities
  • Problems related to breast implants

Breast pain is less in women after menopause. Although it is primarily benign and resolves without any treatment, a doctor should be consulted in case of persistent pain. There are a few home remedies that can help you to reduce your symptoms. If breast pain is worsening, then it is essential to get it checked by an experienced doctor.

Author

Tuhina Mishra

Dr. Tuhina Mishra completed her MBBS from Grant Government Medical College in the year 2021. She has published several research papers in Indian and international journals. She is a recipient of the ICMR-STS award in the year 2019. She is a staunch believer in making research an integral part of the medical curriculum. She has volunteered in several NGOs, healthcare startups, and awareness programs.

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