Of course you are! We’ve been taught that pain means something is wrong and it should be treated. And in today’s world what every woman thinks is wrong with her breasts is CANCER.
“Over time, I had simply come to accept that for two weeks out of every month I would have to put up with the break-outs, the bloating, swollen and sore breasts, depression, and other symptoms. I’m going through my third cycle now since starting the Hormonal Health Program I can’t begin to tell you how good I’m feeling. Virtually symptom-free.”
In general, out of thousands of women with breast pain only a few will prove to have breast cancer. But that breast pain is real — women are not making it up — and it does cause a lot of sleepless nights. The causes of breast pain, or mastalgia, are not simple and there is no one cure. We advise women with breast pain to consider combination of conventional and alternative medicine that has shown to offer relief.
- Breathe and breathe again
Most breast pain, swelling, and sensitivity is related to hormonal imbalance — our own circulating hormones which are often out of whack in our 40’s, or hormones taken in pills (HRT, birth control pills, and many other types of medications), or xenoestrogens which we absorb from our environment (pesticides and the chemicals in plastics, to name just two). Breast pain is often an indication of excess estrogen, which may follow your menstrual cycle. Keep a calendar for a couple of weeks and see if you can find a pattern. Gentle phytotherapy can help restore balance between estrogen and progesterone levels, and taking a high-quality multivitamin/mineral with an omega-3 supplement can help immensely to provide your body with the tools it needs to maintain balance.
- Do the basics
Have you talked to your primary care provider about this? If you are over 35, have you had a mammogram in the last 6 months? If not it may be prudent to get one, but try to schedule it when your breasts are least tender. If you have had a mammogram or are under 35 you should ask to get an ultrasound. Ultrasounds may reveal cysts which often cannot be felt but expand (usually as your hormones fluctuate) and stretch nerve fibers, causing pain. Often just knowing that you have benign lumps, or that the ultrasound showed normal tissue, is very reassuring.
- Look at what you are eating
Breast care doctors haven’t found one food that causes breast pain for everyone, nor one thing that cures it for everyone. However, caffeine does affect many women by dilating vessels and stretching nerves, and many people find relief after cutting back on coffee. Salt works the same way for other women. Increasing fiber and those dark green leafy vegetables can help by flushing out excess estrogen. Some women find relief by taking a short fast or detoxification.
- Try massage
If there is one “trigger” point, try massaging the area yourself or finding a lymphatic massage specialist. Often the area is in the upper outer part of the breast where an underwire point hits.
- Take time for yourself
One expert told us that she feels as if breasts are just screaming out, “Take care of me!” That’s a key reason menopause and breast pain are related. Try to take a break and do something you want to do, just for yourself.
The good news is that the majority of breast pain goes away after menopause! However, a small number of women will still have sensitive breasts in their 70’s. We hope we will understand one day the mystery of hormones, and how everyone is the same yet very different. In the meantime, remember that what you are experiencing is probably normal, just very individual.
If you would like to learn more about breast pain, read our article on solving the mystery of breast pain.
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