If you are experiencing breast pain, do not panic and automatically assume the worst and that you have breast cancer. Breast pain and sensitivity can be caused by a lot of factors, including hormones. When a woman’s hormones are fluctuating before her period, during pregnancy or during peri-menopause this will impact your breasts, probably more than any other part of your body.
Breast tenderness is medically called mastalgia, mallalgia or mastodynia. This refers to breast sensitivity, discomfort and/or pain, either in one breast or both. When the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, as well as testosterone, a male androgen, which women also possess, are in flux this can make your breasts sore, according to 34-menopause-symptoms.com.
Cyclic Breast Pain
Hormonal changes result in cyclic breast pain. Spikes and drops in hormone levels will cause some women to have very sensitive breasts. Breast tenderness is generally caused by too little or too many estrogens. For other women, the pain is caused by too little progesterone. If a woman is undergoing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during peri-menopause or menopause, this can cause breast pain and tenderness. The hormones that are in contraceptives can also cause breast soreness. The higher the dosage of synthetic estrogen and progesterone in your HRT or contraceptive, the more your breasts will be affected.
Estrogen, particularly if it spikes, can increase a woman’s breast size by stimulating breast tissue growth, according to Healthlibrary.epnet.com. When a breast is stretched by extreme estrogen influence, this can cause breast tenderness and pain. Progesterone, on the other hand, does not increase the amount of breast tissue, but it does cause water retention. When water is retained in the bust, this can increase the bust size and also result in tenderness. Progesterone also influences the growth and development of the milk-producing cells. In addition, progesterone also prompts the development of alveoli and lobules in a woman’s breasts. Alveolar cells increase in number and enlarge and become secretory, as noted earlier. However, you don’t begin producing milk, unless the pituitary gland produces prolactin, according to Ameri-breast.com.
Breast tenderness can also be experienced if a woman’s has fibrocystic breasts, which can be aggravated by hormones. Cysts may develop in your breasts due to hormones. The result is fluid-filled lumps (cysts) that are lumpy and tender. An increase in the tissues that support the breasts creates fibrosis.
If your breast pain is creating significant discomfort for you, discuss this with your doctor. Some women are prescribed diuretics (water pills), which will rid the body of excess fluid. Other women have sought relief using herbs to reduce hormonally related symptoms. Discuss this option with a qualified herbalist.
When It's Not Hormonally Related
Breast sensitivity that is not hormonally related can be caused by stress, alcoholism, breast size, prior breast surgery, breast cancer or trauma, medicine, cysts and mastitis.