Breast pain, also called mastalgia, is a common affliction for women. According to the Mayo Clinic, breast pain can affect as many as seven in 10 women. When breast pain is severe, it can negatively impact a woman’s health, work and social life. There are several causes of breast pain as well as several home remedies women can do themselves to help alleviate their breast pain.
Breast pain can be either cyclical or non cyclical. Cyclical breast pain is related to a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle and is mainly caused by normal changes in hormone levels. With cyclical breast pain, the pain occurs in both breasts and is usually described as dull and achy. In non cyclical breast pain, the pain is usually a tightness or burning and affects postmenopausal women.
Certain types of food, drink and medication can affect cyclical breast pain, including caffeine. According to Women to Women, caffeine contains methylxantine, a chemical that can result in microscopic swelling by causing blood vessels to dilate. The swelling can worsen breast pain. Caffeine intake can also cause fluctuations in hormone levels, which can cause breast cysts and breast pain.
There has been little scientific study to prove the effects of caffeine on breast pain. However, a study by the Department of Surgery at Duke University Medical Center on the symptoms of fibrocystic breast disease showed that a substantial reduction in caffeine intake caused a majority of patients to report a decrease or absence in their breast pain.
If you are experiencing breast pain, consider eliminating or reducing the amount of caffeine in your diet for three to four months to see if it will impact your pain level. According to the California Pacific Medical Center, one cup of coffee can have up to 164 m of caffeine per cup, and 12 oz. of soda can have up to 55 m of caffeine. Even certain medications, including Excedrin, contain significant levels of caffeine.
If you find that reducing your caffeine intake does not cause relief of your breast pain, other home remedies could help. Try using hot or cold compresses, wearing a supportive bra and decreasing the amount of fat in your diet. Use an over-the-counter pain reliever low in caffeine, such as Tylenol. If these self-treatments don’t cause relief of your breast pain, consult your doctor for additional advice.