For women everywhere, waking up to breast pain is a common occurrence. There are a variety of reasons why breast pain may occur, and fortunately, most of them are benign. Here are ten reasons why your breasts may hurt, and what to do in order to resolve the problem.
Common Reason for Breast Pain:
1. Poor bra fit
Perhaps the most common cause for breast pain is an incorrectly fitting bra. Many women only have 1 or 2 “good” bras they like to wear, and they can often use those long past their useful life. When you add on the fact that breasts can change shape and cup size, the chances of that ten-year-old bra still fitting becomes extremely unlikely.
If you can’t remember the last time you got properly fitted for a bra, it’s time to go shopping for a new one. Don’t simply trust your last bra sizing is accurate. All bras should be fitted, even sports bras, to ensure that they support your breasts and keep them pain-free. Not all bra fitters are created equal, so try the bra on before taking it home. A good bra should support you even when you jump up and down, and not pinch, squeeze, or jab anywhere.
Surprise! Those sore breasts might be the first sign of pregnancy. If a new addition is a cause for your breast pain, your hormones are the cause of it. Pregnancy causes a flood of hormones to be released, in particular, estrogen. Estrogen is responsible for many of the changes your body needs to make in order to create and care for a new life. One of these changes is to increase the size of the milk ducts, a necessary step for the creation of milk later on. Unfortunately, this size increase can sometimes be painful.
The good news is the pain usually fades with the first trimester, so if you’ve been hoping for a little one to add to your life, take this pain as a good sign.
3. Too hard of a workout
A great bra can reduce the jostling your breasts receive during a workout, but they can’t stop your muscles from feeling sore after a particularly grueling exercise routine. Sore muscles in the chest area can lead to breast pain, so if you overdid it on the chest presses, you might want to let those muscles recover before tackling that routine again. All muscles need to be rested, and the ones in your chest are no different.
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4. Breast infection
If you are breastfeeding, those sharp pains in your breast may not be from breasts that are too full. Breast infections, also known as mastitis, are common in women who are breastfeeding. This happens when bacteria from the baby’s mouth enters the milk duct and starts an infection there. Mastitis rarely happens in women who are not breastfeeding, but it can still happen.
If you think you may be suffering from mastitis, it’s important to see a doctor about it.
5. Birth control
Most types of birth control work by altering the hormones in your body. The most common type tricks the body into thinking it is already pregnant. The same hormones that cause breast pain in pregnancy can also be the same hormones making your breasts hurt when taking birth control. You can help ease the symptoms by changing your birth control to a different type. Talk to your doctor to see what is right for you.
6. Hormone fluctuations
Even without pregnancy and birth control, the hormones in our bodies are constantly in flux. These hormones change when we are on our period, as well as during menopause. It’s normal for breasts to feel pain when our hormones are changing, and in this case, there isn’t a lot you can do about it. Eventually, your hormones will balance out, and the breast pain will ease. If it doesn’t, this is another case where you’ll want to see a doctor for treatment.
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Breast is best for infants, but it can sometimes be painful for the mom. Incorrect latch, the baby not draining the breast enough, and mastitis can all cause breast pain during breastfeeding. Fortunately, breastfeeding doesn’t have to be painful. Consult a lactation specialist to help address latching issues, and a pump can help relieve pressure if the baby isn’t drinking enough milk.
Nearly every woman has experienced a breast injury at some point in their life. Whether it is a playful boy roughhousing, or a softball to the chest, receiving a blow to the breast is an inevitable part of life. If this happens to you, a little ice and a pain reliever may be the best way to deal with the injury. If it is a severe injury, contact a doctor with your concerns. While a headbutt from your child is unlikely to cause severe injuries, an accidental cut or serious blow may cause more damage than you realize.
No one wants to think about the potential of cancer, but in very rare cases breast cancer can be the cause of breast pain. If you’ve noticed anything unusual at all about your breast, including pain without any other obvious reasons behind it, see a doctor immediately. Breast cancer is treatable when caught early, so the sooner you check in with a doctor, the better.
To be even safer, schedule regular mammograms to catch the earliest signs of breast cancer, before any physical signs have come to your attention.
10. Your breasts don’t like your coffee. (Yes, really.)
Most of us would struggle to get by without our daily dose of caffeine, but the same chemical that makes us feel alert can also cause breast pain. Caffeine dilates the blood vessels, and the extra blood flow in the breast tissue can make them feel swollen and painful. If you are experiencing breast pain after your morning cup, you may want to switch to decaf.
Breast pain can be caused by a variety of reasons, but with a little something you can solve the issue and get back to pain-free breasts.