5 Reasons Your Breasts Are Sore
Most of the time they just sit there minding their own business regardless of their size or shape but now and then (all the time for some of us!), damn, they can be painful. But why?
Breast pain can occur for a number of reasons; bra size, bra size, bra size! We can’t say it enough. That little rant aside there is one occurrence we all fear that is not generally associated with breast pain and that is breast cancer. “Most breast cancers do not cause pain,” says Diane Young, M.D., an ob-gyn at the Cleveland Clinic’s Willoughby Hills Family Health Center. “Having pain in the breast is not usually a sign of breast cancer.”
OK, so what are the primary causes of breast pain and what can you do to alleviate them? We’ve listed five below to help you get abreast of your chest!
It’s that time of the month
“The most common cause of breast pain is a change in hormones that comes along with your period—specifically the drop in estrogen following ovulation”, says Diane Young, M.D., an ob-gyn at the Cleveland Clinic’s Willoughby Hills Family Health Center. “During ovulation, hormone levels go up—estrogen, progesterone, testosterone—so PMS starts when the hormone levels drop, which is also when women may experience breast pain,” she says.
“That pain—also called cyclic pain, because it’s related to your menstrual cycle—is also accompanied by swelling and tenderness on the day before your period begins and the first day of your flow”, says Taraneh Shirazian, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.
The good news; it should abate when your period ends. “Combination birth control pills can help”, says Shirazian, “since they prevent ovulation and keep estrogen levels stable. And if you’d rather skip the OTC pain reliever, primrose oil supplements may also ease soreness”, she says.
You overdid it in the gym yesterday
So you hit the gym hard yesterday and pumped out some heavy bench presses or beat your push up PB. It’s the next day and you’re now sore in the chest area. This type of pain isn’t actually in your breasts it’s in the muscles underneath; the pec muscles. These muscles did the work and now their sore as they repair and grow ready for your next workout.
Luckily this soreness is only temporary lasting a couple of days to a week depending on how hard you went and how often you workout. I for one am guilty of not going to the gym for a while and then hitting it hard thinking I need to make up and boy do I suffer the next few days.
The solution; build up your workouts so your muscles have time to adjust. If you do go to hard and get uncomfortable pain it “can be treated with pain reliever, as well as applying heat or ice to the muscles”, says Young.
Your bras aren’t up to the task
A common cause of breast pain is an ill fitting bra. It is estimated that up to 80% of women wear the wrong bra size. Wow, that’s a lot of pain right there. When was the last time you checked your measurements to determine your size? Our size can change over time as we age, have children, change diet, change exercise routines, etc. Your bras may be too tight or too big and you don’t even realise as you’ve grown used to them. They feel normal but may be causing you unnecessary pain.
A lot of women also wear their bras ‘to . Over time the elasticity of the bra breaks down and they stretch. This reduces their support. Over an entire days wear this can really cause discomfort. Check out our blog ‘Is It Time to Replace Your Sports Bra’.
The same applies even more to your sports bras. Especially if you’re breasts are what we call ‘fuller busted’. If they are not supported by a comfortable, well fitted sports bra during your high intensity workouts chances are all the bouncing and pulling on the coopers ligaments will cause you some serious breast pain. If your job entails being on your feet all day (Nursing) or you just want extra support consider wearing a sports bra for everyday wear. Their design and comfort have come a long way and your breasts will thank you.
Luckily there is an easy fix for this one; get a new, good fitting sports bra that is supportive enough for the activity you do. No point wearing a yoga bra to a netball match. A high intensity sport needs a high impact sports bra. Try your new sports bra on. Check for spillage, gapping, that nothing is digging in and that there is minimal bouncing when you jump up and down. Our blog ‘10 Common Fitting Problems & How to Solve Them’ will help.
Even the very best sports bras are not effective in stopping upwards bounce. So if you really want to keep you ladies under control and stop that pain for good get a Breastband to compliment your sports bra.
Your boobs are ‘lumpy’
“Sometimes, breasts seem ‘lumpy’ because of fibrocystic breast tissue”, says Young. “Basically, that just means the breasts have more lumps and bumps. But it’s incredibly common and nothing to worry about”, stresses Young.
Those “lumps” that you feel are actually benign cysts—or fluid-filled sacs within the breasts, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Again, they don’t increase your risk of breast cancer, per the ACS, but they can become larger or more painful and tender when your period begins, due to hormonal changes.
This is one that you may just need to ride out. If you are at all concerned or your discomfort level seems a little high visit your GP.
Your breasts are coffee sensitive!
Believe it or not this is a thing. “If you have fibrocystic breast tissue, you may also be more sensitive to stimulants like coffee”, says Young.
“Our breasts have little ducts, and, on occasion, those ducts can swell up due to simulants like caffeine and chocolate,” she says. “That swelling, then, causes pain”, she adds. If your breasts feel particularly lumpy and you down coffee like it’s going out of fashion maybe you should consider cutting down. We won’t comment on the chocolate!
So we know some of the causes of breast pain and we have solutions; take it easy in the gym, get a great fitting sports bra, cut down on the coffee and you are on the way to pain free breasts.