Mastalgia is a medical name for breast pain and 70% of the women can be affected with this condition in their lifetime. Normally, women experience mild mastalgia 2-3 days before menstrual period and for some others, pain exists more than 5 days.
The condition can be so bad that sometimes it is not comfortable to wear even a T-shirt. Also, you will experience breast pain, i.e. not related to your menstrual period.
The pain can exist in both breast, in one breast or in any part of the breast and also it can spread to some other areas such as armpits.
You will experience 3 kinds of breast pain:
1. Cyclical: It is worse and closer to your menstrual period. Extent of pain can alter from month-to-month.
2. Non-cyclical: It doesn’t change with your menstrual cycle. It can exist for all the time or it can come and go.
3. Chest wall pain: Actually it is not mastalgia, but it can affect the tissues and muscles beneath your breasts.
Is breast pain a common condition in every woman?
Before menopause, most often in 30’s, 40% of women can be affected with cyclical breast pain. Among those, 8% of the women have severe pain and it can interfere with their everyday activities. This pain can continue for several years, but most often it disappears after menopause. In 20% women, pain disappears on its own.
Non-cyclical pain is very rare and more often older women can be affected with this.
Actually, the causes of mastalgia are not clear, but sometimes they can be related to:
- Fibrocystic changes in your breast
- Hormonal changes
- Cysts in your breasts
- Breast bone inflammation or rib inflammation
Supplements and herbs to avoid breast pain:
- There are not any proven vitamins that can help with mastalgia.
- Taking 3000 mg of evening primrose oil a day can help in treating mastalgia. Also, there is not clear evidence about this herb, so talk with your doctor about any possible side effects.
- Studies showed that taking two tsp of flaxseed (not flaxseed oil) daily for 3 months can reduce cyclical mastalgia.
How to deal with mastalgia?
- You should undergo complete breast assessment. Knowing that the pain is not a symptom of breast cancer makes it easier to deal with your pain.
- Observe the pain, whether it is mild, moderate or severe.
- Wear a comfortable bra. It should give good support to your breasts.
- Look for methods that help you to relax and reduce stress.
- Talk with your practitioner about pain medications. Drugs that can help to manage the pain include: ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications.