Are You Having Breast Pain?
Pain, as defined by The International Association for the Study of Pain, is “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage”.
Pain is the result of injured or damaged tissue. It can happen in any part of the body and can range from mild to excruciating depending on the level of damage. It can go away by itself or may require medical attention if it is not reducing with time.
Having pain in the breast can be very stressful. Several apprehensions including fear of developing cancer can intensify the pain. From no to a serious underlying condition, pain in the breast can have several implications. Mentioned below are some key points that will help you distinguish breast pain due to stress or some other underlying condition.
How to know if this breast pain is due to stress and not some underlying conditions?
Pain in any part of the body needs immediate attention. Breast is a sensitive part of the body and even minor pain in breast is usually considered life-threatening. Pain in breast is one of the terrifying pains that a woman can experience. There can be several different reasons for pain in the breast. The painful breasts should never be overlooked and should always be addressed immediately with a remedy or a treatment. It is extremely important to determine the factors which are causing breast pain to help understand the severity of the condition and seeking appropriate help.
Stress manifests in several ways. Stress can disrupt the balance of hormones leading to breast pain that is cyclical. Women usually feel mild to moderate pain during periods but the same intensity is also experienced when women go through emotional distress. If a woman has a cyst or lumpy breast tissue, she might experience more than usual pain in her breast if she is under stress.
There are three types of breast pain due to different reasons. Read on to get an insight into the causes of each kind of pain.
1. Cyclical Pain
It is associated with hormonal imbalance and can result from a change in the timings of your menstrual cycle. The pain is felt in both breasts and can range from mild to excruciating. It increases until your period starts and diminishes as the period ends.
2. Non-Cyclical Pain
The burning, tightening and soreness in the breast that is constant or irregular is non-cyclical pain. It is restricted to one part of the breast.
3. Torn muscle near ribs
The root cause of this pain is not in the breast but the adjoining areas like ribs, chest or shoulders. An injury or torn muscles can cause this pain.
Depending on the severity of pain, one should consult a medical practitioner to get the diagnosis and proper treatment.
The connection between stress and breast pain isn’t supported by science except for the fact that increased estrogen levels during periods or phases of emotional stress can cause pain in the breast. It can range from mild discomfort to unbearable pain depending on your health condition and level of stress. The only way to get rid of stress-induced breast pain is – stop worrying and de-stress yourself.
Your Stress Level Checklist
Every human being experiences stress now and then. It is the body’s natural reaction to changes in our surroundings that need an adjustment. Unwanted changes become stressors and our body responds physically, mentally and emotionally. The level to which a person experiences stress depends on several factors including his physical and mental health. Here is a checklist that will help you determine your stress level and how to cope with the stress.
There are several cognitive, affective, physical and behavioral symptoms associated with stress and you can check your level of stress by rating them on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 for least and 10 for most. The normal reactions to stress include:
• Rapid breathing
• Loss of appetite
• Loss of interest in sex
• Loss of motivation
• Feeling tired
• Excessive sweating
Rating these symptoms on a scale of 1-10 will help you calculate your stress level to some extent. Besides these, there can be some serious indicators presence of which can obstruct daily activities and will require medical attention. These include:
• Fear of death
• Disturbing thoughts
• Uncontrollable irritability
• Feeling numb
• Panic attacks
• Increased use of drugs
• Fear of reliving the traumatic event
• Loss of interest in things you enjoy normally
• Loss of appetite
• Difficulty falling asleep
Some people experience normal symptoms and some may experience serious ones depending upon the situation. Those who easily get stressed may experience a couple of symptoms on a daily basis but unless they are hindering your activities, they can be treated with yoga, exercises and busying yourself with activities you like.
The Stress Symptom Checklist by Edmond J. Bourne is a list of physical and psychological symptoms to help determine the level of stress.
6 Effective Remedies for Breast Pain
Pain can be managed in several ways. From medicines to home remedies, people try anything and everything to get rid of the pain. Mastalgia, mammalgia, mastodynia or simply put breast pain is feeling of tenderness, tightness or heaviness in form of a dull ache or severe throbbing sensation is caused by tissue damage, injury or may result from a serious underlying condition. Mentioned below are some effective remedies to treat breast pain.
1. Cabbage Leaves
Breast pain is one of the most difficult pains to handle. While the use of cabbage leaves is more engorged breasts which happen to almost all mothers who breastfeed their babies. You can get some relief from cabbage leaves for breast pain due to non-pregnancy reasons.
Most of us have cabbage in vegetable compartments of our refrigerators but if you don’t have one all you have to do is get a fresh cabbage, wash it thoroughly, separate its leaves and leave it in the freezer for good 30 minutes. Take the leaves out and position them in your bra to cover your breast entirely. Remove them once they lose their original shape and are not cold anymore. You can repeat this remedy as long as the breast pain lasts.
2. Oil Massage
Oil massages work wonders when you are trying to reduce pain in your breast. Castor oil, avocado oil, and evening primrose oil are said to have worked for women with sore breasts.
3. Warm Shower
Nothing can be more relaxing than a nice warm shower especially if you are overwhelmed with stress or having body aches. Warm showers have been proved to be great stress relievers and they also reduce different body pains. If you are going through breast pain, taking a warm shower will help lessen the pain.
All you need to do is set your shower to the temperature that is bearable for your body. Massage your breasts by applying slight pressure. Stand under the warm water for 20 minutes and you will see a decrement in your breast pain. You can have a warm shower twice a day to reduce breast pain and no more than that.
4. Change Your Bra
One of the reasons for breast pain can be an ill-fitted bra. Wearing a bra that is not your size hinders the blood flow, hence the pain. Wearing a bra that supports the breasts can help relieve the pain. Consider wearing a soft bra to bed to avoid discomfort during the night and a sports bra for exercise.
5. Watch Your Diet
Phytoestrogen is a hormone-like compound found in soy which helps regulate hormonal imbalance leading to breast pain. Soy rich diet is especially beneficial for menstruation and menopause-related breast discomfort. Magnesium-rich foods like bananas, brown rice, and oatmeal help manage premenstrual breast pain. Adding green leafy vegetables is also beneficial particularly for breast soreness. Reduce consumption of hydrogenated oils, methylxanthine (found in coffee, cola drinks, wine, chocolate, pickles, and peanut butter) and sodium.
6. Cold Compress
An Ice pack, frozen peas or any other kind of available cold compress helps reduce inflammation and reduces the breast swelling. Put the ice pack for 10 minutes on each breast and feel the difference.
Pain is the body’s reaction to some injury. It is an indicator that there is something wrong and it needs attention and management. Breast is a very sensitive organ of the human body and any minor injury or distress shows itself in the form of pain and tenderness. Stress is one of the contributing factors that elevate the feeling of pain. If breast pain is the consequence of stress, it can be managed with simple remedies and more than regular attention.