Breastpain ( mastalgia) is one of the commonest issues in women of all ages. It canhappen to anyone and at any age. It may or may not be associated with breasttenderness: mastodynia ( pain on touching or palpating the breast).
Both these terms (mastalgia and mastodynia) are different,but they address the same problem. Breast pain may or may not be associatedwith a lump as well. It is important to note that breast pain is notcommonly associated with breast cancer.
If you have breast pain, a complete history and a thoroughclinical examination are important in diagnosing the cause and prescribing thecorrect treatment.
Your doctor may want to know many details, which you mayfeel awkward or unnecessary, but these are important nonetheless. Breast painis commonly seen in women aged 20-40 years, but as I stated before, no age isexempt. The pain may be cyclical, ( waxing and waning in relation to themenstrual cycle) or non cyclical. There may also be associated tenderness andheaviness, especially with cyclical mastalgia. You may be asked to maintain abreast pain diary, to record the intensity of the pain, your levels of stressand your periods. This diary helps in analysing the pain better. Apart fromthis, a mammogram and ultrasound of the breast may also be advised as part ofthe evaluation.
The most important bit: treatment of breast pain is entirelyreleased to understanding the cause of the pain.
Most women will have normal examination and mammogramfindings. In such women, breast pain is commonly attributed to these causes:
- Ill fitting bras
- Inadequate water intake
- Essential fatty acid deficiency
Important fact: breasts have a lot of sensory nerve endings,hence they respond to stress…
Stress often triggers and worsens breast pain.
Stress is the most common underlying factor in most womencomplaining of breast pain.
Meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga are very helpfulin this regard.
Ill fitting bras are something a lot of women tend toneglect.
A well fitting bra or a sports bra will often give dramaticrelief.
Plenty of oral fluids are recommended, as we do not realiseour dehydrated status because of working in closed environments.
Some women also benefit from intake of evening primrose oil,which contains Gamma linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid.
Most women with breast pain do not have cancer. But, athorough evaluation is required to rule out the possibly.
Most often, reassurance, a few lifestyle changes and veryrarely medicines are all that are required to treat the niggling problem.
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