Sore, swollen breasts: causes, how to relieve them?

Women’s breasts develop throughout their lives. Size changes or sensitization have different causes. Is breast swelling a sign of pregnancy? Why do my boobs hurt before my period? How can you relieve them? Answers with Dr. Anne Wautier, gynaecologist.

The breast is a female organ develops during the menstrual cycle, and all his life. Its variations in size and sensitivity are more or less important: the breasts can sometimes feel heavy, swollen and painful. These symptoms have different causes and are not necessarily a sign of one pregnancy. They can also appear before menstruation or during menopause. why have I sore breasts ? Is this still a sign of pregnancy? Are the Breasts swell before menstruation ? comment alleviate painful boobs?

Definition: What is the chest?

Each breast rests on a large muscle in the chest called the pectoralis major. The chest covers a fairly large area: in height to the collarbone and in width from the armpit (armpit) to about the middle of the sternum. that The breast is made up of fat, connective tissue, glands and ducts.

What are the symptoms of chest pain?

That Chest symptoms are common. You are the cause of more than 15 million views every year to the doctor. They may just as well be (this is the most common case) mild cases or require counseling.

These symptoms include:

  • Out of swelling and volume changes.
  • A hypersensitivity touch.
  • trouble, a heaviness.
  • Out of Pains (Mastodynia). Note that they are rarely a sign of cancer.
  • Out of nodules (i.e., a lump or bump that feels different than the rest of the tissue surrounding the breast.)
  • Out of skin changes (shrinking, wrinkling, redness, thickening or deepening of the skin surface of the breast).
  • Out of flows comes from the nipple.

Other symptoms may be associated and indicate a complication or pathology of the breasts. In addition to swollen and more sensitive breasts, women can also suffer from it strong pain, a feeling of warmth or the Fever. Other signs are sometimes visible: inflammation, ulceration, discharge of pus, or a chest deformity.

What are the causes of heavy and painful breasts?

If the specter of breast cancer is often present, we should be reassured: in most cases, the causes of breast complaints and especially volume changes and pain are benign and usually linked to hormonal changes. In fact, levels of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone increase particularly just before or during menstruation and during pregnancy. When these levels rise, they cause the mammary glands and milk ducts to enlarge and the breasts to retain fluid. The breasts then swell and are sometimes painful.

“Tight breasts hurt more easily, especially in young women.”

Hypersensitivity or bilateral chest pain can occur as follows:

  • During “key periods” in a woman’s life : in puberty as well“at the beginning of menopause, when there is a hormonal imbalance and before menopause leads to a breakdown of all female hormones and thus an improvement in all benign breast problems in general” explains Dr. wautier.
  • During pregnancy. Breast swelling is also one of the first signs of pregnancy (although it’s not enough to confirm it).
  • while breastfeeding.
  • Periods : Breast swelling is observed one to two weeks before the start of the cycle and may be accompanied by pain (premenstrual syndrome). The symptoms fade or disappear with the onset of menstruation. They can be more painful in teenage girls or in women over the age of 35.

Treatments can also cause discomfort, tenderness, or pain in both breasts:

  • Taking or wearing hormonal contraceptives (pill, plaster, hormone spiral)
  • Taking hormone treatments, especially as part of a PMA

A bra that is too small or incorrectly adjusted and exercise can also cause chest pain. In general, explains Dr. wautier, “Tight breasts, i.e. breasts that consist of more glands than fat, hurt more easily, especially in young women. After menopause the ratio is reversed, there is more fat than glands.” And to continue: “The term ‘mastosis’ denotes any small benign abnormality of the mammary gland associated with this density”.

Pain can also be related to:

  • breast cysts These are benign, sac-like, fluid-filled tumors that grow in one or both breasts.
  • an infection (mastitis) or a breast abscess, especially if the pain is unilateral and accompanied by fever.

Who do you contact for chest pain?

dr Wautier recommends consult if the pain is “New and unusual or if it recurs and causes discomfort”. She advises it consult quickly when “the pain is associated with a change in the chest, either a lump or a red and inflamed appearance of the breast”. We preferably consult a gynaecologist, but your family doctor can also be there for you, especially in emergencies. “Often, explains Dr. Wautier, questions and palpation are enough to provide peace of mind. Sometimes imaging is necessary: ​​a breast ultrasound in young women without risk factors (before 40) and a mammogram in older women.”

The treatment of pain depends on the cause and is determined by your doctor and your gynecologist. In self-medication while waiting for the consultation, Dr. wautier “that there is nothing very effective”. Paracetamol can provide relief. That NSAIDs should be used with caution because you need to be sure there is no infection. Finally, depending on what best relieves your pain, you can apply hot or cold. A Pill modification is the most common method of treating period pain. “This makes it possible to reduce the estrogenic climate, for example we take a pill with less estrogen or a pill without estrogen.” explains Dr. wautier. Macroprogestins may also be useful outside of contraception, as they block the gonadotropic axis and lower hormone levels, which reduces cyclic mastodynia. They also make it possible to stabilize the sometimes painful mammary polyadenomatosis (ie when there are many adenofibromas). progesterone creams have not proven their effectiveness.

thanks to dr Anne Wautier, gynaecologist.

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