Are your breasts trying to get your attention, but you're just not listening? You may only pay attention to your breasts when you're either really cold or about to start your period — well, and during sexytimes, of course. There are actually things your breasts are trying to tell you that can be pretty important, though. Specifically, pain in your breasts can be a good barometer for you overall health; believe it or not, breast pain can signal anything from hormone changes to arthritis to cancer. On the other hand, your breasts could just be telling you that you need to improve your posture, ease up on your workouts, or get a better bra. No matter what the reason, ongoing breast pain isn't something you should ignore.
The most common type of breast pain is cyclical breast pain, or pain, swelling, and tenderness that worsens during certain points in your menstrual cycle, according to the The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. That type of breast pain can usually be alleviated with birth control pills or pain relievers and a heating pad. While you should talk to your doctor about it, it's usually nothing to stress about. Non-cyclical breast pain and breast wall pain are the two other types, and they're usually they types associated with more serious health conditions. Your yearly breast exam is a great time to talk to your doctor about breast health. It could be that the girls are trying to tell you something specific, such as one of the points below.
1. You Drink Too Much Caffeine
Science is mixed about the link between caffeine and breast health. Even though according to The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, decreasing caffeine intake can sometimes help reduce swelling in breasts even though, scientists have found no direct link between breast pain and caffeine. Still, it's worth a try if you really can't figure out what's wrong.
2. You're Not Getting Enough Support
According to the Doctor Susan Love Research Foundation for Breast Health, bras that both don't fit well and don't offer good support can lead to breast problems, especially breast pain. A good-fitting bra should not ride up your back, cut into your shoulders, squish your breasts or fit too loosely.
3. Your Thyroid Is Out Of Whack
Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, sometimes presents as breast tenderness, according to Thyroid.org. You are more likely to also experience symptoms such as weight gain, menstrual irregularities, skin changes, and fatigue.
4. You're Exercising Too Hard
One in three women experience breast soreness or tenderness related to exercise, according to Women's Health. For some women, it's a result of a too-vigorous workout routine. Most of the time, however, it's just related to improper breast support. If your workout routine involves a lot of breast bouncing, make sure you have a sports bra that can take the heat.
5. You Have A Nutritional Deficiency
According to the Doctor Susan Love Research Foundation for Breast Health, increasing your intake of vitamin B6, vitamin B1, and vitamin E may offer relief for breast pain. Sutter Health recommends breast pain patients take calcium and Vitamin E supplements. Talk to your doctor before you start adding these or any other supplements to your diet.
6. You Have Arthritis
Arthritis in your boobs? It sounds odd, I know. But if you have sharp or burning pain in your breasts or in your breastbone area, you could have a form of arthritis known as costochondritis, according to U.S. News & World Report. This pain can feel like a heart attack or injury, as well, and is usually chronic. It's linked to bad posture, so listen to your mom when she tells you to sit up straight.
7. You Eat Too Much Salt
For some women, high salt intake causes water retention, which can lead to breast pain and swelling. according to Sutter Health, which recommends cutting back on salt and increasing water intake to alleviate symptoms. Takeout Chinese food and processed foods in cans and packages tend to be high in sodium. Basically all of the best foods. But all things in moderation.
8. You Have A More Serious Underlying Health Problem
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, there are more than a dozen serious health problems that have breast-related symptoms. These health problems range from mastitis, an infection of the breast tissue, to breast cancer.
While your breast pain could just be cyclical, or the common type that accompanies your menstrual cycle, prolonged or intense breast pain isn't something you should ever ignore, as it could be your body's way of telling you that you need to make some changes or seek medical treatment. So don't ignore your breasts when they're trying to get your attention!
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