2 October 2022

Mastodynia – a popular problem for many women

Mastodynia

Mastodynia what is it?

Mastodynia is the characteristic pain and swelling in the breast, otherwise known as mastalgia. It is the most common symptom of pain in patients who present with breast complaints and undergo examinations. The disorder is accompanied by sensitivity to touch and pain in one or both breasts and pain in the nipple. Mastodynia passes without pathological and palpable tissue changes, such as lumps or induration. There is rarely discharge of discharge from the nipple.

About 70% of women are affected by symptoms. In most cases, the pain is caused by elevated prolactin levels or by what is known as latent hyperprolactinaemia. Pain is divided into two types – cyclical and non-cyclical. The cyclical version usually appears in the second half of the menstrual cycle, and its symptoms subside as soon as your period starts. The pain level of a cyclic mastodynia can vary depending on the phase of the menstrual cycle. The non-cyclical type of mastodynia has nothing to do with menstruation.

Pain in the area of ​​the breasts is accompanied by swelling and excessive enlargement of their size. Sometimes the pain is so severe that it can impair your daily activities, disturb your sleep and make your sex life uncomfortable. The length of mastodynia is irregular, it can last several days or even weeks.

What is Mastodynia about?

The symptoms of mastodynia are the aforementioned swelling and pain in the area of ​​the breast glands. Sometimes the pain is radiating all the way to the armpits or arms. Significant tenderness and a feeling of heaviness in the breasts are also very common. The non-cyclic form of mastodynia is a sharp, burning, even burning pain that sometimes spreads over one breast.

Sometimes mastodynia is interpreted by a doctor as a syndrome of premenstrual syndromes. There are various treatments for this condition. Breast pain in women negatively affects their quality of life. Very often the symptoms of pain are seen as related to cancer, however, the likelihood of malignancies in patients with complaints of breast pain is very low. In one of the studies on the relationship between mastalgia and breast cancer, 5,463 patients were reviewed retrospectively and no correlation with the disease was found.
Before starting treatment, most doctors carry out additional imaging tests to rule out malignant tumors. Mastalgia is usually seen in young people, although it can affect people of any age.

There are publications showing that breast pain is also associated with psychological factors. In one study, the severity of mastalgia showed a significant correlation with depression and anxiety. In such cases, it is also shown that psychotherapy without medical treatment has been successful in many patients.

mastodynia - symptoms

Mastodynia – what helps?

Treatment of mastodynia is determined by its form. If we are dealing with irregular mastodynia, the therapy is aimed at eliminating the factor causing this condition. On the other hand, cyclic mastodymia should be treated with pharmaceuticals aimed at suppressing hormones (estrogens).

When the pain becomes very troublesome, it is worth asking a gynecologist for advice. In order to rule out other causes of pain, the doctor should perform specialist examinations – ultrasound and mammography.

Cyclic mastodynia

Cyclic mastodynia is usually associated with the phases of the menstrual cycle and is caused by hormonal changes in the body. The occurrence of cyclic mastodynia is therefore cyclical and ends with the menopause. Excess estrogen in the second phase of the cycle makes the body bloated, and the lowered progesterone causes swelling and hypersensitivity. The pain starts in the morning, the breasts are swollen and it is difficult to dress. At night, however, it is difficult to find the right position that will not be painful. The pain affects both breasts and usually lasts for several days.

Cyclic mastodynia is more common than non-cyclic. Rather, it affects women in their 30s before their menopause. It is usually bilateral pain and its intensity increases just before menstruation and decreases after menstruation. Cyclic breast pain is determined by the current phase of the menstrual cycle, which means that one of the most common causes is naturally occurring hormonal changes. It is primarily the increasing concentration of estrogens, the excess of which leads to the appearance of edema or puffiness. The excess of this hormone is usually accompanied by a decrease in progesterone content, which results in increased tenderness and swelling. This type of mastodynia usually goes away on its own without treatment.

mastodynia - how to treat

Mastodynia – causes

The pathophysiology of breast pain is not fully understood. Sometimes it may be simply wearing inappropriate underwear and using certain medications. The etiological factors are: high level of fatty acids in the serum, increase in the level of alkaline prolactin and excessive fatty diet. Psychological factors have also been shown to play a large role in some studies. Prolactin rises at night during sleep, and this is a normal, physiological process, but unfortunately prolactin also rises from stress.

Hormonal changes are also the cause of pain, which is when we deal with cyclic mastodynia. Some women experience it throughout the menstrual cycle, others only sporadically.

Situations in which the symptoms of mastodynia are intensified are pregnancy, breastfeeding, menopause, and puberty. However, the causes of pain may be even more: nipple inflammation, inflammation of the mammary gland, breast abscess, shingles, inappropriate clothing, significant body weight fluctuations, or certain medications. Sometimes it also happens that the cause of mastodynia is an injury or too much physical effort.

Mastodynia – home remedies

There are many ways to reduce the pain and swelling of your breasts during your menstrual cycle. In the case of mastodynia, drug treatment is not always necessary. How to deal with its symptoms then? Fortunately, there are also home methods of fighting mastodynia. However, it is very important to eat a balanced diet that helps in the fight against pain. You should also eliminate caffeine and theophylline from your diet and avoid alcohol. Reduce your salt intake as much as possible during the week or before your period. First of all, stop using white salt and chew on Himalayan salt. It is much milder and much healthier. Salty foods can be a source of breast pain because they cause bloating. It is also important to take vitamins from group E, A and B, their action reduces the swelling and hypersensitivity of the breasts. In particular, a low-fat diet is recommended, switch to the use of naturally occurring triglycerides. Preparations containing substances such as chasteberry extract, evening primrose oil, cyclamen and tiger lily extract, and black cohosh extract turn out to be effective. Natural preparations that do not contain hormones can significantly help us in the fight against pain. Those containing monk chaste, which restores the hormonal balance and reduces the level of prolactin, work very well. Research confirms that taking such preparations for about 3 months is effective in relieving pain and swelling in the breasts. evening primrose oil, cyclamen and tiger lily extract, black cohosh extract. Natural preparations that do not contain hormones can significantly help us in the fight against pain. Those containing monk chaste, which restores the hormonal balance and reduces the level of prolactin, work very well. Research confirms that taking such preparations for about 3 months is effective in relieving pain and swelling in the breasts. evening primrose oil, cyclamen and tiger lily extract, black cohosh extract. Natural preparations that do not contain hormones can significantly help us in the fight against pain. Those containing monk chaste, which restores the hormonal balance and reduces the level of prolactin, work very well. Research confirms that taking such preparations for about 3 months is effective in relieving pain and swelling in the breasts.
However, it should be remembered that home or pharmacological treatment will be more effective if we choose the bra correctly. A well-fitting bra is especially important, especially when the breasts are large.

In addition, it is very often recommended to increase magnesium supplementation, which soothes pain. It is best to take it in the second phase of the cycle, as it will additionally alleviate the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. It is also worth excluding chocolate, cocoa and colorful and energizing drinks from your diet. It is very important to eat enough fruit and vegetables, especially leafy greens. The diet must be enriched with cold-water fish, nuts, flax, sesame and unrefined vegetable oils. Eating soy products turns out to be a very good solution (don’t worry about genetically modified soy, you will also find the unmodified one in the store). This may be because eating tofu instead of dairy is good for your breasts. It is enough to look at the Asian culture, mastodynia is much less common there,

Cold compresses are also effective for breast pain, and yam gel can also be rubbed into sore areas. A great solution is self-massage of sore breasts. The easiest way to do this is in the shower or bathtub. Start at the nipple area and massage outwards in circular motions. This way, you will improve circulation and drainage in your breasts, which will reduce your pain.

Pain can be minimized by the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and even the use of local anesthesia. Pharmacological treatment is based on blocking the action of estrogen hormones on the breast receptors. These include birth control pills or Bromocriptine, which blocks prolactin in the hypothalamus.

Non-cyclic mastodynia

Completely different causes are caused by non-cyclic mastodynia. Non-cyclic pain feels more like chest wall pain than the breast itself, and is not related to the menstrual cycle. Non-cyclical pain can be felt continuously or intermittently. It is less common than the cyclic type and is rather in women over 40. This type of pain usually occurs after the menopause. Usually it is located on one side and felt in one place. Common factors are also inflammation of the breast or abscess of the mammary gland, cysts, fat necrosis of the breast, excessive dilatation of the milk ducts, Mondor’s disease (thrombophlebitis of the superficial veins within the walls of the chest). Non-cyclic mastodynia may also occur in pregnant women, breastfeeding women and women wearing poorly fitting underwear.

Katarzyna Kroteniuk

Editor-in-chief of diet4u.org blog

View all posts by Katarzyna Kroteniuk →

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