Mastalgia, more commonly known as breast pain, can make some of us get panicky. But not all kinds of breast pain is associated with breast cancer. There are two main types of breast pain – cyclical and non-cyclical breast pain. Cyclical breast pain is associated with the menstrual cycle. It can happen either mid-cycle or a week before your period starts. It normally stops during your period.
Non-cyclical breast pain is when it doesn’t follow the period cycle. This pain will be there throughout the month whether you are on your period or not. Non-cyclical breast pain is associated with surgery, infections, injuries and growth of cysts. Breast cancer is not linked with cyclical breast pain but it is rarely linked to non-cyclical breast pain.
Consult a doctor if you have lumps in your breast along with the pain. The breasts would feel tender, firm, engorged and warm. Go for a proper and thorough physical exam to know for sure. If you have localized pain, you should go for an ultrasound. If there are lumps, you should get a mammogram
Here are a few things you can do to ease the pain:
Massaging your breasts can help ease the pain that happens before your period. Mix castor oil with a lighter oil such as almond oil or olive oil and then massage it onto your breasts. For better results, warm up the oil before the massage. You could also try massaging while bathing – use the soap to massage the breasts gently. Start massaging from the middle and then work your way outwards. Avoid putting soap around the nipples if you are breastfeeding.
Dandelion is a natural diuretic that can help deal with the pain and tenderness in your breasts. It contains a lot of potassium which helps prevents water retention by flushing out the excess fluids in your body. Prepare a hot cup of dandelion tea and add a bit of honey to this tea. Drink 2 cups of this every day to notice the difference.
You can either use it to massage your breasts or take it orally as a pill. It helps the body respond better to hormonal changes thus, reducing the breast pain.
Warm Compress/Ice Packs
Grab a couple ice cubes and put them into a sealable plastic bag. Cover the bag with a soft cloth and place this over your breasts for 10 minutes. You could even do this with a warm compress. You could try alternating the warm compress and ice packs over your breasts to reduce swelling.
You could consult your doctor and take some over the counter pills to reduce the breast pain. They may recommend an aspirin or ibuprofen to help with the pain. There are certain medicines that are used for severe breast pain but they come with side effects. So, use with caution.