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breast tenderness
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risa73 posted:
For the past two months,my breasts have been very tender. I've had some pain,especially after I remove my bra. I know I'm not pregnant and I have not found any lumps,but they do swell. Any suggestions?
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Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP responded:
Dear risa: Thanks for awaiting an answer.Given that you have ruled out pregnancy, bilateral breast tenderness could be caused by a number of conditions:

1. Hormonal shifts---Women will report breast tenderness when first using birth control pills or postmenopausal hormones. It is usually thought to be linked to estrogen levels. Other times when this MIGHT be a factor include months with missed ovulations (often presenting with missed or erratic periods or being perimenopausal). The hormones stimulate glandular tissue within the breasts.

2. Fibrocystic breasts--Again hormonal stimulation is the underlying cause. There can also be tender masses or lumps. Usually this will appear before menses and resolve after flow. Given that your pain has been constant for the past two months, I rather doubt this is your culprit.

3. Elevated prolactin levels--Increased levels of the pituitary hormone prolactin is one of the more uncommon reasons for bilateral breast pain. Often there is an accompanying change in menstruation patterns, and even nipple discharge.

4. Chest will pain--Pain from the chest wall can be perceived as breast pain. Chest wall pain can arise from trauma, muscle strain, or even the lining of the chest.

risa, there have been many treatments advocated over the years for breast pain. Rather than taking a shotgun approach I would urge you to see a GYN or even your local county family planning clinic. They can do a focused breast exam. If indicated a blood prolactin level can be done. Once a cause has been established then a targeted treatment can be given.

For additional information about treatments check out this link:

http://women.webmd.com/tc/breast-pain-mastalgia-topic-overview

Yours,
Jane


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