Breast pain is a very common occurrence among women. It occurs due to a host of reasons. Breastfeeding, PMS and pregnancy can leave your breasts feeling sore, tender and painful. This occurs due to the presence of certain hormones in the body. In some cases, the pain is more severe and long lasting especially during the early phases of breastfeeding when the breasts become swollen and engorged.
In such cases, the woman can experience acute discomfot. Here are some ways by which breast pain can be minimized and the soreness reduced.
Tips for Dealing With Swollen and Sore Breasts
Eat a Diet that is Low on Fat
Eating a low fat diet helps women to cope better with swollen and tender breasts. It has been researched that eating a high fat diet makes the breasts more receptive to the presence of certain hormones in the body. This can make your breasts more tender and painful. That is why it is recommended that women eat bland and fibrous foods during their periods to reduce breast pain. Go slow on fatty foods like cream, butter cheese and other saturated fats. Switch to carbs that give more satiety like oats, potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Give your Breasts Proper Support
Tender breasts are not only painful to touch but they can also be acutely painful as you move around. If you are suffering from PMS and are planning to exercise, invest in a good sports bra. The sports bras come with extra padding and broad straps that give your breasts the support that they need. If you are feeding an infant, buy quality maternity bras that give good support to your heavily engorged breasts as engorged breasts can be very sore and painful. Get yourself fitted and measured so that you have a bra that gives good support to your breasts.
Apply Warm or Cold Compresses
Breast engorgement can lead to severely painful and sore breasts. This happens due to the overproduction of milk and a feeding schedule that is still to be established between the mother and the child. Sore breasts can be relieved through the application of warm compresses. These warm compresses applied to the breasts encourage ‘let down’, which makes your breasts leak out the excess milk. This in turn will reduce the sensation of pain and soreness in the breasts. Keep applying warm compresses as soon as you begin to experience breast engorgement.
The Use of Breast Pumps
Sore and painful breasts can also be relieved during breastfeeding with the use of a good quality breast pump. These pumps help to pump out the excess milk and this in turn helps to reduce the feeling of fullness and soreness in the breasts.
Limit your Intake of Caffeine
If you are an avid coffee drinker, curb or limit your intake of caffeine. By limiting your intake of caffeine, you can marginally reduce the discomfort associated with breast soreness and tenderness. Stick to herbal teas and green teas instead.
The intake of certain nutritional supplements like vitamins can help to minimize the discomfort associated with breast tenderness especially during the periods. Speak to your doctor about the kind of nutritional supplements you should be taking.
The pain during breastfeeding can be very acute especially in the first two weeks. Women can take painkillers like aspirin or Tylenol to reduce the inflammation and pain.
Speak to your doctor if it is ok to take certain medicines and painkillers and whether they are safe to take during breastfeeding as they can interfere with the quality of the breast milk.
High levels of stress and anxiety can exacerbate your pain as well as swelling in the breasts. Try to relax and get in as much of rest as you can especially during breastfeeding and PMS.
Keep a Diary
Try to log the intensity and timings of the pain. This will help you to determine whether the pain is cyclic or non-cyclic. You will then be able to arrive at a mode of treatment.
Get a Breast Examination
An acutely painful breast that causes pain, which is non-cyclic in nature, needs to be examined by a doctor immediately. This could be symptomatic of some other breast ailment like a lump or a cyst in the breast. The cysts can be painful and need to be addressed. In accordance with the symptoms, the doctor may also want to carry out a breast mammogram to rule out any other signs of early breast cancer. If you have a family history of cancer, it is wise to get a breast mammogram done every year to detect early stages of the cancer.
Get yourself Tested for Pregnancy
Very painful and swollen breasts are generally a sign of early pregnancy. It is wise to get a pregnancy test done that will help to detect the early signs of pregnancy and help determine if you are pregnant or not.
If you are then you will of course have something to celebrate.
Get Artificial Nipples
Very sore and painful nipples can occur during breastfeeding. Get artificial nipples put on the breasts, which will aid in breastfeeding and will prevent your baby from biting into your sore nipples and causing you pain.
Cut Down on Salt
Cut down on salt while you are on your period. Salt too can cause acute water retention in the body and can make your breasts feel acutely painful and tender. Cutting back on salt can help to minimize the pain and discomfort.
Evening Primrose Oil
Take supplements of evening primrose oil, which has been considered an effective remedy against painful and swollen breasts. You can also massage your breasts with this oil for better results. Of course, you will need large quantities of the oil and will have to massage your breasts at least twice every day.
With the help of the above tips, you can easily combat and counter breast pain, swelling and tenderness that occur due to hormonal fluctuations in the body. If something is amiss, do not hesitate to approach your doctor who will do a thorough check up.