Breast pain or discomfort is not unusual during menopause. It is listed among the 34 menopausal symptoms. However, women can also experience other conditions of the breast that result in pain or soreness.
Some conditions of the breasts with or without discomfort that require a follow up with a health care provider include fibrocystic breasts (also known as – chronic cystic mastitis, mammary dysplasia, cystic breasts, cystic disease). These conditions might or might not be associated with pain, but the breasts may feel ‘lumpy’. Some initial tests might not be very clear. If this happens, your doctor or Radiologist sometimes will request further tests such as a mammogram, a Sonogram, MRI, or may repeat the test that was initially done.
Women who are starting to breastfeed sometimes also experience painful breasts (breasts feel full, heavy, as the milk begins to come in). This is different from mastitis (redness, fever); abscess (might be due to staphylococcus aureus); and benign or cancerous tumors to name a few. Cancerous tumors tend to be more painful as the disease becomes worse.
It is important to differentiate between breast discomforts that might be due to menopause and those that are not. Women are being advised to seek medical attention for pain or discomfort of the breasts; and to insist on having a sonogram or mammogram to aid a definite diagnosis. Even for women who are menopausal, until a diagnosis is made, it should not be assumed about what is causing the breast discomfort.
My recent experience with breast pain, for example. What I heard about breast pain and menopause and what I experienced were totally different. I had heard that pain of the breasts often occurs during menopause, but seemingly, I had never fully understood how severe the pain could be. The pain I felt was only in my right breast. It lasted just over a day. After sharing my experience with other menopausal women, it was affirmed that perceptions and experiences are frequently not the same. It also confirmed that everyone’s experience might be different, and that by sharing our experiences, someone might be helped.
Due to the fact that my breast pain came a day after experiencing menopausal electric shock in the same breast, I am inclined to believe that the pain was one of the 34 menopausal symptoms. I am however, following through with my doctor to have a mammogram in order to stop my guessing whether this breast pain was indeed due to menopause. As soon as I get the result, I will share the outcome.
Claudette McFarquhar is a Registered Nurse with a PhD in Adult Education and Leadership. She has over 30 years of experience as a Nurse, and as an Educator. She has a wealth of experience and information about Menopause that she shares freely at her website. To learn more, and join the discussion about various aspects of menopause, visit http://yourhealthwise.com and get information that could change your life.