Breast Pain and Its Causes


What is Breast Pain?

Breast pain (also known as mastalgia) is extremely normal, with the most common cause being cyclic mastalgia where your breast may become tender, painful, swollen and/or lumpy prior to your menstrual cycle. 

What’s Epigenetics?

Epigenetics is the study of how external factors such as your behaviour and environment can affect the way your genes function. Particular psychological and psychiatric focuses involve how stress, addiction and depression in parents could be inherited by their children or how the environment they grow up in may affect their psychology. [1][2][3][4][5]

For example, more evidence has been accruing that the use of cannabis by both parents before and mothers during pregnancy can cause an epigenetic alteration in your neonates associated with an increased risk of psychiatric disorders developing later in the child’s life – this includes autism, ADHD and schizophrenia among others. [6][7][8][9]

Common Reasons for Breast Pain

Premenstrual breast swelling/tender or cyclic mastalgia is when you experience breast pain due to fluctuating hormone levels as they rise and fall during a normal menstrual cycle; the exact time these hormonal changes occur is  different for each woman. The pain itself is a result of your hormones rising, this is because oestrogen causes your breast ducts to enlarge and progesterone production leads to swelling of the milk glands – both of these can cause your breasts to feel sore. Both oestrogen and progesterone increase during the second half of your cycle (around days 14 to 28 in a typical cycle). Oestrogen levels will peak closer to the middle of your cycle, whereas progesterone levels will peak in the week preceding menstruation. [10][11][12][13]

Breast pain can also be caused by factors not linked to your menstrual cycle (non-cyclic mastalgia), this may be due to having large breasts, injury (usually tissue damage due to bruising or previous surgery) or a benign breast condition. Some causes of benign breast lumps are abscesses, cysts, fibroadenomas, fat necrosis, galactoceles, hematomas and sclerosing adenosis. Furthermore, breast pain may be due to a side-effect of a drug treatment, such as certain antidepressants. Finally, the pain might not actually be breast pain but instead chest pain as a result of a pulled muscle or inflammation around the ribs. [10][13][14][15]

Of course, the easiest way to figure out if breast pain is related to your menstrual cycle is whether or not the pain flares up in time with your cycle.

Breast Cancer – When Should You See a Doctor?

If you have breast pain, it is unlikely to be caused by breast cancer as it is unusual for breast cancer to be inflammatory (symptoms of inflammatory breast cancer include: red/discoloured, swollen/heavy and painful breasts). No matter what, if you feel you may have inflammation or a lump caused by breast cancer, you should see your doctor as soon as possible – it’s better to be safe than sorry. [10][16][17][18]

The Psychosomatic Aspects of Breast Pain

Psychosomatic medicine explores how social, psychological and behavioural factors affect the quality of your life and the different processes that occur within your body; primarily how stress can manifest symptoms such as bodily pains – stress and anxiety have also been linked to breast pain. [15][19]

Famous deceased author – and global publishing house mogal – Louise Hays says that pain in the left breast may be the result of feeling unloved and refusal to nourish one’s self due to excessive selflessness.

This can be affirmed with the mantra “I am loved and nourished by all around me”.

Alternatively, pain in the right breast may be a result of overprotection, overbearing or difficulty in giving love; this can be affirmed with the mantra “I embrace and trust life knowing that I am safe and loved. I choose to love and be loved”.



How to Alleviate Breast Pain


Dietary Changes

What you’re eating may have an effect on your breasts, for example, some find that eliminating caffeine from their diets helps to alleviate breast pain (although it may take some time for you to feel any difference). Another dietary change you can make to ease breast pain is to reduce the amount of fat (specifically saturated fats) in your diet while increasing the amount of fibre; you can do this by only eating low-fat dairy in addition to eating wild, small, oily fish instead of other meats. [15][20]


How you treat your body can have a strong impact on your health, as such exercise has been shown as a great way to improve breast tenderness, by lowering your oestrogen levels – additionally smoking is never good for your health. Some less active ways to relieve breast pain by changing your lifestyle are to make sure you’re wearing a well-fitting, supportive bra and by applying warm compresses to your breast(s). [10][20]


There are various nutritional supplements you can take which can relieve painful breasts, these include blackcurrant seed oil or borage oil which can often be found in food stores and dietary flaxseed which is also an excellent source of polyunsaturated fatty acids. [20]

Another fantastic nutritional supplement that you can use is evening primrose oil which contains the polyunsaturated fatty acids that may be important to breast health and have been shown in double-blind studies to reduce the symptoms of breast pain. Many doctors recommend taking approximately three grams of evening primrose oil per day for at least six months. [20][21][22][23][24][25][26]

You can learn more about evening primrose oil in the section below titled “Suggested Reading”.

What to Do Now?

Book a consultation with Fiona Boulton to get all kinds of fertility and hormonal help. You can book a “first-time” complimentary consultation (for new clients only) when you sign up to our Awakening Fertility Newsletter:

Suggested Reading:

If you are interested in reading further into the health benefits of evening primrose oil, such as how it can amplify your fertility through the strengthening of your cervical membrane, then you should consider further reading the topic in the linked article here:

Evening Primrose Oil For Fertility – Benefits and Cautions for Evening Primrose Oil | Awakening Fertility




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