If you are already near your expected period, it is usually expected that you will experience PMS or premenstrual syndrome, which is associated with breast pain, engorgement, and symptoms almost similar to early pregnancy. These symptoms are suggestive that you have ovulated. Pregnant women, on the other hand, will experience these symptoms because their progesterone levels are kept high.
However, there are some occasions when the woman continues to feel pain within the actual menstrual phase and even has sore breasts after her period. This also does not suggest that you are pregnant because the fact that you just had your period tells you otherwise. So what can be the reasons why sore breasts and engorgement sometimes intensifies after periods?
Breast pain, medically known as mastalgia or mastodynia, is a symptom associated naturally with pre-menstruation. It is a common cause for concern among women, especially those belonging to Western industrialized nations because they immediately suspect that it is cancer, which is actually rare for the disorder. The pain can be very minor, but it can also be incapacitating at times. Breast pain related to weaning, pregnancy, and lactation is not classified under mastalgia. There are two type of breast pain, namely: cyclical and non-cyclical mastalgia (less common).
Causes of Sore Breasts
Sore breasts after a period can result from a variety of factors. Although it normally ceases during periods, there are also instances when it can be worsened because of too much ingestion of certain foods and taking some drugs.
- Caffeine and methylxanthine derivatives are popular food components known for their vasodilating action. As a result, the blood vessels servicing the breasts dilate and cause distention and pain.
- Salt-rich foods - Salty food products also induce breast pain because of their water retention properties. Too much salt in the diet will preserve more water in body tissues and strains the breast.
- Fatty foods - Recent studies have shown that animal fat can also contribute to increasing soreness in breasts. Although the exact reason is still unclear, some believe that it is linked to the animal hormones and what they were eating.
- Dairy products - Like fatty foods, the reason for dairy products inducing sore breasts is not yet clearly established. But some suspect that women who experience extreme breast pain or sore breasts after periods may be allergic to some components of the dairy products.
- HRT and birth control pills - Hormone replacement therapy may not be in line with what the woman actually needs. Some pills also contain additives that may produce more pain among very sensitive women.
- Hormonal change - This is a common occurrence, especially if you are near menopausal age. At this time, estrogen and progesterone levels become imbalanced.
- Stress - As in most diseases, stress is a dark force that can lead to several systemic changes that lead to pain.
As long as your breasts are not reddened, not warm to touch, have no abnormal nipple discharges, and do not have extremely palpable bumps, then sore breasts after a period should not be a cause for alarm.
Treatments for Sore Breasts
Treatments for sore breasts may vary across different cultural ethnicities. For example, Brits are said to use primrose oil while Italians take vitamin E supplements. Russians even place cabbage leaves that are said to relieve pain. But in the more general sense, other interventions include:
- Topical iodine applied on the breast
- NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like Advil creams have been observed to work against sore breasts.
- Castor oil pack - This is prepared by soaking a piece of cloth with castor oil and then applying it over the sore skin area. The woman needs to lie down and use the pack for at least 20 minutes.