Humans are the only primates with permanent breasts which are organs consisting of fat, ducts, and glands. Most women and even men are concerned about this pair of organs for a big chunk of their lives.
Breasts are an inseparable part of the feminine experience. But a common complaint that’s often heard from women is “Why do my breasts hurt and feel heavy?” The answer can be a bit tricky.
Anything that is hurting you or causing pain is always a matter of concern. If the pain is too severe you should immediately run to the nearest physician and get checked. However, sometimes it’s nothing to worry about.
But how will you know? Keep reading to find it out.
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Why Do My Breasts Hurt And Feel Heavy?
Breasts can hurt for several physiological and pathological reasons. Many of these reasons can be perfectly natural, like during periods or pregnancy. On the other hand, some causes of breast pain may be more serious and might require proper medical treatment.
Below, we have listed the 9 most probable reasons for heavy ad hurting breasts. Why don’t you check them out?
1. Hormonal Fluctuations
This is one of the primary causes of pain in the breasts. Usually, the breast tends to get pretty sore 5 days before menstruation starts due to the increase in levels of two hormones- estrogen and progesterone.
During the first trimester of pregnancy, the breasts begin to swell and get tender, which is also known as the earliest sign of pregnancy.
Both the conditions also make the breasts feel heavy as the organ swells up.
2. Ill-fitting Bra
One of the most common causes of pain in the breasts is wearing the wrong type of bra. Our breasts are incredibly sensitive parts of the body and can be bruised easily. So wearing an uncomfortably tight bra for hours can injure your breasts by friction or by cutting off their blood supply.
There can be a handful of causes for a sore and heavy breast during lactation.
If the baby latches on to suck in an unsuitable way, it may cause pain. In addition, if the baby bites the nipple there can be soreness as well. Oversupply of milk causes engorgement which might also be a cause.
Usually, women have this and it’s called mastitis. Symptoms include pain, redness, and swelling- all the classical signs of any infection. It’s very important to consult a doctor if these three signs are seen.
Infections can be pretty easily treated with suitable antibiotics. It’s important to follow the advice of your doctor and take your meds timely.
This is a pretty obvious cause of pain in the breasts. It is a very common phenomenon among athletes. Falling on your chest may cause pain in the breast. This is caused due to bruising or internal bleeding. The pain is usually sharp and shooting in nature and can bother a person for weeks.
If you’ve experienced any sort of injury involving your chest, it is of utmost importance that you see a doctor and get yourself checked out.
6. Pain in The Chest Wall
If there is a muscle pull, broken rib or inflammation, or any other trauma in the chest wall, the effect will obviously lead to painful breasts.
7. Medicinal Side-effects
Medicines such as OCP, medicine for fertility treatment, and hormone therapy may cause soreness and fullness in breasts. Other drugs include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), diuretics, methyldopa, digitalis, and chlorpromazine.
8. Non-cancerous Cysts
These are fibrocystic, free-moving lumps in the breast tissue that may cause soreness and heaviness.
Although non-cancerous cysts are benign, it’s important to consult a doctor and run through some tests. The condition can also be associated with nipple discharge and the lumps may also be found in the armpits during palpation.
This might be frightening but there is always treatment if you go to a doctor on time.
9. Breast Cancer
This may come as a shock because breast cancers are supposed to be painless but the inflammatory ones do cause pain.
Along with that it also represents the other two classic signs of redness and swelling. In addition, the skin around the breast also becomes thick.
To fight breast cancer, the first and most crucial step is to identify the problem in its early stages. If breast cancer can be diagnosed in its early stages, it can be treated relatively easily. For that, it is crucial to be conscious about the health of your breasts and look out for the early signs.
For this reason, it’s very important for every woman to know how to self-examine their breasts. Knowing how to tell the signs may very well be worth your life.
Self-Examine Your Breasts:
Now that you know all the reasons why you should self-examine your breasts, let’s learn how to do it properly.
When to Self-Examine?
Usually, a few days after the period ends, it should be done when there is no hormonal influence in the breasts. Non-menstruating women can do it on any day. You can also keep a track of your findings so that nothing misses out.
How to Self-Examine?
- Start from the nipple and gently massage both breasts in a spiral direction.
- Now massage upwards towards the collar bone
- Next, lift your arm over your head and massage your armpits. Do it for both sides.
- Lastly, squeeze the nipples to check for any discharge.
Do all these steps twice, while lying down and in the shower. Do not use your fingertips, instead use the finger pads. Apply light pressure while inspecting.
If you ever find a lump, there is no need to panic. Consult your doctor who will clinically examine you and for confirmation do an ultrasound or a mammograph or both.
Any abnormality will be treated as soon as it is found. Self-examination thus helps to detect any breast disease ahead of time. Therefore, it is widely encouraged all over the world.
What If You Find Breast Lumps While Examining?
Even if you find lumps in your breast, do not get frightened yet. Because there are several reasons for that as well. Please see these through.
- Fibroadenoma – benign tumour of the breast tissue
- Fibrocystic disease – painful swellings due to hormones
- Intraductal papilloma – benign tumour of mammary ducts
- Mammary fat necrosis – swelling due to trauma
What to do?
Breast pain can be managed by bringing about a positive change in lifestyle and being aware of what affects the health of your breasts.
Here are some of the things you can do to prevent breast pain:
- During pregnancy or period, there is not much you can do, except by bringing certain lifestyle changes.
- Reducing caffeine intake
- Reducing salt intake
- Avoid smoking or drinking
- Avoid fatty and junk food
- In the case of mastitis, a completed course of antibiotics will eliminate the pain. But it should only be prescribed by a doctor.
- Home remedies like hot compression can be very helpful in mild cases.
- During breastfeeding, you can try pumping your breast before feeding the baby to overcome the engorgement. You can also change positions while feeding. You can also try massaging the breast after feeding for soothing effects.
- In case of cancer and cysts, it is always beneficial to see a doctor immediately and follow their instructions like the words of the Holy Book.
Other than that, any undue change in the breast that is causing discomfort should be notified to the doctor immediately.
Breasts are pretty sensitive organs of our body, especially for women. Not only do they help in lactation, but they are also a symbol of womanhood and feminine beauty with which women don’t usually like to compromise.
Hence, it’s very crucial to self-examine yourself so that any untoward event can be assessed and prevented, if needed, also treated.
Is breast soreness common?
Yes, it is common. At least 70% of women face it at one point in their lives.
What is the best time to see a doctor?
If the pain continues for more than two weeks if it’s intolerable and if it’s happening very frequently, you must see a doctor.
What are the risks of breast cancer?
If any of your female relatives like mother, sister or grandmother has or had it. If you have a BRCA mutation, or you had breast cancer before.
Now you know why do your breasts hurt and feel heavy. But don’t be that worried. Because in most cases it’s curable. If you have any further queries, do comment below.
Have a good day, thank you!