Why Do My Breasts Hurt and Feel Heavy: To Be Concerned or to Ignore?

Humans are the only primates with permanent breasts which is an organ 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.

So, should you be worried about why do my breasts hurt and feel heavy?

Well, the answer to this is an obvious yes. 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.

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.

Why Do My Breasts Hurt And Feel Heavy?

Breasts can hurt for several physiological and pathological reasons. So we have listed out all the probable reasons down below. Why don’t you check those out?

why-do-my-breasts-hurt-and-feel-heavy

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.

Breastfeeding

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.

Infection

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.

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.

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. Rush to your doctor immediately when you see this in your body.

breast-cancer

Injury

This is a common phenomenon among sportspeople. Falling on your chest may cause pain in the breast. The pain is usually sharp and shooting in nature and can bother a person for weeks.

A bra too tight will suffocate the breasts while a bra too loose will make the breasts move here and there causing strain on the muscles and hence pain at the end of the day.

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.

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.

Ill-fitting Bra

A bra too tight will suffocate the breasts while a bra too loose will make the breasts move here and there causing strain on the muscles and hence pain at the end of the day.

How to Self-Examine Your Breasts?

Now that you know all the causes you may be concerned about what is your case. But before being so sure, you need to self-examine your breast. 

When to Self-Examine?

Usually, a few days after the period ends, because 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. Go to 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?

  • 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.

FAQs

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.

Final Words

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!

Subah Zareen
Wholesomealive.com -a blog about Healthy Living
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