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Why chest hurts: 11 harmless and frightening reasons
Why chest hurts: 11 harmless and frightening reasons

Be sure to make an appointment with your doctor if discomfort bothers you for more than two weeks.

Why chest hurts: 11 harmless and frightening reasons
Why chest hurts: 11 harmless and frightening reasons

Pain in the mammary glands (both or one - it doesn't matter) is called mastalgia. And she is familiar to 70% of Breast Pain women. However, doctors insist: discomfort always speaks of a deviation from the norm - sometimes harmless, and sometimes dangerous.

But only 15% of women with chest pain really need serious treatment.

However, it's important to make sure you don't fall into those unlucky percentages. Look for your symptoms in the Top Causes List Why Do My Breasts Hurt? mastalgia.

1. PMS or ovulation

During ovulation or before your period, your breasts may swell and hurt. This is normal, this is how hormones work. True, as in the case of menstruation, you should be more careful: the cyclical pain should not be severe. If discomfort does not allow you to forget about yourself, consult your gynecologist as soon as possible.

There are several ways to recognize normal cyclical pain:

  • both breasts hurt, mainly in the upper and central (at the level of the nipples) parts;
  • the chest is "poured": it swells up, becomes harder to the touch;
  • sometimes the pain radiates to the armpits;
  • painful sensations occur no earlier than 2 weeks before menstruation, and then disappear;
  • you are in reproductive age.

What to do about it

Most often, the discomfort with PMS or ovulation is quite tolerable. Pain relievers such as ibuprofen, paracetamol, or naproxen can be used to relieve pain.

If the pain bothers you every cycle and is already fed up, complain to the gynecologist. Your doctor can help you choose which oral contraceptive pill is or, if you are already taking one, adjust the dosage.

2. Hormonal imbalance

For mastalgia, two hormones are often responsible - estrogen and progesterone. At different periods of life, their ratio can change, and this reverberates with edema and discomfort in the chest. Most often, hormonal imbalance occurs during:

  • puberty (puberty);
  • pregnancy (as a rule, we are talking about the first trimester);
  • breastfeeding;
  • menopause.

What to do about it

If mild pain occurs during any of the above periods, it is generally normal. It is enough to endure the discomfort.

But we emphasize again: you don't have to endure severe pain! If she is present, go to the gynecologist.

3. Lactation

The rush of milk often causes tension and soreness in the breasts. If you are feeding and at the same time observe that the bust has increased by a size or two and aches, this is also normal.

What to do about it

Nothing. The discomfort will disappear on its own as your breasts get used to the new condition.

4. Lactostasis

Sometimes milk ducts are blocked in lactating women. Milk stagnates in them. The chest in the affected area swells even more, hardens (you can feel an elastic lump under the skin), pain occurs even with a light touch.

What to do about it

The best option is to actively feed your baby so that he sucks milk from the spasmodic duct. If this is not enough, try massaging the fluid after feeding. If you have any difficulties, contact a breastfeeding consultant.

5. Mastitis

This is the name of the inflammation of the mammary gland - one or both. Often lactostasis develops into mastitis: stagnant milk causes an inflammatory process. This type of mastitis is called lactational mastitis. But non-lactation options are also possible, when the infection enters the breast tissue through scratches or through the bloodstream.

By the way, "blew the chest" - this is also an example of mastitis. Due to hypothermia, local immunity decreases, and any infection (for example, pathogenic microorganisms that have entered the bloodstream due to a cold or, say, a chronic inflammatory process in the mouth) easily attacks the mammary glands.

The symptoms of mastitis are obvious:

  • body temperature rises to 38 ° C and above;
  • the chest swells, becomes "stone", any touch to it causes sharp pain;
  • the skin on the chest feels hot to the touch;
  • weakness, dizziness, fatigue occur.

What to do about it

Run to the doctor - therapist or gynecologist! Mastitis is not only extremely painful, but also a deadly disease, as it can cause blood poisoning.

In the early stages, mastitis can be treated with antibiotics Treatment of Infectious Mastitis during Lactation: Antibiotics versus Oral Administration of Lactobacilli Isolated from Breast Milk. But if the disease is slightly started, surgical intervention may be required - up to the removal of the affected breast.

6. Fibrocystic changes

With this violation, the chest becomes swollen and soft at the same time. In it, you can find hard fibrous areas (scar tissue similar to internal scars) and cysts (elastic, fluid-filled sacs). It is assumed that the development of fibrocystic changes may be associated with individual hormonal levels and age.

What to do about it

See a doctor to clarify the diagnosis. If we are really talking about fibrocystic changes, treatment is usually not carried out, since the condition is considered harmless. Pain (if any) can be relieved with over-the-counter pain relievers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.

7. Taking some medications

Mastalgia can be a side effect of some drugs. For example:

  • oral hormonal contraceptives;
  • drugs used in postmenopausal women;
  • antidepressants, in particular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors;
  • means for the treatment of infertility;
  • diuretics;
  • antipsychotics.

What to do about it

If you are taking any medications, talk with your healthcare provider if they may be causing mastalgia. If so, think about how you can replace the drug.

8. Injuries

After being hit or squeezed, the chest will hurt. This can even go on for several days.

What to do about it

If the injury was minor and did not cause visible marks (such as bruising or swelling), allow the breasts to heal. Take over-the-counter pain relievers to help manage pain.

In the future, try to protect the chest from injury: the glandular tissue easily turns into fibrous tissue upon impact, nodules and cysts appear in it.

If the injury has visible consequences, just in case, contact your gynecologist.

9. Poorly fitting bra

Too tight underwear squeezes the chest, causing blood congestion and soreness. Alternatively, you have a large bust and your bra is too loose. This stretches the breast tissue, which again causes pain.

What to do about it

Get the right bra size. How to do this, Lifehacker wrote in detail here.

10. Reflected pain

It only seems to you that your chest hurts. The pain actually comes from another organ or tissue. A classic example: you were too active in the gym - pulling up or, let's say, exercising on a rowing machine - and overextended the pectoralis major muscle, which is located under the bust. As a result, the muscle hurts, but it seems as if the chest aches.

Symptoms of mastalgia can include angina pectoris, gallstones, costochondritis (inflammation of the cartilage that connects the ribs and sternum) and some other diseases.

What to do about it

If there is a possibility that mastalgia is associated with muscle strain, wait a couple of days - the pain will go away on its own.

If it does not go away and you have carefully read our list of reasons, but still have not found yours, consult with your gynecologist to rule out other diseases.

11. Fibroadenoma or breast cancer

In both cases, we are talking about tumors: fibroadenoma is benign, cancer is malignant and deadly. At the initial stages, it is difficult to recognize these diseases, but it is possible: they make themselves felt primarily by a lump that is felt in one breast.

Other gradual symptoms:

  • pain or discomfort of unknown origin that does not go away within two weeks;
  • any discharge from the nipple - transparent, bloody, purulent;
  • changes in the color and shape of the nipple: it may "fail" or, conversely, become too bulging;
  • changes in the structure of the skin on the affected breast: it becomes like a lemon peel.

What to do about it

Do not wait for symptoms to worsen. If you feel chest discomfort for more than two weeks or feel a lump in one of the mammary glands, immediately contact your gynecologist or mammologist. The doctor will examine you and possibly give you a referral for a number of tests. Based on their results, an accurate diagnosis will be made and treatment prescribed.

And we remind you: in order not to give oncology a chance, at least 1-2 times a year, undergo an examination by a mammologist.