Sore Nipples & Breasts | Women

Come June, we would add a "health" tab to the top of the website to help you access post(s) like this with ease. We all know that it is important to keep our body in good condition by caring for our health. He who has health, has hope; he who has hope, has everything. The health tab would cover tips for men & women, young& old; this particular post is for the ladies.

Sore nipples and/or sore breasts are something you may experience at various times in your reproductive cycle (don’t be frightened off by the big words!). They can mean various things depending on what’s going on in your body at that time. So let’s talk about what sore nipples and sore breasts may mean for you.

BEFORE MENOPAUSE

There are 2 main reasons for sore nipples/breasts before menopause:
(1) Post-ovulation - During your menstrual cycle the 2 main hormones at work are:

  • estrogen before ovulation and
  • progesterone which starts to act around the time of ovulation
Progesterone causes water to be retained in the body. The main reason for this is to prepare the uterus for a possible pregnancy by making the uterus rich in water and food for the anticipated pregnancy. Unfortunately, this same effect is felt throughout the body. Storing of water in the breast tissue causes it to become stretched leading to painful breasts and sore nipples. It is much worse for some women than others. If you’ve had any trouble getting into your skinny jeans in the second half of your cycle, that’s what we’re talking about. If a pregnancy does not occur, progesterone levels start to fall about a week before your next period. Gradually, you pee out the water that your body has stored.

(2)Pregnancy – If the egg that is released from the ovary during ovulation is fertilized and starts to grow in the womb, then progesterone and estrogen levels will continue to increase to sustain the pregnancy. Of course this means that the breast tenderness will get worse.

If you start having sore breasts and nipples a few days after ovulation, you can’t assume that you’re pregnant. A good sign (if you’re trying to conceive that is!) is if the breast discomfort does not subside and the breasts continue to increase in size and your period is 7-10 days late. You still need to be a bit careful because, although pregnancy is the commonest cause of a missed period, there are other causes including extreme stress and perimenopausal changes.

MENOPAUSE


Sore breasts and nipples can occur as part of what is known as the climacteric syndrome. Symptoms of the climacteric syndrome include:
  • hot flashes,
  • sleeplessness,
  • weight gain and bloating,
  • mood changes,
  • irregular menstruation,
  • painful breasts
  • headaches
The climacteric syndrome is caused by wildly fluctuating hormone levels and irregular functioning of the ovaries. It is not caused by an absence of estrogen. That is why hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and oral contraceptives are sometimes prescribed to try and even out the hormone levels.

Sore nipples and breast cancer

Sore nipples can be a warning sign for breast cancer. In a condition known as Paget’s disease of the nipple, the nipple becomes irritated with redenning, pain and sometimes itching. It progresses gradually until the nipple is completely worn down. Paget’s disease of the nipple shows that there is an underlying cancer in the breast tissue. Any persistent irritation should be investigated by your doctor.

Credit: MenopauseLifestyle

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