For me, breast pain is one of the first indicators of premenstrual syndrome, which signals the beginning of the menstrual cycle. I even experience a bit of pain after my cycle. A familiar feeling, I usually ride out the discomfort until it ends on its own, which is typically within a few days. As I’ve gotten older, however, I have experienced breast pain outside of my menstrual cycle.
At first, I chalked it up to my poor sleeping positions or the worn and tattered bras I sometimes wear. After I addressed those issues, the pain continued to persist. Alarmed by the last occurrence, I scheduled the earliest appointment I could with my doctor, who then referred me to a breast care specialist. My anxiety shot through the roof.
Why did I need to see a specialist, and was this something serious? I made my appointment and was informed that I would be receiving an ultrasound and a physical exam by the doctor. Although I was worried, the specialists treated me with care and explained each step. The last stop was with the physician, who would perform my breast exam. As she performed the exam, my doctor shared some interesting facts about general breast pain with me.
Why Do Some Women Experience Breast Pain?
Breast pain, also referred to as mastalgia, can include many uncomfortable sensations that are typically felt in one breast. Both men and women can be affected.
However, with Black women having the highest breast cancer mortality rate, it’s no wonder why Black women (including myself) would be concerned with the sudden onset of breast pain. Thankfully, mastalgia is typically a benign condition that can be addressed with fairly simple solutions.
Breast pain can be caused by trauma, breast size, and other factors. As someone who regularly sleeps on their stomach, and as someone with larger breasts, these causes resonated with me.
Other factors include excessive caffeine usage, medication use, and fatty diets.
What Can Be Done to Relieve Breast Pain?
So, besides cleaning up my diet and changing my sleep position, what else could I do?
My doctor suggested that I massage my breasts with evening primrose oil, which may decrease the pain. This helped tremendously. As an added benefit, it allowed me to get more familiar with the look and feel of my breasts.
Eventually, I ended up making it a part of my monthly self-breast exam. The combination of the massage paired with