Breast Pain, or Mastalgia, is another symptom of perimenopause caused by fluctuating hormones during midlife hormone transition.
Both oestrogen and progesterone hormones affect breast tissue. High oestrogen stimulates breast tissue while progesterone has a calming effect that can relieve breast pain. Breast pain is caused by high oestrogen in the absence of progesterone and therefore usually occurs with an anovulatory cycle (a cycle in which ovulation does not occur and therefore no progesterone is produced). Mastalgia can be cyclical (pre-menstrual) or non-cyclical (occurring at any time). Cyclical mastalgia is timed with your menstrual cycle and causes dull, aching, heaviness in both breasts. Non-cyclical mastalgia may be constant or sporadic and causes burning or tightness often in one area of the breast and is usually experienced by postmenopausal women. 5 ways to relieve breast pain naturally: 1. Eat more phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are plant chemicals which bind to oestrogen receptors and have an anti-oestrogen effect which helps to reduce symptoms of excess estrogen. Phytoestrogen foods include legumes (whole soybeans, lentils, chick peas), sprouted foods (alfalfa, mung beans etc) and linseeds/flaxseeds. 2. Support healthy oestrogen metabolism. Oestrogen metabolism is the detoxification and removal of oestrogen from the body which can reduce the severity of symptoms caused by high oestrogen during perimenopause. Eat plenty of foods rich in B vitamins along with cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kohlrabi) to support the detoxification process in the liver. 3. Low Histamine Diet. High Histamine foods can activate mast cells, causing the release of histamine which contributes to perimenopausal symptoms including breast pain, heavy bleeding and sleep disturbance. Histamine sensitivity is often increased during perimenopause as a result of high fluctuating oestrogen. It is best to consult with your health professional before starting a Low Histamine diet. 4. Iodine. Iodine is an excellent supplement to support oestrogen metabolism, treat fibrocystic breasts and reduce breast pain. *Iodine is not indicated for people with thyroid disease, so it is important to speak to your health practitioner about thyroid antibody testing before starting iodine supplements. 5. Reduce your alcohol intake. Alcohol consumption can cause inflammation in breast tissue, impair oestrogen metabolism and increase the breast tissue's sensitivity to oestrogen.
*If you are experiencing breast pain along with pus or discharge from the nipple, redness, fever or changes in breast tissue (lumps, skin puckering or change in breast size) you should consult your doctor for further investigations.