Friday, May 9, 2008

Remedies For Breast And Nipple Pain

While many women experience breast pain, isolated nipple pain is less common. What you describe sounds like breast pain located on or around the nipple, but could also be actual nipple pain. I can offer some advice on both problems.

Breast pain has many possible causes. Normal hormonal fluctuations related to your menstrual cycle can cause breast tenderness and swelling just before your period (cyclic breast pain). Noncyclic breast pain involves a constant or intermittent pain not associated with the menstrual cycle. It tends to occur in older women and in the postmenopausal years. Some causes include breast trauma, pregnancy, benign breast tumors and breast surgery. Breast pain can be associated with breast cancer but it is less common. Medications such as hormonal medications used in infertility treatments, postmenopausal hormone therapy and oral contraceptives are also associated with breast pain.

Some home remedies for mild breast pain include:

  • Hot or cold compresses.
  • Wearing a supportive bra.
  • Limiting or eliminating caffeine. Although medical studies are inconclusive, many women have noted that reducing caffeine improves their symptoms.
  • Simple pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen may alleviate breast pain.
  • Some research supports the effectiveness of oil of primrose in combating breast pain. This is a nutritional supplement available over the counter.

Inverted nipples -- nipples that turn inward -- are not problematic if they have always been inverted. The inversion can be congenital or the result of a breast biopsy or surgery performed on the nipple or surrounding skin (areola). Nipple tenderness may be caused by inadequate lubricant secretion by glands of the areola region, or by excessive moisture that can occur during exercise or breast-feeding. Bacterial or fungal infection of the nipple may also cause nipple tenderness. Tenderness may also result from local trauma, skin breakdown or friction over the area.

A malignancy in the nipple area would result in a noticeable, further retraction of the nipple. Other symptoms of concern include eczema with redness and flaking of the nipple skin.

If you've tried the home remedies and your symptoms persist, you should see your physician. If your nipple inversion is new, you should have a clinical breast examination and evaluation by your health care provider


sasha said...

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