Should I Worry About Lumps In My Breasts?
How to Get Rid of Sore Breasts (for Teenagers)
If you are a teenage girl, chances are you're dealing with sore breasts. Your breasts are sore because your body is changing and new hormones are being released. While it is a pain to deal with, there are ways that you can reduce the amount of soreness you feel. These include making some changes in your life (but not very big ones), and taking medicine. It is also important to learn how to recognize soreness caused by something other than puberty.
Making Lifestyle Changes
Wear a supportive bra.When you hit puberty, your breasts tend to get heavier. Not wearing a bra can cause pain because your body isn’t used to carrying this weight around. Wearing a supportive bra can take a load off your body and help keep the pain under control.
Do exercises to relieve soreness.Developing your inner chest muscles, which are called your pectoral muscles, can help you to handle the weight of your growing breasts.To do a pectoral exercise:
- Bend your elbows at right angles and bring them up to your chest level. Lower them to your sides and then bring them again to your chest.
- Do this 20 times in the morning, and 20 times at night.
Eat fruits and vegetables.Citrus fruits and veggies contain lycopene and antioxidants. These can help in reducing the free radicals that are produced in your body and which trigger pain. Citrus produce helps to boost your immune system and strengthen your overall health.
- Good choices of fruits and vegetables include oranges, melons, tomatoes, spinach and papayas.
Reduce the amount of caffeine that you consume.Caffeine contains methylxanthines which are known to cause pain. They stimulate the enzymes of the COX cycle, a mechanism in your body that stimulates pain awareness, thereby increasing the pain you feel.Too much caffeine can also disrupt your sleep cycle, which can worsen pain.Caffeinated products include:
- Coffee and black tea
- Many sodas
- Energy drinks
Reduce your salt intake.Salt can cause you to retain water, and that bloating can cause your breasts to swell.This can increase your soreness. Cut back on your salt intake and make sure you stay hydrated.
Use oils containing vitamin E.Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that serves as an antioxidant. Antioxidants can help protect your body's tissues, including breast tissues, from damage that occurs as the results of free radicals. Vitamin E can also help reduce inflammation that causes pain and tenderness in your breasts.
- Rub an oil containing vitamin E on your sore breasts. Oils high in vitamin E include olive oil, sunflower seed oil, argan oil, and wheat germ oil.
- The long-term use of vitamin E supplements to treat breast pain is not recommended, as some research shows this may be unsafe.
- Evening primrose oil (available over the counter) can be used in the same way as vitamin E oils to reduce breast soreness.
Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).NSAIDs work to reduce pain and inflammation.Common NSAIDs include ibuprofen and naproxen.
- Follow the dosing instructions provided on the NSAID package, or by your doctor.
- Although aspirin is also an NSAID, teenagers should not take aspirin unless a doctor says otherwise, because of the risk of Reye’s syndrome.
Try acetaminophen.Acetaminophen fights pain but does not work against inflammation. Still, it can provide relief from sore breasts. The amount of acetaminophen you take will depend on your age, so follow all dosing instructions carefully.
Recognizing Serious Conditions
Recognize the symptoms of regular sore breasts caused by puberty and your menstrual cycle.If you are a teenager who has sore breasts, you are more than likely going through puberty. This means that your breasts are growing and your menstrual cycle is getting under way. It is normal to experience sore breasts at this time. Common symptoms include:
- Tenderness in your breast, especially in the nipple area. This can be caused by hormonal changes and by wearing a bra that is too tight, or sleeping with a bra on.
- Feeling like you have heavy breasts. As fat and duct cells increase in your breasts, their tissue content also increases.
- Experiencing a warm feeling in your breasts. This occurs because multiple reactions are occurring at the cellular level, when hormones act on the glands and cells.
- See your doctor if the pain is very sharp or constant, is getting worse, or interferes with your daily activities.
Perform regular breast self-examinations.Doctors do not normally require full breast examinations until after the teenage years. However, it is a good idea to get in the habit of performing self-examinations of your breasts, especially if you experience soreness in the area. An exam will help you discover the issue in the rare event that you have a major problem.
Get checked out by a doctor if you notice a lump in your breast.Sometimes you might feel a lot of lumps in your breast; this is caused by estrogen during your period. During puberty, you may also notice harmless lumps (such as breast buds) that are a normal part of your breast development. If you find a hard, unmoving lump, however, or if you are concerned, see your doctor for an examination.
Talk to your doctor if you notice any blood or pus.If you notice any pus or blood coming from your nipple while you are also experiencing sore breasts, you should go to a doctor. Pus or blood suggests an underlying infection, usually treatable with antibiotics.
Monitor other signs of infection.If there is localized (meaning in just one spot) tenderness and warmth in any part of your breast, it could mean you have an infection. This localized tenderness does not necessarily need to be accompanied by pus or blood. Instead, you may notice a part of your breast that is red, painful, or swollen.
Take antibiotics if your breasts are sore because of an infection.Antibiotics are prescribed to combat infections, including those in your breast tissues. Various antibiotics might be prescribed if you have a breast infection; talk to your doctor about which one is right for you.
Talk to a doctor or parent if you may be pregnant.Swollen and tender breasts are an early sign of pregnancy.If you think you might be pregnant, check with your doctor right away.
- Applying a warm compress to sore breasts may help lessen pain.
- Make sure you get plenty of rest if you are feeling sore.
Sources and Citations
- Vorherr H. The Breast: Morphology, Physiology, and Lactation. New York: Academic Press, 1974;20–70.
- Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, V Sivanesaratnam, Alokendu Chatterjee, Pratap Kumar, Essentials of Gynecology, 2nd ed.
- David McKay hart, Jane Norman, Gynaecology Illustrated, 5th edition.
- Russell L.C, Caffeine restriction in initial treatment of breast pain, Nurse Pract, 1989.
- Ferrell,V., Archbold,E.E., & Cherne,H.M. (2004). Natural Remedies Encyclopedia (4th Edition).
- Shyrock,H.(1990). Modern Medical Guide (Revised Edition).
- Smeltzer, S., Bare, B., Hinkle, J., Cheever, K. 2010. Brunner & Suddarth’s Textbook of Medical-Surgical Nursing. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 12th edition
- Shyrock, H. 1990. Modern Medical Guide. Philippine Publishing House. Revised edition.
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