Breast pain also referred to as Mastalgia is a common condition that can be described by burning, tenderness, sharpness, throbbing, or tightness in breast tissues. Women experience these signs at one point or another in their lifetime. Lately, this condition has received a lot of public attention because of breast cancer, which is one of the leading killer diseases among older women. So, it begs the question; can caffeine cause breast pain after menopause?
Caffeine does not cause breast pain directly. However, experts argue that drinking too much coffee can lead to hormonal changes, which in turn lead to the formation of breast cysts. This is what many people refer to as breast pain.
Although research on whether caffeine can cause pain after menopause or not is not clear-cut, caffeine plays a significant role in certain women in cyclical breast pain, (you will learn more about types of breast pains later in the article). What is more, caffeine plays a huge role in one’s sex life.
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Relationship Between Caffeine and Breast Pain
But you may be asking yourself what is the relationship between caffeine and breast pain? Well, caffeine has a chemical called methylxanthine that enlarges vessels. When they expand, they cause the breast to swell thus becoming painful (effect may be minimal).
Jane Emilie Mendez, MD, the head of breast surgery at Miami Cancer Institute agrees that caffeine plays a role in breast pain. “Caffeine, even a small amount, can at times be problematic as it may increase in premenopausal women who have fibrocystic breasts,” says Mendez.
To bring this into perspective, I looked at a study done by Duke University, which indicates that 61% of women with breast pain who stop the use of caffeine, had reduced pain. You should understand that the use of caffeine increases the level of cortisol, which is the stress hormone. Its increase interacts with other hormones, which may cause pain.
It is worth mentioning that so many women have anxiety about breast pain after menopause thinking it is breast cancer. But it is only 2%-7% with non-cyclical breast pain are likely to be positive of cancer.
So, you should not be on the worry in the event of any pain until you confirm with your doctor about the condition.
Even though this article is to focus on caffeine and breast pain, a holistic view of the condition can better equip you so that you be in the know. Breast pain after menopause is not necessarily caused by caffeine. There are several other causes of breast pain.
Major Cause of Breast Pain Post Menopause
The major cause of breast pain after menopause is hormonal fluctuations. During this period, the level of estrogen and progesterone change during the transition to menopause.
With too little progesterone or too much estrogen, you can feel breast pain. No specific hormone is known to be the single cause of the pain.
The reason for this is that in menopause, ovaries don’t produce estrogen. What takes that role in fat tissue, which is stored in breasts, stomach, and so on.
Excess fat can give some symptoms, which are related to the menstrual cycle experience.
Other than that, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) that is used at menopause may cause breast pain. It is used to treat menopausal symptoms and protect long-term health. This explains the reasons why some women experience breast pain even after menopause.
So, in the event you get pains after using HRT, do not hesitate to consult your physician or doctor.
Be on the look because there are some other causes of breast pain after menopause:
- Heart disease
- Fibrocystic breast disease
- Breast cysts
- Sore breasts and menopause
- The wrong bra
What Are the Symptoms of Breast Pain?
The varying experiences of these pains by different women can throw you into confusion and anxiety. But I won’t want you to be in such a situation; I have listed some of the symptoms which include;
- Pain in one or both breasts
- Throbbing or sharp pains
- Breasts becoming too tender to touch
- A certain increase in the size of the breasts
- Some discharge in the nipple
Notably, these symptoms vary from one person to another and therefore you should better understand yourself.
Types of Breast Pains
Breast pain is not a blanket condition that we can say is pain and it should be looked like just one. They differ in types from what is purely hormonal to others which are caused by physical factors. These types are;
This is hormonal pain associated with the timing of the menstrual cycle and is usually aching. It affects both breasts and it increases gradually towards your periods. It has the most likelihood of affecting the perimenopausal and pre-menopausal stages.
It is a non-hormonal pain that has an association with general sourness, tightness and it is burning. It is mostly experienced by post-menopausal women and it is in one breast at a particular point.
The other name is chest wall pain and it has no relationship with the breast. It is commonly caused by rib injuries, inflammation of costal cartilage, and torn muscles in the chest or shoulder.
This type of pain, almost the same as extramammary, can begin from the regions of the rib which then spread to the breasts. There are several things associated with this including straining, injuries, and forceful cough.
How to Reduce Or Eliminate Breast Pain
If you are experiencing cyclical breast pain, you may have to diet out caffeine for a few weeks to see if it will reduce. Of course, each woman is different, but if you know you have been using caffeine, get the feeling after the break. Should there be persistence, then you may have to look at the other causes of breast pain.
If the pain is no as a result of caffeine, you can consider:
- Changing diet
- Drinking more water
- Do some excises
- Take a hot shower
- Avoid or reduce smoking
- Wearing fitting and well-supportive bras
PS. I should emphasize this last point because many women have been reporting on the discomfort caused by bras mostly underwire bras. They may cause bruises under the breasts, straps, or chafing at the sides. This indicates it doesn’t fit your body.
Briefly, some breast pains after menopause can be caused by caffeine. However, caffeine is not the sole or primary cause of all breast pains that come after menopause. There are several other factors. When you experience any pain in your breast, try to know the exact symptoms and how your body behaves generally. Always, seek medical advice especially if the pain lasts longer or keeps recurring.