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About menopause breast tenderness & lumps

Updated November 21, 2016

If you are peri-menopausal or menopausal your body may react similarly to how it did when you were going through puberty, and first sprouting breasts, or when you were in the first trimester of pregnancy. Both puberty and early pregnancy can result in painfully tender and lumpy breasts. Menopause can, too. Hormones that are running amok can target breast tissue and make a woman extremely uncomfortable, so much so that she can't stand for anyone to touch her breasts, let alone to lie on her stomach.

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Fibrocystic Breasts

If your breasts feel tender, sore and even lumpy you may have fibrocystic breasts, according to Healthline. Hormones can exacerbate this condition, which is not cancer. It is a common condition and is not considered a disease.

Tissues Swell and Hurt

The same hormones that control your menstrual cycle can be responsible for making glandular tissue swell, so notes Healthline. When your breasts swell, this stretches the fibrous tissues, which results in soreness and tenderness. Cysts can develop in your breasts due to these hormones, which can result in fluid-filled lumps (the cysts). These tender, lumpy cysts are more noticeable prior to your menstrual period and may be even more noticeable if you are peri-menopausal and your hormones are all over the place. Cysts are not cancerous, for the most part. They are generally benign.

Lumpiness and Tenderness Can Increase During Menopause

Womens-health-co.uk explains that overgrowth of fibrous tissue in the breast, which is called fibrosis, or the increase in cells in the breasts' supporting tissues results in fibrocystic breasts. Ducts in the breasts that normally drain secretions become blocked and this creates breast cysts. It's not unusual for this to happen to a menopausal woman and is associated with hormonal changes. Increasing lumpiness and tenderness can happen as menopause approaches.

Periductal Mastitis

Menopausal and post-menopausal women can develop a breast infection called periductal mastitis. When this occurs, the milk ducts have become inflamed. Symptoms of this include the development of a breast lump; inflamed milk ducts in the areola, which is the skin that surrounds the nipple; nipple discharge or nipple retraction and breast pain.

Water Retention, Hormones at War

Retaining water is one of the reasons that breasts get tender. This problem can get worse during menopause or it may actually resolve itself at this time. It differs with each woman, according to Project Aware. Dr. John Lee notes that fibrocystic breasts are often the result of too much oestrogen and not enough progesterone, which is one of the hormonal occurrences that is associated with menopause. He recommends using natural progesterone and taking Vitamin E and Vitamin B6 to prevent breast tenderness.

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About the Author

Cindi Pearce

Cindi Pearce is a graduate of Ohio University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She completed both the undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the Institute of Children’s Literature. Pearce has been writing professionally for over 30 years.

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