Swollen Breasts

Swollen breasts may be symptoms of puberty, menstruation, pregnancy or menopause. They may also be indications of more serious medical complications. At times, swollen breasts may occur alongside tender or sore sensations. The discomfort associated with swollen breasts may be intense or mild, the the duration may be temporary or prolonged. Generally this condition is not a sign of a major problem. However, there is a chance that medical attention should be sought.


Menstrual Cycles and Other Causes

1. Puberty

The permanent growth and temporary swelling of breasts during puberty are natural occurrences. This is caused by the increased amount of hormones surging through the body at this time. The pain is often mild and temporary. However, extreme pain or excessive duration is possible, and medical advice may help manage the sensations.

2. Menstruation

Due to an increase of progesterone and estrogen, the breasts become swollen during menstruation. Because of this increase in weight, pressure and unpleasant sensations may be present. The pains associated with swollen breasts may be tingling or soreness. Normally these pains will subside over the duration of the cycle.

3. Pregnancy

A primary sign of pregnancy is swollen breasts. While many women may become concerned about pregnancy due to swollen breasts, it is not always an indication. If pregnancy is possible, then it is beneficial to speak with a medical professional when first possible.

4. Menopause

Pressure and pain associated with swollen breasts during menopause is normal, though generally not an problem. If excessive pain or duration persists, then it may be helpful to speak with a doctor. If fluid is secreted, then make contact with a medical provider as soon as you are able.

5. Breastfeeding

Whether or not a woman chooses to breastfeed, the breasts may begin their natural production of milk. This is normal and healthy, though at times it may be painful and unpleasant. Suckling may cause increased swelling, and teething children may cause bruising. Unless the pain is unbearable, it is normal and nothing to be concerned about.

6. Birth Control

Birth control is known for modifying your natural hormones. Because of this, birth control may play a role in causing swollen breasts and the pain that is associated with the swelling. When you use hormonal modifying drugs, it is common to experience symptoms like headaches, unusual bleeding and other symptoms. If you are experiencing painful sensations and you are on birth control, then it may be advisable to speak with your medical provider. There are other options available, and it may be wise to consider another birth control option like an IUD instead of hormonal contraception.

7. Medical Conditions

Lumps: While lumps may be a sign of cancer, they are generally caused by natural occurrences. Breast lumps may be the result swollen mammary glands that are normally used for milk production. They may also be cysts, which normally are not a cause for concern. Many people develop cysts on different parts of their body that never become cancerous. However, it is always possible that cancer may be the cause. Speak with a medical professional to learn how to determine the difference. Your doctor may also want to do a biopsy to be certain that the lump is not caused by cancer.

8. Breast Cancer

If lumps are associated with intense pain, it is advisable to speak with a doctor as soon as you able able. The combination of swollen breasts, severe pain and associated pain in the arm, underarm, areola or nipples, may be important indicators. Anytime that you find yourself concerned that you may have signs of cancer, it is wise to make an appointment.

9. Lymph Node

Our body’s natural lymphatic system are responsible for moving white blood cells and other supportive cells throughout the body. These may become swollen, inflamed and painful due to an infection within the body. It is common that they will be discolored and be tender to the touch. It is important to speak with a doctor if a lymph node is swollen as it may be an indication of an infection that needs attention.

10. Mastitis

A bacterial infection that is often accompanied by fever and inflammation around the nipples, mastitis is caused by blocked ducts. It is common for women to not have any symptoms, yet it is possible for symptoms to be incredibly painful and debilitating. While it is possible for the body to fight the infection by itself, it is advisable to speak with a doctor. Antibiotics may be prescribed.

11. Ectasia

When mammary ducts because clogged with milk, potential problems can occur. Inflammation, swelling, tenderness and discharge can be symptoms. Because of the internal nature of this problem, it may be beneficial to speak with a medical professional. While the problem can take care of itself naturally, the unpleasant sensations may need to be dealt with sooner than later. Antibiotics or surgery may be required.

12. Firbocystic Breasts

Not a disease or infection, but rather a condition where breast tissue may feel like a lumpy rope. This may cause sensations of tenderness, swelling or pain. Often times this will be located on the outer edges of the breasts. Most of the time they are associated with the menstrual cycle. Discolored discharge may appear to be green or brown and may be a sign of a serious condition. Speak with a doctor if any discolored secretions are present.

13. Necrosis

Trauma, biopsy or surgery may be the cause of breast fat necrosis. Bruised skin within the breast may lead to this condition. It may manifest as painful lumps within the breast and is not associated with cancer. However, it is important to seek medical attention if present. Leakage may be a symptom as well. Because of the concerns associated with necrosis and lumps, it is advisable to seek medical attention.


1. Relax and Keep a Watchful Eye

First and foremost, you should keep in mind that the swelling of the breasts may be a natural occurrence. It is normal to have swollen breasts at different times in the menstrual cycle and during pregnancy. If your symptoms are caused by a natural occurrence, then they are nothing to worry about. Monitor the symptoms and pain that you are having just in case you need to discuss it with your doctor later on.

2. Talk to Your Doctor
If you think that your swollen breasts are not a natural occurrence, you should make an appointment with a medical professional. Your doctor will be able to determine if the swelling, lump or inflammation needs treatment. Remember that it is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your health, and your doctor is the best person to tell if you if your symptoms are a sign of a problem or not.

3. Try Out Home Remedies

-Home remedies may be beneficial to reduce swelling or inflammation. Dietary changes, such as reducing vasodilators, salts and fats may be beneficial. Heating or cooling pads may also remove painful sensations. Increasing your vitamin intake through a standard multivitamins or a healthier diet will also be helpful in preventing future pains.

4. Use Pain Medication for Temporary Relief

Pain killers may give temporary relief. However, it is important to never rely on over the counter medicines. If you find that you are taking pain killers excessively, then speak with a medical professional. You should not be using pain medication more frequently or in larger doses than listed on the bottle, so it is important that you find out the cause of your symptoms instead of continuing to rely on over-the-counter drugs.

5. Perform Self-Checks

Check your breasts regularly. This will help you determine how your breasts naturally feel, which is important for spotting changes or lumps. By catching these lumps and changes early, you may be able to prevent more serious complications.

When to Talk to Your Doctor

Again, it is important to speak with a medical professional if you have any concerns. You can never be too careful with your body, especially in cases of lumps or swollen breasts. Take time to make an appointment with a doctor to better determine the difference between cancerous and non-cancerous lumps.

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