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From tracking your cycle, you may have realised that breast pain can be related to the hormonal fluctuations of the menstrual cycle. Here's how to help manage this common symptom.

From tracking your cycle, you may have realised that breast pain can be related to the hormonal fluctuations of the menstrual cycle. Also known as Mastalgia but also typically termed ‘cyclic breast pain’, it normally occurs in the luteal phase (end of phase 3 & phase 4) and improves towards the end of menstruation (end of phase 1). It is related to hormonal changes and may be caused by a deficiency in γ-linolenic acid which causes the breast tissue to become more sensitive to sex hormones.

 

Whilst it is likely related to hormones, a well-fitting sports bra can help to reduce breast pain as it helps to contain and compress the breasts to prevent them oscillating during exercise which causes pain and discomfort. There are four things you should look at when finding the right bra for you; check out our guest blog from researcher Dr Nicola Brown here.

 

Decreasing caffeine intake may help reduce breast pain, as caffeine can increase cortisol levels which may contribute to breast pain.

 

A hot and cold compress can help with pain or swelling and could be applied during the night. Relaxation and mindfulness may also help to relieve higher levels of anxiety, and symptoms of depression, which can also increase cortisol and may be associated with breast pain.

 

Supplements such as evening primrose oil, Vitamin E or flaxseed oil capsules may prove beneficial to reduce breast pain. However, more research is needed in this area. The current research is promising and indicates that flaxseed oil and vitamin E both could be effective in relieving breast pain with minimal side effects due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

 

Lifestyle Management round up:

·     Well-fitting sports bra

·     Decreasing caffeine intake

·     Hot and cold compress

·     Relaxation and mindfulness

·     Supplements - *Evening primrose oil, flaxseed oil and vitamin E

 

Use the FitrWoman app to track your cycle and your symptoms.  By tracking your menstrual cycle you may be able to spot a trend when it comes to certain symptoms occurring in certain phases of your cycle.

 

You can then proactively attempt to manage these whether that be through your diet, lifestyle changes or the type of exercise you undertake.

*Always consult a medical professional if you are considering a particular medication or supplement to help with symptoms.

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