Fitness Nutrition Forums

What Your Breasts Can Tell You About Your Health

If you’re like most women, you only really notice your boobs during foreplay, or when you're breastfeeding, cold, or about to get your period. But did you know that paying attention to your breasts is a good way to monitor your overall health?

Most women experience some type of breast pain at some point in their lives. For many, the pain is cyclical, caused by normal hormonal changes between ovulation and menstruation. For some, this tenderness and swelling is so profound that they have to wear different-sized bras at different points in their menstrual cycle—just another one of the joys of womanhood! Fortunately, applying heat, getting a prescription for the birth control pill, or taking an over-the-counter pain-reliever such as ibuprofen can help to alleviate the pain.

Breast pain that doesn’t fluctuate along with your cycle is associated with more worrisome health conditions. If you notice intense pain, pain that doesn't go away, or pain in the walls of your breasts, you should talk to your doctor about it right away. It could be that your tits are trying to tell you something—including one of the following issues below.

1. Your bra doesn’t provide enough support.

Wearing a bra that doesn’t fit well can wreak all kinds of havoc on your ladies. If your bra rides up your back or the straps cut into your shoulders, it might be time to go for a fitting. Bras that are too loose or squeeze your breasts can also cause pain.

2. You have a nutritional deficiency.

Some research has found that increasing your intake of certain nutrients—particularly vitamin B1, vitamin B6, and vitamin E—can relieve breast pain. Women who suffer from regular pain can take vitamin E supplements or calcium, but pay a visit to your family doctor to make sure this is a good idea for you first.

3. Your workout routine is too vigorous.

Did you know that one in three women experience breast soreness caused by exercise? For some women, a routine that’s too intense is the culprit. But for most women, it’s a question of adequate support during physical activity. If you’re boobs tend to bounce or swing around a lot during your workout, look into getting a better-fitting sports bra.

4. You eat too much salt or drink too much coffee.

Your diet can contribute to breast pain. Eating too much salt, for instance, causes you to retain water, which can lead to tenderness and swelling. Cut back on salty foods—beware of takeout and canned or processed foods—and make sure you’re drinking enough water. Caffeine, found in coffee, tea, and energy drinks, may also contribute to swelling.

5. You have a health problem.

Breast pain that appears and then disappears with your cycle is normal, but you should never ignore steady pain. Hundreds of health conditions—including arthritis, hypothyroidism, and mastitis—are associated with breast-related symptoms. And yes, pain in the breasts could also be a sign of breast cancer, even if you can't find a lump. Don’t ignore your breasts—seek medical attention if you experience prolonged or intense pain.

{{ oArticle.title }}

{{ oArticle.subtitle }}