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I experience pain towards my periods

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Woman with symptomatic chest pain, suffering from heartache, panorama with free space

QUESTION: I usually experience pain in my breasts towards my periods. How is this connected to menstruation? Carol.

Response: Dear Carol,
The etiology of cyclical mastalgia (pain in the breast towards and during menstruation) is undefined.

However, studies suggest this pain is most likely a result of hormonal variation and increased sensitivity of breast tissue towards the hormonal variation during the menstrual cycle.

One study has suggested that some women with this condition have less progesterone than they do estrogen in the second half of the menstrual cycle.

This hormonal fluctuation is strengthened by the fact that this pain often vanishes with pregnancy or menopause.
Hormones can also affect cyclical breast pain due to stress.

Breast pain can increase or change its pattern with the hormone changes that happen during times of stress.

Finally, hormones may not provide the total answer to cyclical breast pain, since the pain is often more severe in one breast than in the other.

Several researchers have disputed the explanations attributing the pain to hormones, saying they are not sufficient enough.

To these, if the pain was of hormonal cause, it would tend to affect both breasts equally.

Because of that, they believe the answer may be a combination of hormonal activities and other occurences in the breast that respond to this activity, hence requiring more research.

Answered by Dr Molino Binywasiki of Mulago National Ref. Hospital.

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