Breast pain (mastalgia) is well-treated using naturopathic medicine.
Breast pain is a common symptom, particularly during menses or post-menopausally.
The cause of breast pain unclear, but likely contributing factors include reproductive hormones levels, fatty-acid imbalances (fatty acids affect the sensitivity of breast tissue to circulating hormones), medication use (e.g., oral contraceptives, medications used to treat infertility, antidepressants) and breast size and architecture (e.g., having breast cysts).
Seek professional healthcare if you have breast pain that persists daily for more than a couple weeks, seems to be increasing over time or interferes with your daily activities; or if you have very localized breast pain.
Symptoms of Breast Pain
Breast pain can be cyclic or non-cyclic.
Possible symptoms of cyclic breast pain include:
- Pain that intensifies during the two weeks preceding menses and eases afterward
- Dull, heavy or aching pain
- Pain often accompanied by breast swelling or lumpiness
- Pain usually affecting both breasts, particularly the upper and outer sections, and possibly extending to the underarm
- Pain usually affecting pre-menopausal women in their 20s and 30s, and peri-menopausal women in their 40s
Possible symptoms of non-cyclic breast pain include:
- Pain unrelated to menstrual cycle
- Pain may be constant or intermittent
- Feeling of “tightness”, burning or “soreness”
- Pain usually affecting one breast in a localized area, but may spread more diffusely across the breast
Treatment of Breast Pain at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine
At Toronto Centre Naturopathic Medicine, the goal of breast pain treatment is to be pain-free.
Conventional treatment for breast pain may include physical therapy, and variety of medications including topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, oral contraceptives, danazol, bromocriptine or tamoxifen. These treatments may have short- or long-term side effects.
For this reason, you may choose to try natural treatment to possibly avoid use of conventional medications, or together with conventional medications in order to decrease dosages of conventional medications required to manage your breast pain symptoms.
Naturopathic treatment of any chronic health concern must be recognized as a process that involves:
- Identifying specific treatment goals
- Development by your naturopathic doctor, of a thorough understanding of all factors affecting your health, including physical, psychological, emotional and lifestyle factors
- Development of a comprehensive treatment plan
- Implementation and maintenance of that plan through periodic monitoring and adjustment
At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, a typical approach to treating breast pain may be to:
- Identify and address underlying factors in your lifestyle (e.g., poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, stress, smoking, weight management, poor fitting bras, oral contraceptive use, progesterone or estrogen therapy) or general health (e.g., obesity, fatty acid imbalance, infertility, menopause, depression) that may be contributing to your breast pain symptoms
- Reduce breast pain using hydrotherapy, botanical (herbal) medicines or Bowen Therapy
- Prevent recurrence of breast pain by correcting hormonal imbalances using metabolic detoxification protocols or botanical (herbal) medicines
Where appropriate, a number of therapeutic options are available, to be used alone, or more often in a complementary fashion, including:
- Nutritional counseling
- Nutritional supplements
- Metabolic detoxification protocols
- Botanical (herbal) medicines
- Bowen Therapy
- Exercise prescription
- Relaxation (meditation) training
- Lifestyle medicine and counseling
- Registered massage therapy
Treatments provided by naturopathic doctors and registered massage therapists are covered by most extended healthcare plans.
Breast pain [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; [cited 2010 Jan 29]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/breast-pain/DS00760.