Many women complain of Breast Heaviness at one or the other point of life. This can be just associated with normal hormonal fluctuations in the body or a growing tumor. Either way, it is important to find out the exact cause and get proper treatment, if required. Listed below are some possible causes of Heavy Breasts:
- Fibrocystic Changes
- Medication-induced Breast Heaviness
- Breast Cyst
- Breast Cancer
1- Fibrocystic Changes
Fibrocystic Breast is a benign condition in which breast tissue becomes lumpy and nodular due to the formation of cysts or fibrosis. It is a common breast condition experienced by almost half of the women at some point in their lives.
- Lumps and knots.
- Swollen Breasts.
- Pain in armpit.
- Fluctuating levels of reproductive hormones.
- Fluid-filled cyst.
- Painkiller for pain relief.
- Oral contraceptives to regulate the menstrual cycle.
- Hormone therapy such as tamoxifen in case of deteriorating symptoms.
- Surgical treatment if it doesn’t resolve on its own.
Females often complain of Breast Pain (Mastodynia/Mastalgia) and heaviness around the time of menstruation. This sort of pain and heaviness usually occurs due to the hormonal changes a woman’s body undergoes through the entire cycle of a menstrual period.
- Swollen and lumpy breasts.
- Severe discomfort.
- Pain in armpit.
Women during menstruation have Breast tissue that is more sensitive to hormonal changes than others. Mild Mastalgia and Heaviness in the breast, in this case, is nothing to worry about.
- Over the counter medicines.
- Topical diclofenac and ibuprofen.
- Evening primrose oil.
The most common cause of Breast Heaviness is Pregnancy as the body undergoes changes for better nourishment of the newborn.
- Discharge from nipples.
- A rise in temperature in the breast area.
- Heavy and fuller breast.
The breast becomes engorged due to the activity of glands and ducts to produce more and more milk during Pregnancy. This engorgement sometimes makes the breasts full and heavy which feel hot and hard upon touching and cause pain.
- For pain over the counter, painkillers can be taken.
Most mothers who chose to breastfeed their babies complained of Breast Heaviness and Pain during Breastfeeding.
- Engorgement of breast.
- Excessive lactation and leakage of milk.
- Clogging of milk ducts resulting in Mastitis.
- Mastitis due to improper latching/attachment of the baby while nursing which leads to incomplete drainage of the milk duct and milk stasis.
- Lactating Breasts also feel heavy due to the presence of milk.
- Over the counter painkillers for pain relief.
- Anti-inflammatory for inflammation.
- Anti-biotics for an infection (mastitis).
5- Medication-induced Breast Heaviness
Certain medications cause breast-related effects such as Breast pain and Heaviness.
- Tenderness and Pain due to Breast Swelling.
- Swelling or Painful Breast Lumps.
The most common medications that cause heavy breasts are Hormonal replacements such as birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy.
- Discontinue the use of the culprit medication and consult your physician for a replacement.
Mastitis (Breast infection) refers to an inflamed breast tissue that often involves some degree of inflammation, infection and heaviness. This is most common in lactating women but can also occur in non-pregnant and non-lactating women.
- Breast tenderness.
- Swollen breast.
- Fever and chills.
Often the duct gets plugged due to several causes and leads to accumulation and stasis of milk in the breast. This provides the breeding ground for bacterial growth.
- For inflammation: Anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed.
- For infection: Antibiotics are given for the bacterial infection.
- Surgical procedure: In case of an abscess.
7- Breast Cyst
Formation of a fluid-filled cavity in the breast is called a Cyst. A cyst can formed dye to a number of causes and makes the Breasts appear heavy and full.
- Tenderness and pain.
- Feeling of a Lump.
- Change in temperature.
- Redness of skin.
This is a common condition and develops due to hormonal changes and blockage of a duct leading to stasis and fluid accumulation.
- Antibiotic if infected.
- Surgical removal or fine needle aspiration if it doesn’t go away and is really painful.
8- Breast Cancer
Among many other abnormal changes taking place, one can just be heavy and swollen Breast.
- Presence of newly formed lumps in the Breast.
- Everted or inverted Nipple.
- Palpable lymph nodes in the axilla.
- An abnormal, bloody discharge from the nipple.
- Dimpling of the skin of the breast.
There is a genetic predisposition along with a few risk factors that cause cancer.
- Treatment entirely depends upon the extent of the disease.
When to Consult the Doctor?
If you experience worsening of symptoms, a sudden increase in heaviness, the occurrence of new lumps, or lumps growing in size, you should not ignore these changes and book an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
The most common symptoms are mastalgia, discomfort, and an association with the onset of menstruation.
You should consult a doctor to diagnose the exact cause and begin treatment accordingly if required.
If you feel a sudden increase in heaviness, any other serious associated symptom such as discharge, fever, Tenderness, or palpable nodes.