Endometriosis UK
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Painful breasts

Does anyone suffer from sore, swollen breasts? I have kept a diary ready for when I see my consultant next month, but since my lap in June my breasts get really sore, swollen and hot, they feel like they are on fire every 8/10 days and it lasts for 3/5 days. I have spoken to my doctor and she said it's my hormones! Just find it really difficult to deal with especially the burning feeling, all I want to do is put them in cold water which I can't when I'm at work! Just wondering if anyone has any good tips or advice. Thanks X

8 Replies

It is often a symptom of estrogen dominance, which incidentially is indicated for contributing to endo and many other conditions that have increased in ocurrence as the chemical cocktails we live with have increased. My consultant told me that endo is now thought to primarily stem from the gestational period (and more rarely retrograde menstruation and sometimes as a result of cells transposing outside of the uterus during caesarean section) with the former being triggered when the hormones kick in at puberty. However, this is exacerbated by the cocktail of chemicals we are exposed to which mimic estrogen in the body (xenoestrogens) and which we need to reduce in order for the hormones to be balanced. I recommend you look into reducing your exposure to xenoestrogens. Diet can also be modified to reduce phytoestrogens but these are less potent as they are processed by the liver which eliminates excess estrogen. This is why the endo diet helps as it reduces the work the liver has to do to eliminate toxins such as alcohol and caffeine etc and enables it to be more efficient. xenoestrogens are mostly absorbed through the skin from externally and therefore bypass the liver making them far more potent.

After having extensive radical exsicion surgery for endo coming up for 3 years ago - I started to look into what I could do to aid endo not taking hold again. As a result, I got very interested in this subject and now have substituted all toiletries, cosmetics, household cleaning products and washing powder etc for those that do not contain parabens, pthalates or sls (sulphates). I have modified my diet to avoid phytoestrogens and cut out toxins like caffeine to aid the liver as it is the liver the eliminates estrogen from the body.

I recommend "Estrogen Dominance" by Dr Michael Lam and "Stop Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis" by Dr Andrew S Cook.

Estrogen Dominance is something your GP will rarely if ever mention and standard blood tests often come back with estrogen in the "normal range" - they do not seem to look at it in relation to progesterone levels (which is what causes menopausal symptoms when it drops) or consider the effect of xenoestrogens, which are not actually estrogen but mimic it and cause the estrogen receptors to behave as if there is more estrogen than there actually is. So I understand anyway.


Thanks for your reply, I have cut out caffeine and have never been a big fan of alcohol and haven't touched a drop since July. I am also going to check all my toiletries etc to see if they contain parabens, pthalates or sls (sulphates). All the other information you have given me is really interesting and I am just googling "Estrogen Dominance" by Dr Michael Lam and "Stop Pelvic Pain and Endometriosis" by Dr Andrew S Cook. Thanks again.


Mine go balistic right before an ovarian cyst bursts... so definitely a hormonal thing.

Luckily the rest of the time I am okay, but each time I have had cyst explode it has been preceded by a day or two of very very sore boobs.

i am not the only one to notice this. Others have reported a similar experience.

It's only a theory.... but i wonder if yours is happening at ovulation which is after all when a cyst is supposed to burst and release the egg. ie Normal cysts, as opposed to Ovarian Cysts of the endometrioma kind.

It has to be hormonal if both are getting sore at the same time.

If you pulled a muscle or got an infection it would only impact one not both breasts.

Are you on any BC pills or mirena coil to steady those hormones out?

If not it might be worth trying.

The endo diet cuts out the foods that encourage oestrogen, and losing weight can help too as excess oestrogen is stored in fat reserves, reduce the places where it can be stockpiled should help too.


Thanks for your reply. I have the mirena coil, first had it in Nov 2009 then they replaced it in June during my lap. I have no idea when I ovulate as I haven't had a period for over 16 years. I was on the depo injection from 1997 to 2009 and before that the mini pill.

I have also changed my diet but probably need to be more strict, I'm 5ft8 and weigh 10st 6lb, maybe need to loose a bit of weight around my hips and thighs, as that's where I carry the fat!


Your weight doesn't sound like it needs losing. I'm just an inch taller than you and I'm 2.5 stone




I so agree with stevieflp - my pelvic pain and additionally sore breasts go through the roof if I have a packet of peanuts (have stopped this) - it takes approx 36 hours after ingestion and the pain and soreness reaches a summit for then to abate after another 24 hours or so. I now avoid all foods rich in phytoestrogens (soy, peanuts, linseed etc), eat plenty of vitamin D rich foods (antiinflammatory) and have finally been able to cut down my daily pain killers since starting to drink 3-4 cups of green tea/day. Green tea (camellia sinensis) is, apart from being an antiinflammatory (cox-1 inhibitor) apparently also an aromatase inhibitor. I have finally got some of my energy (and life) back.. (and interestingly the pain levels increase and revert back to pre-Green tea level after about two weeks of 'abstinence'). Eating lots (lots) of mushrooms also help me (but harder to keep eating approx 300gsm on a daily basis).

Very interesting to read about the xenoestrogens and that you mentioned the imbalance between estrogen and progesterone. I understand that this imbalance is something that can happen in our forties - as we approach menopause progesterone production can slow down at a quicker rate than estrogene? I believe that this may have been identified as a major cause of Uterine Fibroids (as far as I have read) but to me it also sounds as if it may be a factor for endometriosis (for those of us who have acquired it later in our lives)? Does anybody know anything more about this?

Have a good day. Take care xx ke

PS some Italian research has come to the conclusion that women diagnosed with endometriosis score higher in the beauty charts.. Go girls! (it would take Italians to do clinical research incorporating beauty..). They also published findings on more mundane subjects such as endometriosis co-incidence with migraine..


Hi esbjorn - yes I also drink Green tea (but decaff). I do find it strange how I am often drawn to something and then find out later it is good. I also take vitamin D and vitamin K and the omega spectrum. Vanilla and Roobios tea is nice too and has a consistency more like normal tea. It is naturally decaffeinated. All that you say above is also what I understand. It is also thought that migraines can stem from estrogen dominance. Certainly has a lot to answer for and there are steps we can take to help reduce this. It just amazes me how the doctors still recommend removal of ovaries that are doing their job just fine and which are pretty important and don't even consider these other chemical sources of hormone disrupters and measures to reduce these, or bio-identical hormones to increase progesterone, often prescribing more estrogen hrt! It isn't in medical school training as this is based around what treatments the pharmaceutical companies produce. Still seem to go for treating symptoms with further drugs instead of getting to the root cause / preventative measures.


Hi stevie. Thank you for the tips on books - they look very interesting! Good to hear that you're on the green tea as well. Do you notice any specific changes with any the specific foods or nutritional 'additives' you take - ie pain reduction in conjunction with a specific food stuff and/or changes in inflammatory patterns?

Reading posts on this site, there are several that recommend Chinese herbalists for example. I have however so far only seen one single post from somebody having been treated (medically) for estrogene dominance by having been prescribed an aromatase inhibitor (and being helped by it). I certainly agree with you that the medical profession may resort to certain drug prescriptions and/or dismiss as IBS far too readily. The reason may be that there is simply far far too few trials, research and clinical tests into endometriosis; cure and causes (such as xenoestrogene influence, estrogene dominance). I wonder if GPs and non-endometriosis specialist gyneacologists still just remain in the dark about the latest findings (including complete excision?) - it is then just easier to prescribe in accordance with the prevailing (old) paradigm.

I am however also sure that there would be far fewer hysterectomies (with removal of the ovaries) & HRT if women were told more in depth of the effects on their long-term cardiovascular health. But it is hard to think ahead when you are in chronic pain. And when the other cures are so slow to take effect..if at all.

What type of treatment would bio-identical hormones to increase progesterone be?

Have a good weekend. Take care xx


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