OT Breast health

I have what my ex used to call 'luxury bumpers'. Recently I decided that whatever the woman in Debenhams said, I didn't seem to be a 34F and went off to Bravissimo, where an amazingly young, and very curvy girlie decided I was 32GG.

So I bought some lovely new bras, which were really comfy and supportive, gave me a dramatic cleavage etc etc. But after a few weeks I started feeling bruised under my left armpit. I went back to the old bras for a bit and the pain went away. Tried again with the new bra and was in agony after a day - with the pain extending all the way through my breast almost to my nipple.

Doc had a feel and there is nothing obvious, other than me saying 'Ouch'. But fact that its starting on the other side, together with a recent mammogram is fairly re-assuring that its not cancer. He thinks it may be tail end menopause symptoms (I stopped six years ago, but had some breakthrough bleeding three years ago) and recommended evening primrose and red clover.

But it still hurts and is in fact getting worse again, despite the fact that I am wearing a soggy wire free bra that doesn't do much at all. The supplements probably haven't had a chance to work yet.

Any ideas? Where should I go? What should I ask?

20 Replies

  • Will they do an ultrasound? I agree that if it's on both sides and the mammo is clear you're likely to be fine, but the us might give you peace of mind. If there have been no visible or palpable changes it seems like typical hormonal stuff.

    I had awful breast pain and it did go away after a while.

    Just as an aside, do you know if your vit d is ok? My breast pain was almost indistinguishable from that chest (breastbone) pain you can get when your d is low.

    You may find that if your new bra isn't doing much, that itself may make you uncomfortable. I've been wearing these old-lady wirefree bras, which come in a lot of colours and feel amazing, improve my posture etc. The two I really like are the Triumph Doreen and the 18 Hour Comfort Strap. I admit they aren't most people's idea of glamour, but I really like them.

  • Ruthi Last year I had some breast discomfort, not exactly pain but very uncomfortable. Because I have a history of fibrocystic breast disease, mainly around the time of peri menopause, for many years, thirteen cysts aspirated and at least twenty five showing on ultrasound, I went to my GP. I am well past menopause now, he decided it was non-specific breast pain despite me going through my long history. He told me to take ibuprofen! Two weeks later, still having much discomfort and now sporting a fair sized lump, I bypassed my unhelpful doctor and referred myself to a private breast specialist who referred me on to have a private ultrasound.

    Upshot is that the one breast he scanned has at least ten cysts and I now have a new label - fibroglandular density. Nothing nasty showing but I still have to keep an eye on things and I won't be having any more mammograms although I would have further ultrasound scans.

    The discomfort has passed, it lasted on and off for about 6 weeks I think, and my mind is at rest.

    I had a Genova hormone test done (Menopause Plus) because the radiologist said as I shouldn't have cysts or FD at my age (it's a younger woman's problem normally) and he thought I might have excess oestrogen. Turns out I had virtually no sex hormones of any description.

    Bioidentical Progesterone cream helps with breast problems, you may want to look into it. I am using it now.

  • BBD is linked to Hypothyroidism too ! I once suffered and had to have surgery - then had an abscess - now have wonky boobs !

  • Interesting! I too had fibrocystic breasts. I stopped having them aspirated because they were back in no time, and they haven't been a problem in recent years.

    This is on the same side as all the big cysts were, but it definitely originates in the lymph nodes in the armpit.

    I'll look at the progesterone.

  • Ruthi The specialist I saw mentioned lymph glands too. I went for many years with nothing and then this problem last year.

  • Hi

    Same problem

    Have had mammograms all ok two Ultrasounds show cyst which unknown to me I have had for years .

    Comes and goes can wake up and its painful lasts a few days or a week and goes away again.

    I don't even worry bout it now

    Good Luck


  • 'luxury bumpers'! LOL!

    Sometimes underwires extend too far and cause pain. Been there and I'm certainly not a 32GG. Bras have so many designs and whatnot.... Back to the drawing board for you in the bra department. Better let the lovely lady at Bravissimo know that the bras actually do not fit terribly well.

    Next time don't get so excited about buying bras and get only one. Then after the test drive, buy more. I don't know how expensive yours are but I wear Felina and for whatever reason (import duties?) they are ferociously expensive in Canada.

    Also wash them very regularly. I read recently that the average woman wears her bra for over 4 weeks between washes.............yikes. I mentioned this at work and there was silence. Could have heard a pin drop.

  • Four weeks? I wash after two days and feel sluttish!

  • I know. Gross.

  • I'm a 32 GG, uncomfortable without a supportive bra. When I was younger, I suffered terribly with breast pain and after lots of trial and error found that Starflower oil and a vitamin and mineral combination called Magnesium OK worked brilliantly for me. Might be worth a try for a month or two. Clemmie

  • Check your Magnesium OK ingredients, I'm sure it contains soya.


  • The victorians damaged women by lacing them into boned corsets to get 18inch waists. I'm not convinced that modern ways of measuring are free from harm either. I find that the measurements they try to fit me into don't give me enough room to breathe or sing. Your rib cage needs room to expand.

    These days I ignore the bra fitters and just take a selection of sizes and see what's comfortable. I don't wear bones or underwires and try to get cotton bras.

  • I have found an interesting website optifitbra.com. Expensive, even by Bravissimo standards, but if they fit properly......

  • Quite honestly, the mechanical device to offer comfortable, realistic support to the appendages on my chest has not been invented yet. The sheer weight of them (I actually weighed them once... 1.8Kg one side and 1.5 Kg the other!) just used to give in to gravitational forces and I'd end up with the back of the damn bras almost up around my neck, strangling me around the chest as they went making it even harder to breathe! Now I've been bra-less (I did grow up in the 60s and 70s after all!) for the last 10 years and although it might have been a little uncomfortable at first, now I don't even notice it.

  • What does your rib cage under boobs measure? That's apparently how you find your size. I occasionally get breast pain, but had DCIS (although that's apparently not painful). Massage (get a "friend" to do it) and increase pancreatic enzymes and it goes again. Don't know what causes it - always in the same place - but I did have an injury there once.

  • Had breast pain last year which became very bothersome, had mammogram and fortunately nothing nasty showed up. Consultant placed me on evening primrose and starflower oil, I was amazed as within days I was pain free and have been ever since but I do take this supplement daily and will continue to do so.

  • I forgot to update. I bought two bras. One from BillyBums the other from Optifit.

    The BillyBums (new name is Molke) is stretchy all over and mostly intended for breastfeeding. It is very, very comfortable, but totally shapeless, so its only suitable really for going under baggy jumpers. It takes forever to dry, which is a pain given that I try to wash bras daily.

    The Optifit bra is a revelation. It fits well, is comfortable even though very snug, and gives an excellent shape. I have bought a second one, and wear them pretty well full time.

  • Hi Ruthi,

    My friend refers to hers, & now mine, as "cysty tits", as the mammogram experience is at least biannual.

    I get pain where the benign cysts are when I'm hormonal, feel run down, or coming down with anything viral. Also pain in the depression where a ham handed surgeon removed a chunk whilst taking out a lump the size of a pea. I found out three years ago, when my prolactin levels were tested, that I have a prolactinoma, which causes lactation & increased hormonal activity in the breasticle department. Is this something you've had checked as the cause of your discomfort?


  • I was really cysty from my mid 40s had huge ones drained multiple times. but they did settle after about 15 years. But because cysts increase the risk of cancer I do go for mammograms every 5 years or so. They get excited and call me back, but its just scar tissue from old cysts.

    This is different - no cysts, just inflammation. It has gone now that I have stopped wearing the underwired bras and converted to Optifit/Molke.

  • Mine started in my teens, the cyst removed in my early 20's. With hindsight, I had the prolactinoma from puberty.

    I'm into my second year on HRT, but only go for a check up when a new cyst appears. The cluster I have on one side is often uncomfortable, regardless of bra, if anything healthwise has cropped up. I wonder if something in the new bra wire or fabric triggered your inflammation? I only wore a brand I can't remember the name of that was designed by engineers twice, as it was so uncomfortable. It's harder getting a good fit that shoes, & worse as I'm odd. I'll look up those brands now, thanks!

You may also like...