Who would have thought sore nipples and menopause would go hand-in-hand? Turns out, this is a common symptom of perimenopause. We’ll take you through the details.
If it’s any consolation, it’s not uncommon to experience sore nipples leading up to menopause.
Breast tenderness and sore nipples are among several perimenopausal symptoms that will usually go away after a while.
But they can be uncomfortable and even painful at the time.
For now, know that you’re not alone.
You’re said to have reached menopause when you haven’t menstruated for a year.
The years before that are when you generally experience all the things that give menopause its reputation.
Your periods may become erratic, and you may have hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and other symptoms.
This phase is called perimenopause.
Perimenopause usually starts in your early to mid-40s, and most women in the US reach menopause in their early 50s.
Of course, these things never stick to a set time frame, and both perimenopause and menopause can happen earlier or later.
So what’s the deal with breast tenderness and sore nipples in menopause? We’ll take you through what they’re about.
In this article: 📝
- What causes tender breasts during menopause?
- What should you do if you have constantly sore erect nipples in menopause?
- When should you see your doctor?
- When will your nipples stop hurting?
What causes tender breasts during menopause?
By now, you probably know that your hormones go on a worldwide trip in every direction when you go through perimenopause.
Your ovaries stop functioning like they used to—and the levels of estrogen and progesterone they produce rise and fall for a while before stopping altogether.
So what does this mean for your breasts?
Well, when your hormone levels spike during perimenopause, this can affect your breast tissue and make your breasts hurt.
This might have happened to you at other points in your life—perhaps around your period or as an early sign of pregnancy.
Like sore or tender breasts, sore nipples are another sign that your hormone levels are on a bit of a roller coaster.
Most women experience sore nipples at the start of perimenopause, around the time that the much-loved (cue eye-roll) hot flashes make their first appearance.
What should you do if you have constantly sore erect nipples in menopause?
If you’re wondering whether your sore, erect nipples are related to menopause, it can help to take note of how often your nipples feel sore.
Although this can be tough, try to describe the type of soreness.
Are they just sensitive, or is there a sharp, stabbing pain, too?
Also, be conscious of any other symptoms you might be experiencing.
Hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, and a drop in libido are other perimenopausal symptoms that might be on the scene (we know, they’re not a huge amount of fun).
Take all this information to your doctor.
While there isn’t exactly a test for perimenopause, they’ll be able to assess your symptoms and tell you whether menopause is likely on its way.
To help treat breast and nipple soreness, your doctor might recommend:
- Over-the-counter medications, such as Advil or Tylenol
- B vitamins
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin E
- Evening primrose oil
Wearing a supportive bra or placing a heating pad on your breasts can also help.
As can limiting your caffeine intake.
When should you see your doctor?
Sore breasts and nipples are very rarely a sign of a serious medical condition.
But if you’re also experiencing any of the following symptoms, it’s important that you speak to your doctor straight away:
- A high temperature or hot or cold shivers
- Breast redness, hotness, or swelling
- An increase in breast size
- A change in how your breast looks
- Chest pain
- Your nipple has sunk into your breast
- Your nipple is releasing a clear, yellow, bloody, or pussy discharge
These symptoms might be related to other conditions—chest pain, for example, could be a sign of a heart condition.
By examining all of your symptoms and possibly running some tests, your doctor will be able to tell you if it’s perimenopause or if there’s something else at play.
When will your nipples stop hurting?
Usually, the breast tenderness and sore nipples you’re experiencing will go away once your periods stop completely—once you’re in menopause, in other words.
If you’re treating your menopause symptoms with hormone replacement therapy (HRT), your breasts might continue to be sore until you stop taking this medication.
But it’s confusing—because HRT may also help with breast tenderness if you were experiencing pain and discomfort before you started the treatment.
When in doubt, check in with your doctor.
Perimenopause and menopause aren’t famous for making you feel your best, but over time, the physical, emotional, and mental fluctuations you go through will start to settle.
And if you’re looking for support, reach out to our menopause community.
We’re here to help.