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Breast Tenderness after Hysterectomy

From the Hysterectomy Recovery Articles List

Breast Tenderness after hysterectomySince my hysterectomy, my breasts have been very sore and tender. What is causing this and what can I do about it?


Many hysterectomy patients experience breast tenderness in the days following their surgery, whether or not they had their ovaries removed. This tenderness is generally related to a hormonal imbalance.

If you kept your ovaries, breast tenderness can indicate that the ovaries are functioning. Estrogen levels change throughout the month, and breast tenderness can occur when estrogen levels are at their highest. Initially, breast tenderness can also mean that your ovaries aren't functioning properly. The ovarian blood supply can be interrupted with the removal of the uterus, causing them to work less efficiently. As a result, hormonal imbalance and breast tenderness may occur as a new blood supply is established.

When the ovaries are removed, residual hormones may remain in your system for some time. As they taper off and disappear, you can experience symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Breast tenderness is one of the signs of this imbalance. Finding the right hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help minimize your breast tenderness. Unfortunately, both too little and too much estrogen can lead to breast tenderness. Additionally, breast tenderness can occur as your breast tissues respond to the estrogen in your HRT. Thus, it can take patience and trial and error to find the right HRT to help with your symptoms.

In some cases, women may have used hormonal therapies prior to surgery. Those therapies may have minimized the breast tenderness symptoms that can be associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). After surgery, when the hormonal therapy has been stopped, these women can then experience breast tenderness as part of their PMS. With time, many ladies do find that the symptoms decrease.

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for managing breast tenderness. In the first few months following surgery, it could be a good idea to try to wait things out to see if the tenderness will decrease on its own. While you wait, cool compresses, a heating pad, over the counter oral or topical meds, and wearing a good fitting bra may help. For longer term issues, making sure your hormones are balanced is essential. You may also want to talk to your doctor about using natural progesterone cream, supplementing with Vitamins E and/or B6, adding or avoiding soy products, and avoiding caffeine. For some, taking a low-dose birth control pill could be helpful.

Breast tenderness may only be temporary following your hysterectomy, but don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about your symptoms and your options. Keeping a detailed symptom diary can help you and your medical team determine what is causing your tenderness so you will know best how to treat it.



This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

07-02-2013 - 03:51 PM


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