Martha ColtonMartha Colton

Why Do Breasts Enlarge After Menopause?

Updated May 20, 2023

Perimenopause and menopause breasts are different than any other breasts.

Just like during pregnancy, perimenopause breast growth and menopause breast growth stages do change size and shape. Symptoms such as tenderness, soreness, and minor aches and pains in the breast tissue may start to occur.

So, if you’re asking yourself is it normal to have breast pain after menopause, the answer is yes.

Ultimately, we want to know and be aware of the changes that our breasts can go through during these times, so that we can also prepare ourselves for what our breasts will look like after menopause.

Questions that commonly pop into our minds may include, why are my breasts getting larger or swelling? Will the size change again once menopause is complete? And so on and so forth.

Some of the most common breast changes may cause us to worry and hinder a sense of panic, but just keep in mind, that most of these occurrences are very normal for menopausal women.

The Key Factor Pertaining to Breast Enlargement

Breast enlargement before, during, and after menopause occurs in almost all women.

There’s no need to worry, especially after the entire menopause process is complete. So stop asking yourself why are my breasts getting bigger after menopause?

The main reason behind these symptoms is due to the fluctuations in hormone production.

Estrogen and progesterone are produced at normal rates throughout a female’s life, but once our periods stop for approximately one year, the production rates slow down, too.

In turn, low levels of estrogen and progesterone can cause a change in size and shape in relation to the breasts. Other unwanted symptoms may accompany this, too, such as insomnia, hot flashes, depression, anxiety, osteoporosis, and much more.

But realistically speaking, the change in hormone status is the primary reason for almost anything perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause related, unfortunately.

The symptoms that accompany breast enlargement, however, are a different story.

Common Breast Changes During Menopause

When the breasts enlarge, it’s not only the size and shape of them that changes.

A number of concerns may arise, considering the tenderness and pain may get a bit out of hand and the tissue beneath the skin may start to feel lumpy.

In fact, the process may start to feel like you’re pregnant all over again, or it may take a turn and concern you with breast cancer (lumps).

Before allowing yourself to get worried, take a breath and see what your options are.

Start by making yourself aware of the symptoms, what they are accompanied by, and what you can do to alleviate them or make them better.

If things get out of hand and you don’t think you can master self care and treatment plans, reach out to your doctor and see what he or she can do to help.

Oftentimes, we just need to wait out the breast changes before, during, and after menopause. But if they start to look and feel totally abnormal, that’s when additional health care may be needed.

Tenderness Or Pain in The Breasts

A woman currently on her period can experience fluid build up in the breasts. This build up can also happen just before a period takes effect. The result is that the breasts can become swollen, tender, and sometimes even painful.

As time goes on, women age and start to go through perimenopause (the period in time right before menopause kicks in). The hormonal changes that accompany perimenopause are always different, and can always affect the breasts differently.

In turn, this can mean that the swelling, tenderness, and pain can still stick around during and after perimenopause. In fact, sometimes random spells of swelling, tenderness, and pain may start to kick in due to lack of a period and an increase in hormonal imbalances.

The best suggestion to keep handy would be to wear a fitted sports bra when such symptoms start to occur. Keep one on you, in your purse or in your car, just in case the tenderness or pain becomes close to unbearable.

It may also help to massage the breasts when they start to exhibit such signs and symptoms. Don’t go too rough, though. Small, steady circles will ease the discomfort you’re feeling the best.

And as always, pair these two suggestions with over-the-counter pain medications and pain creams to maximize your self care.

Don’t forget, sore breasts after menopause is not entirely uncommon.

Change in Breast Size and Shape

When estrogen levels drop before, during, and after menopause, the milk systems inside the body shut down and the glandular tissue inside the breasts starts to shrink. In other words, the tissue becomes less dense, more fatty, and starts to sag.

All of these involuntary actions tend to change the breast size and shape. The breasts will shrink a bit, encouraging you to purchase a new set of bras.

And, the breasts will change shape and need a little less push up support and a little more cushion support.

What we have to do as women going through this is: be aware, purchase new bras, and last but not least, exercise.

To keep some of the breast size and shape that we had before menopause started, we must keep our bodies and muscles in shape.

If you’re wondering how to increase breast size, we can start by heading on over to the gym to do some weight lifting. Weight lifting exercises will tone underneath the muscles, perking the breasts up, instead of allowing them to fall.

Lumps in The Breasts

Normal aging and hormonal changes both can contribute to lumps in the breasts. If you’re truly worried about the lumps that you’re feeling during your self breast exam, visiting a doctor would be a good idea.

If you do start to feel a lump in either of your breasts, keep in mind that it could be a common cyst that many women get during or after they complete menopause.

A cyst is just a fluid-filled sac that resembles the size of a grape. It’s not cancerous and will never be cancerous.

It can, however, stick around or go away. Talk to your doctor about surgery and whether or not it could or would be an option.

The lump could be something other than a cyst, however, so it’s always best to be safe and check in with your doctor once you find something abnormal in the breast tissue.

Some women would like to do everything in their power to limit, or omit their chances of getting lumps in the breasts.

If you fall into that category, try to cut down on caffeine as much as you can. Additionally, apply warm compresses to the breasts and take pain relievers to alleviate any pain symptoms that may start to occur.

Home Remedies to Alleviate Symptoms

Self care is extremely important when it comes to breast pain and tenderness. If you don’t seek out the care that you need, the painful symptoms can quite literally ruin your day.

To prevent horrible breast changes, or at the least alleviate some of the pain, try implementing some suggestions that I’ve come across over the past several years.

Don’t smoke cigarettes, and if you do, quit as soon as you can. Not smoking will promote good skin and good tissue health.

Fluid naturally builds up in the breasts during perimenopause and menopause. Once the period completely stops, the breast pain should subside.

Some women have a tendency to ask the question, “Can HRT cause sore nipples?” The answer to that is yes; if you’re going through hormone replacement therapy, additional unwanted signs and symptoms may arise.

Talk to your doctor about options other than hormone therapy if your breasts start to become more of a problem than the menopause itself.

Additionally, suggestions that helped me were to limit my salt intake and drink more water on the daily. Think about it this way: dehydration leads to fluid retention, which can potentially worsen breast pain.

Should You See a Doctor?

Changes to the size and shape of your breasts cannot technically be fixed through a doctor – unless you undergo surgical procedures.

Tenderness and pain in the breast tissue can be handled with over-the-counter medications and other at-home care remedies. At least that is, most of the time.

Some of the following instances are when to worry about breast pain.

If you start to experience lumps in the breasts, seeing a doctor is a good idea. You don’t know if those lumps are cysts or something much worse, so getting answers early on will only benefit you in the long run.

Other scenarios where you should book an appointment with your doctor may include lumpy, firm, or thick areas. Where are most of these breast cancer lumps found? In the breast tissue or underneath the arm.

If you experience nipple discharge, or a sunken nipple, medical supervision is recommended.

Shrinking or swelling of breast on only one side should be medically checked out, too. If the problem of one breast larger after menopause starts to occur, lumps may be starting to form.

Be aware that reduced estrogen levels may also cause skin and connective tissue to become dehydrated, inadvertently losing elasticity.

Other than that, common breast changes that occur in almost all of us will include stretch marks, downward pointing nipples, wider space between the breasts, and minor lumpiness.

If you’re still experiencing signs and symptoms that make you feel alone or uncomfortable, join a breast pain after menopause forum to seek some woman to woman advice.

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