Causes of breast engorgement

To unpleasant sensations in the chest lead hormonal changes in the female body in different periods of life. Most often, engorgement and a feeling of discomfort of the mammary glands occurs precisely for this reason. But this symptom can also indicate serious diseases. It is necessary to take into account at what point in the menstrual cycle there are such feelings, and also at what age and state of health.

Swelling of mammary glands in a healthy body occurs in the following cases:

  • during puberty;
  • on a certain day of the menstrual cycle (in the second phase and immediately before menstruation);
  • during pregnancy;
  • after childbirth.

Swelling acts as a symptom in the following pathological conditions:

  • mastitis,
  • mastopathy,
  • cysts,
  • tumor.

Structure of the breast



The mammary gland is a paired organ consisting of 15-20 lobes. The lobes are surrounded by fat tissue, and are separated by a connective tissue. Inside each lobe there is a duct that closes closer to the nipple. This extension is intended for the accumulation of milk during lactation. Breast milk is formed in the breast tissue, which immediately after implantation of the fetal egg begins to expand, and at the end of breastfeeding the child undergoes reverse development. These processes are regulated by hormones of the pituitary and hypothalamus - prolactin and oxytocin.

How do glands behave during adolescence

In girls entering maturation, the mammary glands may develop unevenly, both in appearance, and in terms of pain and swelling.

These processes alternate from one breast to another. But as the girls form a stable hormonal background, both breasts take the same shape and size, stop worrying pains and swelling. Later they appear only in the premenstrual period.

Breast during the menstrual cycle

Similar feelings appear and depending on the day of the menstrual cycle. In the first phase, estrogen is produced, under the influence of which the adipose tissue grows, and in the second phase the hormone progesterone predominates, which provokes the growth of glandular tissue. This causes a symptom such as breast engorgement before menstruation, which causes some women a lot of inconvenience. Along with swelling and sensitivity, chest pains of varying degrees occur.

Changes in pregnancy and after childbirth

The sensation of swelling in the chest can begin 7-10 days after fertilization, since from this moment the glandular tissue begins to develop intensively, the number of alveoli increases and their size increases - the preparation for lactation. In the second half of pregnancy begins the secretion of colostrum, and after the birth of the child within three days appears mature breast milk. In the first day after birth, colostrum is secreted from the breast.

Depending on the amount of milk produced and the feeding regime, the breast can swell very strongly, so it is recommended to feed on time kid, and alternate left breast with the right one, to ensure a uniform outflow, not allowing overflow of the gland and stagnation milk.

In which case does mastitis develop

If a new mom has problems with timely feeding, related to the illness of the baby or the mother herself, and also because of separation of the mother and the child for some other reason, it is necessary to express milk in about the same rhythm as in the ordinary feeding. This should be done carefully, probing the chest along the entire circumference, as if pushing the accumulated milk in the direction of the nipple. If pumping is not done correctly, breast milk remains inside the gland, gradually accumulates, and stagnates. There is lactostasis - stagnation of milk in the chest. In the future, if the rules of hygiene of feeding are not observed, nipple cracks are formed, infection occurs in the chest, and an infiltration appears in the chest. Lactostasis passes into mastitis.

Symptoms of mastitis:

  • chest pain,
  • sealing,
  • redness of the skin over the site of inflammation,
  • increased body temperature,
  • Serous or purulent discharge from the nipple.

Treatment includes antibiotic therapy, additional pumping, local cold. When complicating in the form of an abscess, surgical treatment is performed by opening and draining it.

What is mastopathy?

The feeling of swelling of the breast can occur and for a more serious reason - the presence of fibrocystic mastopathy. This disease, which occurs as a result of hormonal imbalance, characterized by proliferation of connective tissue and the formation of cysts. When palpation, a seal is found that can reach the size of a walnut, and around it, voids are probed.

There is no specific treatment for mastopathy. Monthly careful monitoring is necessary in order not to miss the formation of a cancer tumor and proliferation - the multiplication of cells. According to the indications hormonal preparations are used. Anesthetics are prescribed for pain.

Tumors of the mammary glands

The most dangerous disease of the breast is a malignant tumor. Visually, it can be found if the patient has an asymmetrical chest, the skin at the tumor site is hyperemic, there is a symptom of the crust. In addition to swelling, a woman feels uncomfortable, and in more neglected cases, pain. Like any other kind, breast cancer requires timely diagnosis in order to avoid further development and metastasis. Diagnosis is the mandatory conduct of mammography and biopsy, most often to obtain material for the study, the puncture method is applied.


The habit of modern women increasingly includes caring for themselves and watching their own health, but there is still a large percentage of those who forget to visit doctors in terms of prevention. They turn only at a time when they are already feeling very unwell.

In order to extend your life, and also enjoy it, you must observe only a few rules:

  1. Regularly visit a doctor - gynecologist.
  2. Conduct a breast examination yourself.
  3. Lead a healthy lifestyle.

The breast is located in easy accessibility, therefore it is not difficult for every woman to examine her independently.

Self-examination consists of a visual examination of the mammary glands in the mirror and their feeling also in front of the mirror. First you need to lift one hand by the head and, slowly, circle the palpation of the chest, and then the armpits, checking the lymph nodes. Also check the second breast. When examining, pay attention to the shape and symmetry of both glands, skin condition. This examination is carried out once a month for 5-12 days of menstruation.

To maintain the health and beauty of the breast, it is important to choose the right linen, it should not be squeezed, but it's also not worth buying a lot of free linen. The bra is chosen exactly in size - the volume of the chest is taken into account. When putting on a bra, you need to straighten the chest with your hand, so that no parts are squeezed, and the stone does not fall on the glandular part.

If you find at least a small compaction, a feeling of unnatural swelling, discomfort or pain, you should immediately contact a specialist and undergo a complete examination.