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Breast Tenderness and Pain—Is Your Coffee to Blame?

 
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Why are my boobs sore? Is coffee the reason? via Unsplash

May I ask you a personal question? Do your breasts hurt?

If you answered “yes,” you are not alone. According to research, many women say "my boobs hurt" or "my boobs are sore" at some point or another. For many of us, this pain will come around menstruation, when breasts tend to be bigger and more sensitive anyway. But for other women, these uncomfortable feelings just don’t want to go away.

Since I asked the personal question it’s only fair that I answer it too so here goes—yes, they sure can and do! And I have a young son who loves to crawl up on my lap and too often I have to sort of move to one side to make sure he’s not bumping up too hard against “the girls”.

Not too long ago, I got to thinking about the situation and why breasts can so often get sore and painful for so many women, myself included. It struck me how when I was pregnant, rather than have the increased sensitivity and pain that so many women report during this time, mine actually felt better. Then I got to thinking—what, besides the pregnancy itself, was different during those two times I was expecting? And before long it hit me—in both pregnancies I almost completely eliminated caffeine.

This epiphany got me to thinking even more, and then it got me doing research. What I realized is that now that I’m a busy mom of two boys who works from home and tries to keep an average of about 25 plates in the air at all times, I have upped my caffeine intake more than ever. Just ask the friendly baristas at my neighborhood Starbucks—they’ll tell you. I love my caffeine and I have two big doses of it a day—at home in the morning, and at Starbucks literally every afternoon.

So could this increase in my beloved coffee be the reason for my sensitive girls? I got on the computer and did some research, and lo and behold, there is a direct connection between caffeine and breast tenderness.

For example, in a study conducted by researchers at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, 61 percent of women with breast pain had a reduction in breast tenderness when they cut out caffeine.

Add a Comment21 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

The lady who did my mamogram told me to stop drinking coffee after I complained that my breasts hurt. I couldn't quit cold turkey - I love a hot beverage that helps me get going in the morning! But I did some research and switched to green tea. I didn't have to go through caffeine withdrawals AND my breasts stopped hurting. I still have coffee a few times a week which seems to be fine. Once I tried to go back to coffee and after a month, I was in pain again. So, I recommend the green tea approach - it's also good for you!

September 29, 2016 - 2:06pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hi,
I'm a literary translator and a story teller and recently I've started translating a new book. Of course this meant doubling my coffee intake which was already much beyond the amount people usually drink (from morning to midday I literally live on coffee). Anyway, this month my breasts were really sore during pms, so sore that even showering was hell. I was counting the days for my period to end so that I could be free of this horrible pain. And you know the story: The period has left the scene but the pain is still there with all its glory! I had an appointment for a mammography which I had to cancel because of surprisingly more pain after my period. So as the queen of pessimists, I had all sorts of bad thoughts in my mind. First, I definitely thought I was pregnant although the chances were close to zero. The test: Negative. Then started the paranoia of breast cancer or any other cancer. At nights, I was dreaming of cancer cells eating up my whole body (In addition to my fictitious mind, the reason could also be the piercing pain I felt when I turned to one side in bed for example - the pain was more at night in bed and when I woke up). Luckily yesterday I bumped into a good friend of mine who owns an organic shop and who regularly receives a lot of training on health issues as part of her job. We were talking and I told her about the pain in my breasts. The first thing she said was "are you drinking more coffee?" And she also added that women with a high tendency for fibrocystic breasts (me!), experience the discomfort more severely. So, immediately googled the subject and saw your post. From tomorrow on, I will start reducing the number of cups. (Cutting the amount even in half would make a big difference I'm sure) Anyway, we'll see what happens.

March 1, 2016 - 8:08am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I'm 69 and figured out through trial and error years ago that what you suspect is true. It's coffee. I also have fibrocystic breasts. But to get rid of the pain I must cut out tea as well, though coffee is what causes it.

April 27, 2016 - 5:44am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I am a heavy Pepsi drinker and sometimes I drink way too much in one day. A few months ago, I started experiencing breast tenderness, pain and swelling with one breast feeling really lumpy. I became concerned but before I scheduled an appt to see my doctor, I wanted to make sure it wasn't related to the caffeine intake. I was suspicious that it was because I had noticed whenever I drink alot in one day or for a couple days straight with not much water, my breast would become tender swollen and very sensitive.. .. Anyway, I decided to stop all caffeine and within 3 days the breast tenderness had decreased drastically as well as the swelling.. I noticed the one breast which had felt lumpy no longer felt that way and appeared almost normal.. I know for sure that caffeine is the culprit but I'm still going for a mammogram just to be sure.

January 27, 2016 - 3:35am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I started having fairly persistent pain in my right breast out of nowhere. Not a coffee drinker, but I drink lots of tea. My doctor recommended going caffeine free for a week and to report back any changes. The pain almost completely subsided. That was only a few weeks ago, so it's to be determined whether it will return, but my caffeine intake is pretty minimal for the time being.

August 5, 2015 - 4:07pm

I started drinking 5 cups of tea yesterday ( i just wanted to loss weight ☺) , aside to that I've been drinking coffee 3 times a day for 3 months straight and just this morning my left breast is in pain. I don't know what to do, and after i read this article , i think I'll try to stop drinking my tea and coffee for now .

July 14, 2015 - 7:49am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

It's just day one for me, I'm cutting out caffeine especially coffee. I feel as if the pain is lessening already so we shall see. I have been checked out by my doctor, mammogram, and ultrasound, with nothing being found. I decided to try this after reading a few inconclusive studies on the breast pain/caffeine connection. After reading this article and the comments I feel encouraged to at least follow through and make the necessary changes. It will be worth it to feel better, thanks so much!

March 23, 2015 - 5:17pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

It's not the caffeine. It must be something else in the coffee. I switched to decaf more than a year ago and have been drinking "instant" for the convenience. And I've been fine. Then on a whim, two weeks ago, I started drinking ground decaf French roast. OMG, the pain! Either the stuff was mislabeled as decaf or it's something else in the coffee that does it.

February 26, 2015 - 8:43am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Decaffeinated really means less caffeine.

August 17, 2015 - 4:18pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Since my forties, I have been experiencing lumpy painful breasts 2 weeks before my period that lasts until after my period is over. I have been a coffee drinker for 25 years so when my doctor suggested quitting, I ignored her advice. Recently, I had to quit drinking coffee due to stomach pain. I cannot believe the difference it has made with my breast pain and lumpiness. It has vanished! I am 1 week away from my period and I have absolutely no pain or lumpiness. It was really hard to give up coffee. I swore I never would but now, I am so glad I did. The stomach pain has subsided, too!

January 25, 2015 - 6:51am
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