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Tenderness and the Menstrual Cycle
November 2000

Q. Usually during the week before my menstrual cycle I get a tenderness under my left armpit. There is no sign of any kind of lump and there is no throbbing pain, just irritableness. Is this caused by the hormone changes?

A. Tenderness and swelling of the breasts may occur premenstrually in some women. It is termed "cyclical mastopathy". In about 5 % of women, some breast tissue may be present in other locations including under the armpits (Axilla). Hence it is possible that you may have some hormonally related premenstrual axillary tenderness.

It seems according to one of the below references that dietary fat is associated with the symptoms. Reduction in dietary fat helped alleviate the symptoms. Furthermore, there may be an increase risk in breast cancer in those with cyclical mastopathy. Hence, it would be prudent for you to follow a low fat diet, and ask your doctor to consider breast cancer screening with mammogram and regular breast exams by your doctor and self exam monthly.

Ref: SOURCE: Breast Cancer Res Treat 1995;33(1):63-73 CITATION IDS: PMID: 7749134 UI: 95268083

Ref: SOURCE: Ann Plast Surg 1995 Oct;35(4):356-60 CITATION IDS: PMID: 8585676 UI: 96119586

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