Are Costochondritis And Hormones Linked Together? The Mystery Solved

Costochondritis And Hormones

Statistics say about 70% of the costochondritis patients are female. Women over 40 are the primary victims of this condition, especially when about to experience menopausal transition. So, is there any link between costochondritis and hormones?

 

Though the causes of costochondritis are still unknown, hormonal imbalance is a vague possibility. Catch all the details on how hormones and this chest inflammatory condition are related from the article below.

What Is The Connection Between Costochondritis And Hormones?

 

Costochondritis, the inflammation in the joints of the upper ribs to the breastbone, is not life-threatening. But the condition will make the patient suffer from everything it has.

 

Generally, adults (especially females over 40) are the primary costochondritis victims. However, according to sources, 10 to 30% of adolescents might also experience the horror of this physical condition.

Costochondritis And Hormones

 

Scientists and researchers have been trying to crack the root cause of costochondritis for so long. But, unfortunately, they are still not there.

 

Costochondritis is more common in women over 40 or around the menopausal transition. Hence some experts believe there is a connection between this chest pain and hormones.

 

Women undergo a roller coaster ride of hormonal changes during the menopausal period. It is because the estrogen and progesterone production of the body fluctuate so often, which leads to undesired changes in the body and mood. These imbalances in estrogen levels and other hormones might lead to chest pain.

 

Doctors claim that costochondritis is responsible for this chest pain or the inflammation in the chest cartilage.

 

Women often experience costochondritis while on their menstrual cycle. You can justify the chest pain based on the hormonal theory. Estrogen level fluctuates during that time of the month, causing swelling.

 

The relation between costochondritis and hormones is not established yet. However, further research and studies might explain the link more clearly.

 

Tenderness Of Breast: Is Costochondritis Solely Responsible?

 

Costochondritis is undoubtedly the most common cause of breast tenderness. The rib cage inflammation behind the breasts leads to constant, achy, and immense pain. Remember, the costochondritis pain never originates from the center of the chest but directly from behind the breasts.

 

The root cause of costochondritis is still unknown. However, scientists assume that this inflammation is due to increased body activities, chest injury, physical strain, or hormonal changes.

 

Though costochondritis is one of the reasons behind breast tenderness, it is not the only one responsible. Several other potential causes are discussed below,

 

Hormonal Imbalance, Costochondritis, And Breast Soreness

 

Costochondritis due to hormonal fluctuation is nothing new. Women experience inflammation under the breast before or during their menstrual cycle. The rise of estrogen and progesterone level is the master behind this breast soreness.

 

Women also suffer from hormonal imbalance during the menopausal transition. Breast tenderness is an ordinary segment for ladies at the start of their new journey. Furthermore, breast soreness is expected during the first trimester among pregnant women. The surge of hormone production leads to breast aching.

 

Unsupportive Bra

 

The wrong size bra will definitely make you suffer today or tomorrow. If the bra cushion fails to provide enough support, your breast ligaments will become overstretched due to the tightness or the bouncing around. In the end, you will have an achy and throbbing pain in your breasts.

 

The unsupportive bras have other side effects too. For example, muscular discomfort and back or shoulder pain might also originate from wearing the wrong size bra.

 

Breast Injury

 

The throbbing pain in your breasts might be due to any recent injury you have faced. Again, breast implantation or surgery also often causes aching or tenderness. The pain seems to linger for a few days to a few weeks and then suddenly vanishes.

 

Yet, talk to the doctor to clear your doubts. Moreover, seek emergency medical attention if you notice any of the following changes,

 

  • Lump
  • Bruises
  • Redness and warmth
  • Swelling

 

The above symptoms indicate breast infection, more common among breastfeeding women. But other women might also fall victim to the condition. Hence, a proper medical diagnosis and treatment are mandatory.

 

Breast Cyst Or Cancer

 

The tenderness might be due to a lump in the breast. Scientists have found no real cause of developing a cyst. According to their assumption, hormonal activities are often responsible for these fluid-filled lumps in the breast.

 

However, cysts are nothing severe and might resolve on their own. Still, proper medical guidance is always recommended.

 

Cancer-induced breast pain is rare, but you can not ignore the possibilities at all. A survey says 1 – 5% of breast tenderness indicates cancer. Hence, if you notice any abnormalities and pain, consult your doctor for further instruction.

Pain Left Under Breast Due To Costochondritis & Others

 

The constant and dull aching in your breast can be because of something simple or severe. In cases, the throbbing pain is a sign of an underlying condition. Costochondritis is responsible for the tenderness left under the breasts in most situations. All the possible reasons for breast pain are,

Costochondritis

 

Aching left under the breast is an indication of costochondritis. The pain becomes so severe that the victims often mistake it a heart attack. This tightness under the breast worsens while coughing, sneezing, or doing physical activities.

 

Injuries, trauma, and physical strain can cause costochondritis in adults. In addition, scientists suggest there might be a link between costochondritis and hormones for women.

Pleurisy

 

Pleurisy, the lung membrane lining inflammation, can cause breast or chest aching. The pain originates from the lung and radiates around the area. Infection, seasonal flu, severe pneumonia, etc., often lead to pleurisy.

 

In pleurisy, the throbbing worsens when you breathe. The victims experience tenderness in either or both the breasts.

 

Chest Or Rib Injury

 

A sudden blow on the chest during sports or driving a car is enough to crack or bruise your rib bones. Such accidents are so painful that you can hardly perform any physical activity within a few weeks. Injuries like these can be the reasons why you are experiencing a throbbing pain under your breasts. The aching might linger around for a few weeks even after you are on your feet again.

 

Pericarditis

 

Your heart is wrapped up with a two-layered membrane called the pericardium. Autoimmune diseases, infections, or injuries might inflame these layers leading to pericarditis.

 

This condition has similar symptoms to costochondritis, such as chest pain, trouble breathing, etc. Also, the aching intensifies when coughing or performing physical activities. Remember, pericarditis pain only exists on the left side, not the right one.

Costochondritis Treatment: The Only Effective Way Out Of Your Pain

 

Generally, costochondritis is a self-limiting condition that goes away on its own within a few days. But the aching gets so severe sometimes that patients require drugs to soothe the pain. Doctors recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory over-the-counter meds like Aleve, Advil, etc., to relieve the soreness.

 

However, NSAIDs might not always work in treating costochondritis. Therefore, the patients often look for alternatives to get relief. For example, I have seen cases where the sufferers find chiropractor sessions helpful in reducing inflammation.

 

Physiotherapy also aids in getting rid of the pain. Some practitioners suggest cortisol injections as a part of the therapy.

 

Besides the meds and physical sessions, you might want to try some other home remedies. For example,

  • Hot water or ice therapy often eases the pain in the chest.
  • Stretching every day will gradually reduce the discomfort level.
  • Mental stress can intensify the throbbing pain. Meditation or yoga helps in relieving anxiety.
  • Take a complete break from heavy physical activities and rest for weeks.

 

As I said earlier, costochondritis requires no treatment, and it is a self-healing condition. However, you might have to seek medical advice if the pain is constant and too frequent for you. But, again, the doctors will advise as they see it fits.

 

Final Thoughts

Scientists are yet to discover the exact causes of chest rib cage inflammation. However, they believe there is a connection between costochondritis and hormones, especially in women. In most cases, the costochondritis-induced chest pain is not severe or nothing to be concerned about. Yet, taking advice from an expert is always safe and helpful.

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Dr. David Nazarian

Dr. Nazarian is board certified in Internal Medicine and practices integrative medicine in the heart of Beverly Hills. In his career he has worked in the Emergency Department as well as in the hospital setting as a hospitalist. He has extensive medical training in hormone replacement therapy.

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