- Time your procedure
- Cut back on the caffeine
- Take Tylenol or NSAID
- Request a gradual compression
- Wear a padded bra after your mammogram
- Exhale and Relax
Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers worldwide and a leading cause of death. Early detection of breast cancer is easier to treat and carries less risk of death. Mammograms are a standard imaging tool used for early detection of breast cancer. Its effectiveness in early detection and preventing deaths from breast cancer has been well established.
A common complaint about mammograms is the pain and discomfort some women experience during and after the procedure. No matter how motivated you may be about utilizing this valuable tool, if you are expecting this to be painful, you may be discouraged.
Finding ways to reduce the pain and discomfort surrounding mammograms can go a long way to make the scheduling of this exam, well,…not so painful.
1. Time your procedure.
During your period and the weeks leading up to your period, your breast tissue is most sensitive. Timing your mammogram to occur within the first one to two weeks after your cycle ends will help reduce your discomfort during the exam.
2. Cut back on the caffeine.
Studies have shown that caffeine consumption, even in low doses, is associated with breast pain. This study defined 2 cups of coffee as a low dose, 4 cups as moderate, and 6 cups as a high intake. As per the USDA, one cup of coffee averages about 95 mg of caffeine.
Reduction in caffeine intake resulted in decreased breast sensitivity for all groups. Common sources of caffeine in our diet include coffee, tea, beverages, and chocolate.
3. Take Tylenol or NSAID.
One hour before your procedure, taking over-the-counter painkillers such as Tylenol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID), such as ibuprofen or Naproxen, may help reduce the pain you experience during and after your mammogram.
4. Request a gradual compression.
Share your concern with your mammogram technician. She will ensure your machine is at the most suitable height for you. Your mammogram tech may also be able to slowly compress your breast, thereby easing your pain and anxiety.
5. Wear a padded bra after your mammogram.
Wearing a padded or sports bra can help keep your girls cushioned and supported after mammogram testing.
6. Exhale and Relax.
Relax your mind and your body. Playing music on your smartphone, using breathing techniques, and loosening your grip on the stabilization bars- are all techniques used to relax your muscles. Total body relaxation creates less resistance to the positioning needed, making it easier to get the correct images and allowing a quicker, more accurate exam.
Mammograms are part of an essential screening tool for early breast cancer detection. Mammograms save lives. If you experience discomfort during or after your mammogram, first take heart that you are not alone. Still, there are ways to reduce discomfort, allowing for an easier, more comfortable exam.
Copyright: myObMD, Inc | Author: Dayna Smith, MD | Reviewed October 16, 2023.
- L.C. Russell, Caffeine Restriction as initial treatment for breast pain. 1989, Feb 14 (2): 36-7, 40.
- Golshan, Mehra, MD, MBA, FACS. Breast Pain, Uptodate.com, accessed October 16th, 2023.
- American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), FAQ 178. Mammography and Other Screening Tests for Breast Problems. Published September 2017, Last reviewed July 2022.