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Breast Problems (cont.)

Check Your Symptoms

Home Treatment

Breast self-exams are a simple way for you to learn what your breasts normally feel like. During a breast self-exam, you examine your own breasts to look and feel for changes from one month to the next. You will learn how your breasts feel and what is normal for you so that you can spot any changes early. For more information about how to do a breast self-exam, see the topic Breast Self-Examination.

If you have pain or a fever from a breast problem or injury, you can try nonprescription medicines for your symptoms.

Medicine you can buy without a prescription
Try a nonprescription medicine to help treat your fever or pain:

Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.

Safety tips
Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
  • Carefully read and follow all directions on the medicine bottle and box.
  • Do not take more than the recommended dose.
  • Do not take a medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past.
  • If you have been told to avoid a medicine, call your doctor before you take it.
  • If you are or could be pregnant, do not take any medicine other than acetaminophen unless your doctor has told you to.
  • Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless your doctor tells you to.

Alternative medicines or supplements may help relieve breast tenderness, discomfort, or pain (mastalgia). As with all alternative medicines and supplements, be sure to follow the directions on the label. Do not exceed the maximum recommended dose. If you are or could be pregnant, talk with your doctor before taking any medicine or supplement.

  • Evening primrose. The latest research has shown that evening primrose oil is no better than a placebo, even after 6 months of treatment for breast pain.1 For more information on studies of evening primrose and breast symptoms, see the topic Fibrocystic Breasts.
  • Magnesium. Some studies have shown that magnesium reduces mild premenstrual symptoms. For more information, see the topic Fibrocystic Breasts.

Symptoms to watch for during home treatment

Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:

  • Skin changes, such as dimpling or puckering
  • Changes in the color or feel of the breast
  • Nipple discharge
  • Darkening of the area around the nipple
  • A nipple being drawn inward
  • Any breast problem that lasts more than 2 weeks
  • A breast lump in a man
  • Symptoms of a breast infection
  • Symptoms that become more severe or more frequent
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