Women's Health

Preparing for a Mammogram with Fibromyalgia

Preparing for a Mammogram with Fibromyalgia

Key Takeaways

  • Anxiety can cause the mind to overthink, which results in more pain.
  • Take time to research the right facility to get a mammogram.
  • Caffeine can make your breasts more tender, causing more pain. So, minimize caffeine intake two weeks before the scheduled mammogram.

When the treatment is accompanied by pain, it is always hard to move a step forward and consult a doctor. Here are some good and helpful ways to prepare for a less painful treatment.

Being a woman comes with high chances of physical pain, from dysmenorrhea to chest pains that range from mild to severe aches. One of the physical pains commonly experienced by women is fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease often characterized by extensive musculoskeletal pain, tagged along with fatigue and mood issues.

According to the Office on Women’s Health, approximately 80-90% of the people who are affected with this disorder are women, and it could be hard to treat. When faced with this disorder, experts mostly advise women to undergo mammography, yet they tend to avoid it due to its arduous pain. So, women, who cannot tolerate pain, hate the idea of getting a mammogram. However, mammography is a vital process to detect active cancer cells on the breast. It is one of the most efficient methods to fight against breast cancer. Experts advised women aged 40 to get a Mammogram image to every one to two years. If you have a family history of breast cancer, it is also advisable to have a mammogram as caution.

Mammograms may be painful, though it depends on some factors. The skill of the technician, or the person who will run the process are just a few of the biggest factors. The patient’s readiness on the process is also vital since fear and anxiety can become factors of pain. Another factor is the breast’s structure of the woman. Breasts that are less tender tend to experience less pain. The position of the machine is also one of the things to be considered. If the machine is in an improper position, it can create problems like back and muscle pains. So, it is very important for a technician to be mindful of the position of both the machine and the patient.

Experts are aware that getting a mammogram is painful, especially for people who suffer from a chronic disease. Upon knowing this, health professionals have come up with useful tips to prepare women who experience severe pain for mammography.

Tips for preparing for a mammogram

1. Schedule the annual mammogram one week after menstruation. A research conducted by Dr. Diana Miglioretti of Group Health Research Institute in Seattle shows that menstrual cycle may affect mammogram accuracy. This is the time when the breast tissue is less dense, which results in more accurate findings and less pain.

2. Take a deep breath. Doing so can reduce the pain and the nervousness felt before getting the mammogram image. Anxiety can cause the mind to over think, which results in pain. Moreover, stress is a wicked factor that triggers pain. Therefore, taking short, deep breaths is a big help. Doctors also recommend that patients should be relaxed during the procedure to avoid future problems.

3. Choose the best facility for mammograms. To avoid lapses and ensure safety, going for the best facility should be of utmost priority. Take time to research whether the facility is approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Knowing that they have reached the needed standard can help put your mind at ease.

4. Communicate with your technologist properly. Speaking with a health expert about your condition helps a lot in diagnosing the pain. Furthermore, sharing your previous Mammogram image with your physician is also helpful. It is also substantial to inform them that you have encountered chronic pain. With this, the technologist can apply the necessary procedure to acquire the best image without too much pain. It is also important to ask them to take long breaks in between session if the pain is intolerable.

5. Bring a friend. This may sound impractical, but bringing a friend can help in easing the pain and drive away those butterflies in your stomach. You can invite them to get their Mammogram image, too. It is always comforting to know that you are not alone. Also, having a companion is a good distraction from pain.

6. Reduce caffeine intake. If you are into coffee or any caffeinated drinks, then better start being mindful of the amount you take in. Caffeine can make your breast more tender, causing more pain. So, minimize caffeine intake two weeks before the scheduled mammogram.

7. Avoid using deodorant or perfume a few hours before the appointment. The metallic particles of these products can be captured in the mammogram and can cause confusion to the image. Applying lotions and creams under your arm should also be avoided to ensure accuracy in your mammogram result.

8. Look for a technologist who is specialized in chronic pains. If you are suffering extreme pain, going for a mammogram session could be scary. However, if you will have a technologist who is an expert in handling pain, it would help you to become more confident in having the mammogram. Also, if you have a technologist whom you already like, ask him or her to do the procedure in the future.

9. Consider taking an alternative if the pain is intolerable. Painkillers are effective in reducing the amount of pain received during the mammogram process. If you find mammography uncomfortable, you can consider an over-the-counter medicine prescribed from trusted pharmacies prescribed by your doctor.

10. Ask for a comfortable atmosphere. Approach your physician if you can wear a robe during the procedure. Since you only need to remove the top during the mammogram session, you can wear a two-piece outfit. Also, if the physician’s hand is cold, you can ask him or her to wear gloves. You can also ask to have your mammogram while sitting to bring more comfort.

11. Padding is a great pain-reducer. Ask if the facility can provide breast cushion for a more comfortable and less painful experience. In the advent of technology, many of the mammogram technology have padding installed in it. According to the Winneshiek Medical Center, the breast cushion can provide a soft and warm padding for the breast. This is a good way of decreasing the pain.

12. Request for a slow compression. Most women who had undergone the procedure would say it is painful. You can always ask for a gentle compression when the sudden compression is too painful. For people who have chronic pains, pain is more tolerable if compression is done slowly and gently.

13. Delay the mammogram when you are breastfeeding or pregnant. It is at this time that you are not allowed to have a mammogram. Since a mammogram is associated with radiation, it is not safe for pregnant women to undergo such process. However, if there is a need to do so, technologist would let them wear a lead apron. Therefore, reschedule the mammogram if possible.

Final thoughts

Mammograms might be scary and painful, but they are necessary for ensuring your health. It may compromise comfort and painless process, but the results are worthy since it can help identify signs of cancer. Although it won’t prevent cancer, it can help you become more aware of your condition. So, a regular mammogram is a big leap towards a cancer-free life.