Some women experience breast pain with every period, some get it occasionally, some women have extremely irregular periods and may be caught completely unawares by breast pain during menstruation. EmpressBody is dedicated to normalizing everything to do with periods and we want women to feel supported and reassured by these blogs, and we’re here to tell you that breast pain can be very normal! Premenstrual breast swelling and tenderness, or cyclical mastalgia, is a common concern among women. The symptom is part of a group of symptoms called premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. PMS-related breast soreness can range in severity. Symptoms often peak just before menstruation begins, then fade during or immediately following a menstrual period. Most of the time, the symptoms are more of an annoyance than a serious medical concern. We’ve put together a run-down of the various reasons why your breasts might be hurting and some tips for general breast care too!
Sounds scary, but it’s very common …
Premenstrual breast swelling and tenderness can also be a sign of fibrocystic breast disease. Fibrocystic breast disease is a term used to describe painful, lumpy breasts prior to the menstrual period.
Women with this condition often notice large, benign (noncancerous) lumps in their breasts prior to their monthly periods. These lumps may move when pushed on, and typically shrink once your period has ended. Nonetheless, whenever you are worried about changes in your breasts, consult your doctor. Sore breasts can be a symptom of menopause and a variety of health conditions – and when it comes to your boobs it’s better safe than sorry!
Causes of premenstrual breast swelling and tenderness
Mainly, the culprit for tender or swollen boobs before or during your period is fluctuating hormone levels. Your hormones rise and fall during a normal menstrual cycle. The exact timing of the hormonal changes varies for each woman. Estrogen causes the breast ducts to enlarge. Progesterone production causes the milk glands to swell. Both of these events can cause your breasts to feel sore.
Estrogen and progesterone both increase during the second half of the cycle — days 14 to 28 in a “typical” 28-day cycle. Estrogen peaks in the middle of the cycle, while progesterone levels rise during the week before menstruation.
Medications that contain estrogen can also cause breast changes such as tenderness and swelling (like the hormonal contraceptive pill).
What should I be looking out for?
Tenderness and heaviness in both breasts are the main symptoms of premenstrual pain and swelling. A dull aching in the breasts can also be a problem for some women. Your breast tissue could feel dense or coarse to the touch. Symptoms tend to appear the week before your period and disappear almost immediately when menstrual bleeding begins. Most women do not experience severe pain.
In some cases, breast tenderness affects the everyday routines of some women of childbearing age, and is not necessarily connected to the menstrual cycle.
Due to the natural change in hormone levels that occur as a woman ages, premenstrual breast swelling and tenderness usually improves as menopause approaches.
But it’s important to be able to spot the signs or indicators that something is wrong: ✨ If your breasts change colour and become hot. This can be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer. This may be mistaken for an infection, which can delay diagnosis.⠀ ✨ If the texture of the skin around the breast changes or becomes pitted. Puckering or dimpling of the skin can indicate the presence of cancer before a lump is visible. The tumour inside the breast can cause pulling on the surrounding skin.⠀ ✨ Itchiness or rashes around the nipple area. This can indicate a rare type of breast cancer called Paget's disease. The symptoms are an itchy red rash which can look similar to eczema.⠀ ✨ Bleeding or discharge from the nipple. Discharge from the nipple may be a symptom of some forms of breast cancer. The likelihood is greater if your nipple discharge is bloodstained or accompanied by a lump.⠀ ✨ A pulled-in or inverted nipple. A new change to the nipple including inversion (the nipple turning in) could indicate that a lump is behind the nipple. This may become more obvious with raising your arm.
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