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PMS Breast Tenderness

A Look at the Causes and Remedies for PMS Breast Tenderness

Tender or swollen breasts are quite common during the second half of the menstrual cycle. Here is a HerHaleness post that will give you information about the causes and some techniques to help you find relief.
Kanika Khara
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
PMS breast tenderness is a syndrome that many women experience a week or so before their menstrual cycles begin. Dizziness, headaches, mood swings, stomach bloating, food cravings, depression, etc. are some common PMS symptoms that women may develop besides breast swelling and tenderness. Whether it's PMS or menopause, the condition is generally explained as pain, soreness, swelling, or discomfort in the breast which, at times, can be so intense that some women may find it difficult to touch their breasts and may also experience severe discomfort while sleeping.
Though normally the condition stabilizes as the cycle ends, in some cases, the pain can continue for a long period of time and may even lead to sleepless nights. Hence, in order to deal with this issue, let us first take a look at its causes.
There are various factors that may result in breast soreness or tenderness during PMS. The main cause is hormonal imbalance. As a woman approaches her menstrual cycle, estrogen and progesterone (two reproductive hormones) levels start varying in different ways. The breast ducts are enlarged because more estrogen is made in the early menstrual cycle, and it peaks right before mid-cycle. On the other hand, the progesterone level peaks near the 21st day of the cycle (in a 28-day cycle). This usually causes the breast lobules to grow (milk glands). Apart from this, most women experience the symptoms due to family history, a high-fat diet, and/or too much caffeine intake.
Home Care
There are a few ways you can do at home in order to find some comfort.
  • Good breast support - The first step is to wear a good bra which can give proper support. Especially while exercising, wear a good bra that can help minimize soreness and swelling.
  • Pain relievers - If the pain is intense, take a pain reliever a day or so before your period. However, frequent intake of pain reliever is not recommended.
  • Dietary changes - Healthy dietary changes can also help relieving breast pain or discomfort. Avoid eating foods high in sodium as it may lead to additional water retention and swelling. Moreover, research shows women who have less sugar and fatty foods, especially a week or so before their menstruation cycle begins, experience a decrease in breast tenderness and pain.
  • Caffeine - Another common cause is caffeine. Hence, it is strongly recommended to avoid having beverages rich in caffeine.
  • Vitamins - Intake of vitamins like vitamin A, B6, and E help to minimize the swelling and tenderness by maintaining the hormonal balance in the body.
  • Herbs - Dong quai (female ginseng) and evening primrose oil are some natural products that are used by many women across the world. These herbs are considered to be quite effective in relieving breast pain and discomfort.
Besides the aforementioned measures, drinking adequate amount of water or using hot and cold compress on breasts can also help. However, even after trying these techniques there is no change in the condition, it is recommended to consult a doctor to elucidate the case.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.