Although, sore breasts are usually associated with menopausal women, large number of women of reproductive age also experience this symptom before their periods. Incidentally, many women also report sore breasts during mid-cycle. This can be attributed to hormonal changes that take place around the time of ovulation, which occurs roughly in the middle of your cycle. Going by the large number of women who experience it, this condition can be considered as a common phenomenon.
Causes of Sore Breasts During Ovulation
A woman's menstrual cycle is greatly influenced by two female reproductive hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen is active during the first half of the cycle. This phase is called follicular phase in which a mature egg gets ready inside a follicle. The process of ovulation is characterized by release of this mature egg from either of the two ovaries. After ovulation, progesterone dominates the cycle and starts preparing the body for a possible pregnancy. As a result of this, the body starts retaining water which leads to swelling in certain areas, including breasts. As the breasts stretch to accommodate the increase in size, you experience some kind of soreness upon touching them.
Although, hormonal changes is the primary cause of sore breasts around the time of ovulation, the concentration of reproductive hormones in the body decide the extent and area of pain. Estrogen dominance in the body results in sore and painful nipples. If the breast soreness is present only in the front of the breast or in a single breast then it is possibly due to lack of ovulation. If the soreness exists in both breasts, then it is an indicator of ovulation. Soreness in the entire breast suggests ovulation without adequate production of progesterone.
Now, all women can experience these subtle changes during ovulation. Women who go off the pills after years of use are most likely to experience very sore breasts during ovulation. Similarly, women who have not ovulated in a long time are likely to experience aggravated symptoms of painful ovulation. As a result, they may have sore, painful breasts and may also experience some pain in their ovaries. Nonetheless, this is a temporary condition and subsides as soon as you have your period. However, in case you conceive, the condition may trigger and you may actually see a noticeable change in your breast size. Along with soreness, you will see some amount of enlargement and tenderness.
Important consideration while dealing with sore breasts at the time of ovulation is to ensure that you really are ovulating. In that case, it is important to keep a watch on other signs of ovulation such as fertile cervical mucus, surge in Basal Body Temperature (BBT), etc. An ovulation predictor kit can be a helpful tool in knowing exactly when you are ovulating. If the breast soreness also occurs around the same time, you can be certain that ovulation indeed is causing it. If soreness surfaces without any sign of ovulation, then it could be due to hormonal imbalance (dominance of estrogen in most cases). In case, this continues for more than a couple of months, you may need a treatment to balance your hormones and get your menstrual cycle back on track.
There is no treatment as such for sore breasts if it's due to ovulation. However, you can undertake certain measures to minimize pain and discomfort. This includes applying cold compresses to breast area. Since, it has been found that caffeine intake triggers the condition, it is best to cut down your intake of caffeine beverages. Hope you found this article resourceful.