When you’re coming up to a period, you may feel more sensitive to aches and pains – particularly in sensitive body parts like your breast. You might start to worry: is it a sign of a disease? Or an early hint of pregnancy? Fear not, because we’re about to break down the facts on sore breasts before periods.
Are sore breasts before periods normal?
In a word, yes. There are two types of breast pain: cyclical (meaning it happens in accordance with the menstrual cycle), and non-cyclical (meaning it happens at other times of the month, usually for other reasons.)
Cyclical breast pain is very common and affects up to 40% of women of reproductive age.1This can affect both sides at once, but sometimes only one boob is sore at a time. Sometimes it’s barely noticeable, but in other months it might feel uncomfortable to even wear a t-shirt!
If your boobs get sore before a period, try not to fret too much. Breast pain is rarely associated with breast cancer, so if you don’t have any lumps or other symptoms, sore breasts before periods are more likely caused by menstrual hormone changes.
However, if the pain doesn’t go away after Aunt Flo has been and gone, it’s a good idea to see a doctor to make sure everything is OK.
What causes sore breasts before periods?
In the second half of your menstrual cycle, your body ramps up production of the hormone progesterone. This hormone’s job is to get your body ready for supporting a theoretical baby, just in case you happened to get pregnant this month.
One of its effects is to stimulate the growth of milk-producing cells in your breasts. This activity may cause your breasts to feel sore or tender. This is just one of the many symptoms you may feel as a part of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
When is it normal to get sore breasts before periods?
Cyclical breast pain doesn’t affect everyone in the same way. Progesterone production increases after you pass the ovulatory phase of your menstrual cycle, so it’s possible for you to experience sore boobs as early as 2 weeks before a period. Other sufferers find that breast pain peaks 2 to 3 days before a period.
Do sore breasts before periods mean I’m pregnant?
It’s true that many new moms report experiencing breast pain in the early weeks of pregnancy. However, since you also experience sore breasts in the latter half of a normal menstrual cycle as PMS, breast pain is not a reliable indicator of pregnancy before your period.
Rather than stressing over what breast pain means before a period, wait until one week after your period is due. That will be the most accurate time to take a pregnancy test.
Remedies for sore breasts before periods
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which you can buy at pharmacies are helpful in staving off the worst of cyclical sore breasts, since they act directly on the production of pain-producing chemicals prostaglandins.
Some studies suggest that a 3000 mg dose of evening primrose oil per day could help improve breast pain. Another research suggests that if you take 2 tablespoons of crushed flaxseed every day for 3 months, it could help alleviate sore breasts before periods.
But remember: check with your pharmacist or doctor that these won’t interact with other medicines you use.
Proper size bra
It’s estimated that as many as 80% of women are wearing the wrong size bra, which can definitely aggravate pain and discomfort! Bustier women and girls are more likely to have the wrong-sized bra. Give your chest the support it deserves by getting fitted for a properly sized bra.
See a doctor if you’re worried about breast pain before periods
Cyclical breast pain is a very common complaint before periods – and it’s generally down to the shifting levels of your reproductive hormones. Although PMS symptoms like this can be uncomfortable, they shouldn’t interfere with your life.
If the breast pain that sometimes strikes before a period is making it hard for you to go about your daily activities, speak to your doctor about it. There are treatments available for it.