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Breast Tenderness
Related To The Menstrual Cycle

It’s pretty common for a woman to experience breast tenderness with ovulation. Symptoms of premenstrual breast tenderness may range from mild to severe. Symptoms typically peak just before each menstrual period and improve immediately after or during the menstrual period.

The tenderness is often lower in women taking birth control pills as the ovulation is not occurring. Factors that influence this may include-

Lisa Lawless
By Lisa S. Lawless, Ph.D.
Psychotherapist & Sexuality Expert

CEO & Founder of
Holistic Wisdom, Inc. & NAASAS

Copyright: Holistic Wisdom- Do NOT Copy Warning

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  • Family history

  • Excessive dietary fat- animal fats in particular contribute to breast pain. It may have to do with an animals' own hormones or what they have been given to eat or the way the fat is broken down. Remember that these days animals are given all kinds of things to make them grow faster and get the meat to market so watch your intake during that time of month.

  • Dairy products are often the culprit. Again the exact reason is unclear. These women may have an underlying allergy to the dairy products or may be reacting again to the hormones that were fed to the cows.

  • Caffeine

  • High salt diets increase swelling by causing fluid retention and this also puts a strain on the breast tissue.
  • Some psychiatric medications or antidepressants may increase breast pain.

  • Even some cholesterol-lowering and heart medications can cause breast changes.

  • Stress- Scientists are only beginning to understand the links between the immune system, our emotions and our hormones. Everyone has different stress levels and stressors, but it is a truism that too much stress is not good.

  • While it is most likely ovulation that is causing it based on it being a regular thing, you should check your breasts throughout your cycle to find out what is "normal" for you, as a baseline. You can do this by taking note, literally on a calendar, of any discomfort before and during your period. Then, once you have been off your active pills for seven days, you can do a breast self-exam.

  • Breast tenderness can also be a symptom of pregnancy but would not occur before a missed period. It can also be a sign of something more serious such as cancer... check for any unusual lumps, increased areas of sensitivity or pain, or other changes that may be a cause of concern. If you detect something or just want reassurance, you can make an appointment to see your health care provider.

Treatment Ideas-

  • Add vitamins E and A to your diet.

  • Reduce the salt in your diet, especially 1 to 2 weeks before your period.

  • Wear a bra that gives good support, especially if you exercise or have large breasts.

  • Put heat on your breast with a heating pad or warm water bottle.

  • Herbal Teas- Corn silk, buchu and uva ursi teas-available at most health food stores-are three very mild diuretics that seem to relieve breast tenderness in some women. By flushing fluid from your system, diuretics can help reduce breast swelling.

  • Oils- Evening Primrose Oil, Vitamin E, Black currant seed oil is a rich source of essential fatty acids. These are converted in the body to prostaglandin, which is necessary for fighting infection. Many women find this oil reduces breast tenderness associated with PMS.

  • Over-the-counter Pain relievers with the active ingredient Pamabron as it acts as a mild diuretic.

  • Acupuncture- I personally recommend acupuncture as I have found it to work wonders, but don't take my word for it, read the science in our acupuncture article.


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