Is It Normal to Have Breast Pain During Your Period?
Many women experience swollen, tender breasts during or before their period. This common PMS symptom is almost always considered normal and tends to occur because of an increase in hormones –– particularly estrogen and progesterone. After your period is over and these hormone levels return to normal, your breast pain should resolve.
There are many possible explanations for sore breasts besides your menstrual cycle –– including pregnancy, cysts, medications, infection, or even a poor-fitting bra. If breast pain continues after your period, we suggest contacting your doctor to rule out any other, more serious conditions. Although some may fear breast cancer, breast pain is not a common symptom.
How to Alleviate Breast Pain During Periods
While it may be nothing to worry about, breast pain can nonetheless make you feel miserable. Here are some tips on how to deal with sore breasts during the days surrounding your period:
Wear a supportive bra –– even while sleeping. Perhaps the most important factor here is to find bras that fit correctly. Many department or lingerie stores offer free bra fitting services, so you might want to take advantage of those. For supportive day wear, try sports bras or look for standard bras with wide shoulder straps, comfortable fabric, and an underwire. At night, some women find that a sports bra, bralette, or camisole with built-in support are helpful options that allow them to sleep better.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, fat, and salt. Reducing or eliminating these substances for one to two weeks before your period may help alleviate your breast discomfort, along with other unpleasant PMS symptoms.
Drink lots of water. It is generally recommended that you increase fluid intake during your period –– particularly on heavy days. Along with combating the negative effects of dehydration, drinking enough water may help reduce any swelling and bloating associated with menstruation.
Exercise. Stick to your workouts, no matter how tempting it is to skip them. Physical activity may alleviate a range of PMS symptoms. Exercise can also release your body’s natural painkillers –– endorphins –– which can help with your breast pain.
Use heat or ice therapy. You may find it comforting to place a hot water bottle, electric heating pad, or warm towels on your breasts to relieve pain and soreness. You can also try ice packs.
Take over-the-counter pain relievers. Try Ibuprofen, Naproxen, or Tylenol to reduce related pain. Before using, ask your doctor or pharmacist about potential drug interactions.
Consider hormonal birth control or diuretics (water pills). Although these can help reduce breast pain during periods, they can involve undesirable side effects and are not appropriate for everyone. Ask your doctor if such medications make sense for you.
When to Contact Your Doctor
If your breast pain only appears before or during your period, there’s probably no cause for alarm. However, we recommend contacting your doctor for evaluation if you notice any of the following breast changes that persist beyond your period:
- New or changing lumps
- Severe or persistent discomfort or pain
- Any changes in your nipple, including discharge
- Signs of infection like redness, pus, or fever
- Itching, scaling, dimples, or puckering
During your appointment, your doctor will likely perform a breast exam in search of any abnormalities. If anything of potential concern is detected, they can order an ultrasound and/or mammogram to gather more information about what is going on.
If you’re not sure whether your breast pain is cyclical, or are experiencing any additional health concerns, it’s a good idea to err on the side of caution and request medical evaluation.
Why Talking to Your Doctor is Crucial
If you are experiencing any menstrual changes –– like new or increased breast pain, painful sex, frequent urination, pelvic pain, or heavy periods –– this may signal an underlying health issue. While you may feel embarrassed talking about certain symptoms, it is critical to be open and transparent with your doctor during your appointment. Remember, women’s health professionals specialize in discussing and treating such topics and tend to be skilled at putting anxious patients at ease.
Your annual physical is a great time to discuss any additional health concerns.
Pain from Uterine Fibroids
Although panicking over breast pain is unnecessary, changes in your period –– such as increased bleeding –– can sometimes suggest that something is wrong. Because there are a variety of health conditions that can cause menstrual changes, be sure to seek a proper medical diagnosis to find out what’s behind your symptoms.
The good news is that there are effective treatments available for many conditions of the female reproductive tract. Depending on the issue, medications or minimally invasive methods may be options and are generally preferable over surgery. In situations where fertility is affected, it is especially important to seek help as soon as possible, as proper medical attention can often preserve your ability to have children.
If fibroids are discovered as the root cause behind your issues, your suffering can soon be an unpleasant memory. Uterine fibroids, noncancerous growths in the uterus, affect 70-80% percent of all women before the age of 50 and often cause a range of painful, uncomfortable, and inconvenient symptoms. Despite how prevalent fibroids are, there is a surprising lack of awareness surrounding them.
Common fibroid symptoms include:
- Heavy and prolonged menstruation between or during your periods
- Anemia, which can lead to fatigue
- Pain during intercourse
- Frequent urination
- Constipation and/or bloating
- Pain in your pelvis or lower back
- Increased menstrual cramping
- Stomach swelling
If you experience any of the above, please talk to one of our fibroid specialists at USA Fibroid Centers. Our experts understand what you are going through and are available to answer all of your questions about fibroids, painful periods, and other women’s health issues you are experiencing.
You don’t need to have a hysterectomy to find effective fibroid symptom relief. To learn about our minimally invasive, nonsurgical fibroid treatment, make an appointment with our convenient online scheduling form. We look forward to meeting you and helping you reclaim your life!