How is breast pain connected to the menstrual cycle?

 

 

Is it common for breasts to hurt and grow almost a size during mensuration? 

Yes it is very common for breasts to hurt and also swell or jump up a size during menstruation. For some women, the idea of going up a cup size sounds dreamy, but when your boobs are so sore that you can't sleep comfortably, do HIIT exercise or even walk down the stairs without clutching them in place, you want to cry. 

 

How do I know if my breast pain or hormonal or something more serious?

An easy way to understand if the pain is hormonal is to track the days you feel the pain (and any other symptoms) in a free cycle app (or use paper). You can then see if it is cyclical and rule out more serious options as well as trying to make changes to your lifestyle and diet to prepare and manage the pain. 

 

Are there any studies about breast pain that explain why and how this happens?

PMS isn't really understood medically, we understand the symptoms of PMS such as breast tenderness, and the changes in hormones, but not why these happen/why some women get breast pain. It can also be a symptom of the perimenopause and post menopause as well. 

During pregnancy, breast pain is often connected to changes in the development and preparation of the hormones and glands preparing to product milk. 

 

What is the link between diet and your menstrual cycle and is this linked to breast pain?

Breast tenderness is a common symptom of PMS and just before your period research suggests our hormones have a strong impact on our appetites (ref 'She-ology' by Sherry Rose MD). Specifically progesterone increase can lead to an increased appetite and some women might find switching their diet the week before can help reduce symptoms such as swelling and bloating (with breasts and overall). Opt for natural diuretics such as celery and watermelon and matcha, while reducing excessive caffeine, sugar or alcohol. Magnesium may also help reduce water retention and breast tenderness (Alyssa Dweck MD) 

 

How can I keep my breasts healthy?

Regular breast checks at home as well as visiting a gyno annually for a check up. You can find a free breast health guide here: https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-health-guide/

Your doctor (as well as many consumer DNA tests can test for the BRACA gene to help determine your chance of developing breast cancer and help empower you to make informed choices.

 

Understanding your cycle and whether symptoms are cyclical is fundamental to understanding yourself better  

Understanding your cycle is the key to understanding yourself better. There are lots of free apps which enable you to track your cycle symptoms (or use pen and paper) and start to understand the pattern. Also, if it is clearly cyclical then you know it is menstrual and otherwise you definitely want to see your doctor to understand it further. Check out some of our videos on hormones on our IGTV and tell us what questions you'd like answered. We'd also recommend avoiding personal care products with hormone disruptors in them. 

Something our founder personally recommends when the pain feels unbearable is to use a mild and anti-inflammatory pain relief combined with a cold pad.

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