Do you experience pain in your breasts for a few days before your period each month? Does the pain get progressively worse as your period approaches and then goes away during your period?
Breast pain caused by the mensuration cycle affects many women and can be either just irritating or truly painful in some cases.
Wondering what causes period breast pain? How is it linked to ovulation? And what can you do about it? Read on for the complete guide to managing pre-mensuration breast pain.
How to Know if You’re Experiencing Period Breast Pain?
The signs of breast pain are clear:
- Your breasts or nipples will feel sore or achy.
- The pain will range from mild to severe.
However, diagnosing breast pain isn’t your concern. What you should be concerned about is the cause of your breast pain.
These are some possible causes:
- Ovulation (linked to cyclic breast pain, also known as mastalgia)
- Breast Cancer
- Skin Conditions
According to a study on breast pain, around two-third of all women with breast pain experience it due to hormonal changes during their menstrual cycle. This pain could be felt during ovulation and/or the luteal phase.
Such periodic discomfort in the breasts is considered normal and occurs due to an increase in estrogen and decrease in progesterone. These hormonal changes are regular events during a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Should You Visit a Doctor?
If you’re experiencing mild to severe breast pain that comes before your period every month, or during the days when you ovulate, there’s no need to worry yourself out.
This pain results from the hormonal changes in your body and would go away eventually. You can wear a supportive bra and cut back on sugar to manage the pain.
However, if the breast pain is accompanied with itchiness that persists, you may have to visit a dermatologist.
Also, if the pain is not cyclical and occurs on most days during the month, see a doctor. Your doctor will do a breast checkup and diagnose the cause of the pain.
Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry since 1 in 9 Pakistani women are at a risk of having breast cancer at any point during their life.
Breast Pain Before Ovulation
Ovulation usually occurs around 14-17 days after your period begins. So, if you experience breast pain 15-20 days into your cycle (your cycle starts with the first day of your period till the date you get your next period), it could be linked to high estrogen levels.
Estrogen can affect your breast tissue and is responsible for a wide range of menstruation side effects, including pre-ovulation breast pain.
This pain is commonly mild, and there’s no reason to worry if it occurs around two weeks before your period.
Breast Pain During Ovulation
Ovulation lasts only for a day, after which your levels of progesterone will increase as estrogen decreases. Progesterone may have a similar effect on your breasts as estrogen and is responsible for nipple pain right after ovulation.
So, in most cases, you’re likely to experience breast pain anywhere between 13-20 days before your period starts. Unless you have irregular periods, you’ll experience this irritation near the same time each month.
How to Manage Breast Pain?
If the breast pain is caused due to the mensuration process, then it’s completely natural and will usually go away after a day or two. However, if the pain is irritating, here are some things that you can do to ease it:
- Wear the Right-Sized Bra
Experts recommend using the right-sized bras to reduce breast pain caused by ovulation. Many women wear bras that don’t fit perfectly, which may further increase the pain.
- Avoid Caffeine, Stimulants and Unhealthy Fats
Caffeine and other stimulants can increase breast pain during ovulation. They often stimulate hormones that are already high due to ovulation, causing you more pain! Similarly, a diet high in unhealthy fats may also play a role in breast pain.
- Take Anti-Inflammatory Medication
In some cases, your doctor may recommend you to take anti-inflammatory medication to ease the pain. This medication can reduce breast swelling and help you cope much better with the pain.
- Change Your Birth Control Medication
Are you taking birth control pills or medication?
It may cause breast pain during ovulation.
If no other methods work to reduce the severity and frequency of cyclic breast pain every month, your doctor may recommend you change your birth control medication or procedure.
Lastly, if the problem persists outside of your ovulation phase, then visit a doctor for proper diagnosis.