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Why do I get Breast Pain and Tenderness before Periods?

The time before you get your menstrual cycle is the duration when your body goes through a riot of changes. These changes include Breast Pain and Tenderness before Periods. The breast pain before periods is also known as Premenstrual Syndrome. Some women develop fibrocystic breast disease which is a term used for painful and lumpy breast condition before Menstrual cycle. Normally, causes of breast pain depend on if it is before period, during period, or during pregnancy.

Causes of Breast Pain Before Periods:

1. Fibrocystic Breast Disease:

The pain may happen due to fibrocystic breast disease. Women with this condition experience lumps in their breasts and often experience pain too. This happens just before their monthly cycles. Once they start menstruating, the pain subsides and the lumps also disappear. These lumps may also be painful. However, the lumps are non cancerous and apart from the irritation they may cause, they are not a serious matter of concern too.

2. Actions of the Hormone causing Breast Pain:

The tender and painful breast happen solely because of the hormones. Your hormones like estrogen cause the breast ducts to enlarge and progesterone cause the milk glands to swell. These can cause the breast to enlarge and become sore. The exact time when the hormones will act is different for each woman.

3. Breast pain due to Childbearing:

Women who wean their child also experience similar symptoms of breast pain, tenderness and heavy breasts. However these are not limited to the time before their periods. This is because the breasts are prepared for lactation and the child is dependent on the mother for feeding.

4. Symptom Of Menopause:

The above problems of tender and painful breast, swelling and lumping in breasts and heaviness also indicate that your menopausal phase is just round the corner. Though the exact time when you will have your menopause cannot be determined, if you have these problems as recent changes in your body, consider yourself closer to menopause.

Symptoms of Breast Pain and Tenderness:

1. Breast Feeling Heavy:

Your breasts become heavy and you feel as if they are bulging out of all your clothes and inner wears. You will feel a lot of weight around that region. This condition will particularly arise just before your menstrual cycles are due. The cause of this phenomenon is explained above. It happens due to fluctuating hormones.

2. Tenderness in Breast:

Your breast feel extremely sensitive to touch. This too is a sign of premenstrual pain of breast. They may also begin to look huger in size than during other days.

3. Pain in the breast:

Due to tenderness, the breast begins to feel painful. The pain subsides after the duration of your periods is over and you stop bleeding. You may feel the need to look up for remedies for breast pain especially in these days of the month.

4. Lumps in the Breast:

When you touch your breast, you may observe small lumps. These lumps disappear after your menstrual cycle is over. The lumps are slightly painful sometimes. If you feel the lumps are not subsiding and continue to appear on your breast, get it checked with your doctor as they may be signs of Breast Cancer.

Do I need to see a Doctor?

Ask yourself the following questions to find out if you have to see a doctor and what is the correct time for it:

1. Is this problem a recent development?

2. Are my breast feeling painful just around the time I’m due for my periods or is the problem more persistent?

3. Are my lumps permanent or do they appear just around the time of menstrual cycles?

4. Are there any unusual discharges from my breast?

5. Are the lumps only appearing in one breast or do they occur uniformly in both breast?

6. Does this condition interfere with your sleep?

If the answers to any of the above question is in the affirmative or in a way that creates a doubt in your head about your well being, do not hesitate to see a doctor immediately. You must also self examine yourself periodically for any problems in your breast region after the age of 20 years as suggested by American Cancer Society. If the doctor thinks there is a need, you will be recommended a mammography test to rule out any possibilities of a serious problem.

Lifestyle Changes:

There are few changes in the lifestyle that can help you to relieve the pain and soreness in breast. Note them down for the next time:

  1. Wear comfortable bra when you have those days of discomforting breasts. Feel free to remove your bra when sleeping at night.
  2. Bring changes in your diet. Avoid spicy and oily food. Also skip junk food no matter how much you are tempted.
  3. Avoid alcohol
  4. Eat nutrient rich foods which help in eliminating symptoms of premenstrual symptom. eating food items like spinach, hazelnut, bananas, carrots, oats, etc can be effective.
  5. Use hot or cold packs. Place a cloth on your breast and then place a hot or a cold pack to minimize the effects.
  6. Using pain killers also help in elevating PMS symptoms. However, consult your gynecologist before taking any medications.
  7. Cut down on caffeine intake. Skip that extra cup of tea or a cup of coffee.
  8. Drinking more water keeps you hydrated. Staying hydrated can help you deal with all of the symptoms of PMS. Also, reduce salt intake to ensure water retention.
  9. Women who have smaller breasts must consider skipping their push up bras and wear comfortable bra or a camisole.

When in doubt, consult your doctor to ensure you are fee from any serious complication that may attack your breasts. Keep vigilant and monitor the size, texture and tenderness of your breast periodically. For complications like breast cancer, an early detection can save you from bigger problems that may otherwise target your breasts.

Shabnam Vandeliwala

Venturing into writing is my second most admired hobby after litigating in courts. An advocate by profession, writing gives me immense sense of satisfaction especially in the time that I'm free from other work.

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