It is pretty common for women to experience swelling in their breasts just before their period arrives. Breast pain before the arrival of your period is known as cyclical mastalgia. However, you shouldn’t panic as a woman as this is a recurring issue.

During this time, your breasts get tender, shift a bit in size, and go through some other changes as well. Though the hormonal activity in your breasts is at its peak and happens every time before your period, you mustn’t confuse it with Fibrocystic Breast Disease, which we will discuss later in this article. Since this can occur in almost any woman, one should know that the pain and other symptoms accompanied by sore breasts before periods can display their own severity. Moreover, women sometimes notice lumps before their monthly periods in this condition. These lumps are large in size and non-cancerous. However, if these lumps are painful or have been showing weird changes, it would be best to consult your doctor. Nevertheless, let’s dive deeper and look into the details and tips on relieving premenstrual breast tenderness.

Causes of Premenstrual Breast Tenderness

Breast pain is the strongest before your period and may fade as your period reaches an end. The typical reason premenstrual breast tenderness happens is the fluctuating levels of hormones known as estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen rises during the first half of your period and drops in the second half. It also causes the breasts to enlarge. On the other hand, progesterone takes the lead in the second half of your period. Its main function is to stimulate the growth and formation of the milk glands. Thus, due to the high activity of both of these hormones, you’ll feel your breasts sore and tender.

If you happen to be taking any medication that includes estrogen, remember that it can also cause premenstrual breast pain.

Symptoms of Premenstrual Breast Tenderness

A heavy feeling in both of your breasts accompanied by swelling is a classical sign of premenstrual breast tenderness. It is an unpleasant feeling, and you might go up a size.

Though the throbbing pain usually occurs in both of your breasts, you can feel it in one of them too. Furthermore, your breasts may also feel dense and cause discomfort. Some women also don’t tend to work a lot or lift heavy loads due to the pain. Aside from the premenstrual breast tenderness, you are also bound to experience mood swings. However, it shouldn’t be a point of contention as almost every other woman goes through these, for example, feeling sad, angry, extremely happy, or lazy without any reason. More symptoms of premenstrual breast tenderness include soft breasts upon touch and changes in texture. Even though breast tissues are highly sensitive to hormonal fluctuations, a certain percentage of women don’t feel any pain or discomfort in their breasts, and some experience it occasionally.

In addition, due to the natural occurrences in a woman’s hormone levels that happen once, she starts to age, premenstrual tenderness and swelling improve as menopause starts to near in.

How to Relieve Premenstrual Breast Tenderness

Now that we have learned about premenstrual breast tenderness’s causes and symptoms, let’s discuss some effective tips and techniques to relieve the pain and discomfort. The first step to relieve premenstrual breast tenderness is to wear a supportive bra that fits you properly and offers a good support system. This is equally important even when you are performing any exercise. Next, you must hold your caffeine consumption if you tend to take it almost every day. Since caffeine can affect the activity of the hormones in your breast tissue, it would be best to tone down the in-take a few weeks before your period begins. Caffeine items can be cola, chocolate, coffee, and tea.

More tips include restricting the consumption of salt as well, as it can also mess with your hormonal activity. You should also consider using warm or cool compresses (whichever you feel more comfortable in) for your breast and add a gentle massage to the routine as well. Medications are quite helpful for some people who prefer quick relief. Though this option has well opted, there is little evidence to support whether it aids in the pain or not.

Another option to soothe premenstrual breast tenderness is applying/intake of herbs and supplements. For some, evening primrose oil and Vitamin (either separately or mixed) relieve swelling and pain, but again there isn’t enough evidence to fully support that statement. Apart from that, constant exercising such as cardio or HIIT workouts have proved fruitful in the long run. They keep your muscles moving and avoid any discomfort that the premenstrual breast tenderness causes.

One of the biggest reasons women feel an aggravated level of all the symptoms, including premenstrual breast tenderness, is stress. Since women tend to stress more than men generally do, it deeply affects their overall sentiments. Thus, women must avoid stress and find ways to relax. Relaxing activities could be yoga, having a warm bath, or anything that makes you feel good about yourself.

Fibrocystic Breast Disease

Fibrocystic breast disease is a condition in which the breasts feel lumpy. It’s non-cancerous and doesn’t harm or is dangerous, but most women feel uncomfortable. It is often confused with premenstrual breast tenderness due to similar striking symptoms, but the lumps stay throughout the month, unlike during premenstrual breast tenderness. 

If you happen to be infected with this disease, you might experience pain under your arms and notice a green or yellow discharge from your nipples.


Premenstrual breast tenderness can be a disaster for some women and a normal thing for others. The imperative point here is that pain is a major symptom indicating that your body needs help. Therefore you shouldn’t just ignore it. If the discomfort gets beyond bearable, then you must schedule a meeting with your doctor or a healthcare professional, as they will be able to guide you professionally. excluding the feeling of pain, if you have seemed to notice some new changes in your breasts, pain that doesn’t fade despite taking medications or implementing other tips, and a clear, bloody or red discharge from your nipples, seek medical help immediately. You may be infected with breast cancer, or it could be some other underlying issue.

Hence, it would be best not to ignore any signs pointing towards a potential breast problem. Regular checkups and appointments would be perfect in the long run.