Painful Breasts

Many women suffer from sensitive or painful breasts in the days before menstruation. This is caused by the peak in progesterone levels in the second half of your cycle. Progesterone causes your body to retain fluids and to send this to the tissues in preparation for a possible pregnancy. Some women notice a significant increase in bra cup size around the time of their period. Once menstruation starts, the pain and sensitivity diminish. This complaint usually disappears after menopause.

Typical symptoms

  • The pain is cyclical, just like your menstrual cycle.
  • Your breasts can become sensitive. The pain is intense and dull. While one woman may be in constant pain, another may have a more stabbing or burning pain.
  • Your breasts can swell up.
  • You can usually feel the pain in both breasts, especially in the upper and outer parts. The pain can radiate to your armpit, arm and shoulder blade.
  • The pain becomes more intense a couple of days before your menstruation.
  • Younger women in particular suffer more frequently from painful breasts related to their menstrual cycle.

Helpful advice

  • Eat products that are rich in gamma linoleic acid (GLA) such as oats, egg yolks, offal and cold-pressed vegetable oils such as evening primrose oil. This omega 6 amino acid encourages the production of hormones that can help regulate your menstrual cycle and diminish your complaints. Your body can't create GLA easily; you have to get it via your food.
  • Taking the contraceptive pill can help some women (your physician will advise you).
  • If you are already taking the pill, then stop for a couple of months and see whether this has a positive effect. Seek your physician’s advice before you stop taking the pill.
  • Take a painkiller (paracetamol).
  • A (sports) bra that supports your breasts well can help you feel more comfortable.
  • Avoid pressure on your breasts. If you are doing athletic or competitive sports, be cautious and wear a protective sports bra to absorb shock and limit movement.
  • Keep your breasts warm with a hot bath or compresses.

When should you visit the doctor?

  • In the event of a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts.
  • In the event of a rash around the nipple.
  • If dimples arise in the skin of your breasts.
  • If you notice a lump or swelling in one of your armpits or breasts.
  • If you notice a change in the way your nipple looks (colour, shape, texture or size).
  • In the event of thickening tissue or a persistent lump in your breast.

Tip: Taking Nutri-Gyn MenstruComfort in combination with lifestyle changes helps relieve physical symptoms during menstruation.