Why Are Boobs Sore Every Month?

Why Are Boobs Sore Every Month?

Why Are Boobs Sore Every Month?

Hormones & SoreBoobs

Boobs. Why do boobs hurt every month? For something that is essentially fatty tissue (like many other parts of our bodies), boy do they come with a lot of baggage! However you feel about them though, if you’re a menstruating person, odds are they’ve caused you pain some time in your life. So let’s talk through your boob pain and one significant cause: hormones!

Hormonal Breast Pain

70% of people with breasts experience breast pain [also referred to as mastalgia] at some point (1). This pain can be linked to menstrual cycle (cyclical breast pain) or, well, not (non-cyclical). Right now we’re gonna be talking about breast pain thanks to the menstrual cycle!

What Causes Hormonal Breast Pain

Throughout the menstrual cycle, hormone levels and ratios fluctuate (read more about how the cycles works here!) Two key hormones in the menstrual cycle are estrogen and progesterone, and it’s the ups and downs of these that can cause your breasts to feel painful, lumpy and swollen (2). Why the pain? The sensation you are feeling is the stimulation of your duct and milk glands- they are increasing in size and number in case lactation may become necessary (3). This makes the breasts swell and retain water (4). Hence the pain and tenderness you feel.

Fibrocystic Breast Changes

While your period may be the culprit, your hormonal breast pain may be exacerbated due to something called fibrocystic breast changes, which can cause cysts to develop in the breasts (It’s not as bad as it sounds!). These cysts can fill up with fluid, and the more fluid = more stretched tissue = more discomfort. (5, 6) But don’t fear! Fibrocystic breast changes happen to about half of AFAB (assigned female at birth) in their 20s-50s7 and is generally not dangerous - just uncomfortable and can sometimes cause nipple discharge (6) (although always check in with your health team if you’re unsure).

So how do you know if your breast pain is hormonal?

Track it, baby! Cycle tracking is an awesome way to better understand your unique body. Because oftentimes the breasts are left out of the period convo, you may need to create your own section in the tracker to make a note of how your breasts feel over time. After a handful of cycles, there might be a clear pattern like, ohhh my boobs KILL because I’m about to ovulate. COOL!

Okay. So you’ve tracked your symptoms, and yes, those painful boobs are because of your menstrual cycle. What’s a menstruator to do?

Some Things to Help

(Read the full version of this article to get some more info on these!)

  • Breast support (8, 9)
  • Anti-inflammatory painkillers
  • Cutting out the caffeine (8)
  • Your diet (8)
  • VitaminE and B6 supplements(6,10)
  • Use an ice pack(11)
  • Use a hot pack or have a hot bath or shower(11)
  • Eat less salt(4)
  • Draining the cysts(5)

But, could it be it cancer?

While we are used to pain = something really, really bad, breast pain actually isn’t typically the first sign of cancer (12). Generally the first symptom of breast cancer is a painless hard lump (8) (like a frozen pea), which is why it is so important to do monthly breast checks (Remember to start at the armpit! You have breast tissue there!) If you ever do find a lump, or aren’t sure, check in with your health team. And, while pain typically isn’t the first symptom, if you do have pain that is unaccounted for and not cyclical, and/or on a very specific area of your breast, always better to play it safe! Go get checked out (12)!

In partnership with: Allbodies.com

Written by: Martha Michaud

Medically reviewed by: Heather Bartos, MD

  1. Goyal, Amit. “Breast Pain.” BMJ Clinical Evidence. BMJ Publishing Group, October 14, 2014.

  2. Breast Pain (Mastalgia). Johns Hopkins Medicine, Based in Baltimore, Maryland. Accessed December 10, 2019.

  3. Harvard Health Publishing. Breast Pain: Not Just a Premenopausal Complaint. Harvard Health. Last modified September 25, 2019.

  4. Corinne O’Keefe Osborn. Sensitive Breast: 10 Causes, Other Symptoms, Treatment, and More. Healthline. Accessed December 10, 2019.

  5. Learn All About Breast Cysts. Breast Cancer Now. Accessed December 10, 2019.

  6. Lori Smith, BSN, MSN, CRNP. 10 Common Causes of Breast Pain. Medical News Today. Accessed December 10, 2019.

  7. Why Do My Breasts Hurt? WebMD. Last modified March 27, 2017.

  8. Breast Pain (Mastalgia) - Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust. Pages - Home. Last modified 2, 2015.

  9. Jaime Herndon and Rachel Nall. Breast Pain: Types, Causes, and Treatments. Healthline. Accessed December 10, 2019.

  10. Clinical Effectiveness of Vitamin E and Vitamin B6 for Improving Pain Severity in Cyclic Mastalgia. PubMed Central (PMC). Last modified November 2015.

  11. Gotter, Ana. Treating Pain with Heat and Cold. Healthline. Accessed December 10, 2019.

  12. Breast Pain - Symptoms and Causes. Mayo Clinic. Last modified January 31, 2019.

  • Your period
  • Your lifestyle
  • Your concerns

Typically, how many days is your period?

How heavy is your flow on your heaviest days?

When did your last period start?

How many weeks do you typically have between periods?

What period product do you use most frequently?

How disruptive can your period be to your life?

What bothers you most about having your period?

What is the one thing you wish you could change about your period?

  • < 2 Days
  • 3 Days
  • 4 Days
  • 5 Days
  • 6 Days
  • 7 Days
  • > 8 Days
LIGHT (1-2 tampons/day)
MEDIUM (3-4 tampons/day)
HEAVY (4-5 tampons/day)
  • < 2 Weeks
  • 3 Weeks
  • 4 Weeks
  • 5 Weeks
  • 6 Weeks
  • 7 Weeks
  • > 8 Weeks
Tampon Tampons
Pad Pads
Menstrual Cup Cup
Menstrual Disc Discs
Period Panties Period Panties
Ellipses Others
Can’t get out of bed
Can’t do certain activities
I mostly feel uncomfortable
Just like any other day
I’m constantly running to the bathroom
I can’t sleep through the night
My work out routine is thrown off
I can’t have sex
I feel uncomfortable
Less cramping
Less odor
Fewer leaks
No risk of TSS
Less waste
If you’re not sure, choose MEDIUM.

All done!

What email would you like your results sent to?

By clicking "See My Results" you agree to
receive email from The Flex Company.

Here is our pick for you!
Flex Box
plan type
Light plan $6.50
4 Discs per cycle per period
frequency
8 Discs every 2 months
Light Flow Starter Kit
Includes 8 discs + our Getting Started Guide

We will automatically ship 8 discs for $12.99 every two months starting on . We’ll remind you before we process the next order. You can pause or cancel anytime, online.

Flex Box
plan type
Medium plan $12
8 Discs per cycle per period
frequency
16 Discs every 2 months
Medium Flow Starter Kit
Includes 8 discs + our Getting Started Guide

We will automatically ship 16 discs for $23.99 every one month starting on . We’ll remind you before we process the next order. You can pause or cancel anytime, online.

Flex Box
plan type
Heavy plan $14
Discs per cycle per period
frequency
24 Discs every 2 months
Heavy Flow Starter Kit
Includes 12 discs + our Getting Started Guide

We will automatically ship 24 discs for $27.99 every one month starting on . We’ll remind you before we process the next order. You can pause or cancel anytime, online.

Try FLEX with some liners at first.

Sometimes you just feel better with a little backup. FLEX plus liners would be a great combination for you while you transition to FLEX to help guard against leaks until you get the hang of positioning FLEX.

Not ready for membership? Try just one FLEX.

Here is our pick for you

Flexcup Discovery Kit
Flexcup Discovery Kit

FLEX Cup

$32.99 71+ Reviews

1 Menstrual Cup

  • + 1 Carrying Pouch
  • + 2 free Menstrual Discs

The FLEX Cup comes with 2 free FLEX Discs for you to try so that you can experience two new and innovative period products for no extra charge.

Free US Shipping

No Image