If it’s not enough that we bleed and get cramps each month, some of us also experience painful breasts during our period, too.
Swollen breasts – or sore boobs – are just another symptom of PMS but it can affect some women more than others. Typically, they will be at their most tender just before your period, but you may also experience symptoms immediately and after your period as well. The pain is thanks to oestrogen, a hormone which peaks mid-cycle, causing breast ducts to become enlarged.
After your period, along comes progesterone, which causes your milk glands to grow. Not only can these hormones make your boobs feel sore and tender but they can also make them feel physically different. They may feel denser to the touch and also lumpy. This is why it’s a good idea to only do a self-examination of your breasts a week after your period.
There are some simple steps you can take that may help to reduce breast pain and tenderness before and during your period.
Make sure your bra fits properly
Ill-fitting bras can cause a great deal of pain anyway, which will only feel worse during your period. This is especially important if your breasts swell and get larger during your cycle.
Avoid caffeine and salt before and during your period
Both of these can make water retention worse so if that’s causing your painful breasts, cutting back on them a week or so before your period may help. If you struggle with caffeine cravings, try sipping on a green tea instead. Eating healthily and including lots of oily fish, leafy greens, wholegrains and iron-rich foods in your diet will keep you feeling your best. Treat yourself to some raw chocolate, too, it's rich in magnesium and antioxidants and is a natural mood elevator, as well. Cacao contains the amino acid, tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin and melatonin.
Pop a pill if it gets really bad
Some medical experts recommend taking evening primrose oil to help with pain and hormone regulation. If the pain is too much to bear, take a paracetamol or ibuprofen.
Put the kettle on and try some natural remedies
While it’s good to avoid caffeine, you can still drink herbal teas. Dandelion tea, in particular, is great for reducing fluid retention, which in turn helps with the soreness. Chamomile tea is also a good choice as it relaxes you and helps with pain relief. There are lots of herbal teas that also help with PMS symptoms.
Do some exercise before and during your period
While going for a vigorous run with boobs that feel like they’re going to burst might not be the best solution, a gentle walk or yoga can definitely help with pain. Just remember to wear a good fitting sports bra to give your boobs all the support that you can.