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We got a gynaecologist to explain just why your breasts hurt when you’re menstruating

If you have been wondering why periods make your breasts hurt, then read what this gynaecologist has to say on the matter.
breast pain during PMS
Have you been experiencing breast pain during PMS? Don't worry. Just read what this gynaecologist has to say. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Sonakshi Kohli Published: 5 Mar 2020, 11:55 am IST
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When it comes to periods, Mother Nature leaves no stone unturned to make those five days a living hell. From headaches to excruciating stomach cramps to discomfort down there to mood swings to fatigue—there’s too much on a menstruating woman’s plate, don’t you think?

Actually, the problems don’t end here because periods can make your breasts hurt too. 

“Many women complain about breast pain before or during their periods,” says Dr Poonam Khera, senior consultant, Gynaecology & Obstetrics department, BLK Super-Speciality Hospital, New Delhi.

In fact she adds that other changes in the breasts such as swelling, tenderness, soreness, and a change in texture may also be observed during this phase.

Also, read: Yikes! PMS made my post-workout muscle soreness worse. Here’s how I dealt with it

But what have breasts got to do with periods?
No points for guessing that just like other PMS (premenstrual syndrome) problems, this one too happens because of hormonal fluctuations in the body. 

“Periods can cause changes in the breast due to an increased dilation of the ducts present there under the effects of the oestrogen and progesterone,” explains Dr Khera.

Basically, the surge of oestrogen during your cycle can enlarge your breast ducts and the progesterone rush a week before your period can make the milk glands in the breast swell up. And thus, the pain. Got it?

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breast lumps
Breast pain during periods might be normal but you still need to do self-examination every month. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Is this breast pain dangerous?
Though Dr Khera dismisses breast pain and soreness due to periods as something to be worried about, she is quick to mention a few warning signs that mustn’t be ignored.

Lumps in your breast or under your arm, bloody or brown discharge from the nipples, and severe pain that makes it hard for you to even sleep are some  symptoms for which you must visit your doctor–immediately. 

Additionally, major changes in the size and shape of your breasts, nipples turning inwards, redness, scaling, and/or puckering of the breast skin too can be a cry for help. 

How can you soothe breast pain during periods?
If your symptoms don’t match with the warning signs mentioned above, then congratulations! And once you’ve taken that sigh of relief, take a look at these easy-peasy ways suggested by Dr Khera to soothe breast ache during periods:

*Avoid high-fat foods while you’re menstruating
*Stay away from caffeine–then be it in coffee, tea, cold drinks, or chocolates.
*Cut down your salt intake at least seven to 10 days before your period starts.
*Wear a comfortable bra for better breast support and steer clear of underwire options.
*Exercise to reduce any congestion in the breast.
*Increase your vitamin E intake.

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