Breast Pain, PMS & Periods - How To Manage All Three
In the lead up to your period, premenstrual breast tenderness or "cyclical mastalgia" is incredibly common. In the majority of cases the tenderness is not severe and can be managed at home but where the tenderness graduates to pain, this should be escalated to a medical practitioner.
As with a lot of the changes we experience before and during our period, our fluctuating hormones, notably oestrogen and progesterone, are to blame. Oestrogen causes the breast ducts to expand, whilst progesterone production causes our milk glands to swell and these two events cause our breasts to feel tender or sore.
For some women the tenderness/ soreness feels like an aching, for others breasts can feel heavy or dense to the touch and for some, breasts can feel sharp at times and the feeing can be more intense in the nipple area. If at any point your breasts are producing discharge or the pain interferes with your ability to do ordinary tasks or sleep, or you feel a lump or textures that you have never felt before, then this should be escalated to your medial practitioner.
As mentioned earlier, typically breast tenderness is not serious and can be managed at home with a course of anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen. Your doctor will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment for the erasure of pain, however pain can also be managed by making changes to your diet and lifestyle:
- Wearing a supportive bra when symptoms are the worst can alleviate pain and provide the necessary support for you during the day and (if necessary) at night.
- Diet is so integral in minimising and even eradicating a lot of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, including breast tenderness. Caffeine consumption (yes coffee) should be reduced and where possible swapped for herbal teas. We always include herbal teas with herbs known to eliminate PMS symptoms in our period self-care box. Reducing alcohol consumption, foods high in fat and salt can also help manage the discomfort experienced. There are certain vitamins and minerals that may help manage breast pain , such as vitamin E, magnesium and also foods high in those vitamins, nutrients and minerals that encourage holistic wellbeing, such as peanuts, spinach, bananas, avocados, brown rice and oats.
- Using hot and cold remedy i.e., a heat patch or an ice pack, can help to alleviate the pain.
- Low impact exercises like yoga, jogging and slow walking and breathing exercises may also be beneficial. Anything too excruciating may make symptoms feel worse so at any point you start to over-exert yourself, this may be a good time to rest.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to escalate any pain that may feel out of the ordinary. PMS symptoms can change over the course of our lifetime but when they start to impact our day and stop us from doing things we would ordinarily do, speaking to a doctor should be the next course of action.
Remember to always advocate for your body and escalate anything unusual for your peace of mind.
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