Breast Pains During Your Menstrual Cycle and What to do
Women's bodies go through several changes during menstruation. During menstruation, some have cramps, cravings, bloating, and sometimes, even acne. Part of this plethora of symptoms is breast pains. Ever experience your breasts swelling and feeling tender before and/or during your menstruation? Yup, that is the breast pain we’re talking about right there.
During menstruation, our breasts do their “thing”, causing pain, irritation, and discomfort. These symptoms affect 72 percent of women but still, we don't really fully understand why it happens and what causes it. We will break down some of the facts for you that experts do know. We will also cover what you can do when you experience breast pains.
What Causes Monthly Breast Pains
Breast pains during menstruation are characterized by swelling of the breasts, tenderness, and a feeling of lumpiness. This happens during menstruation due to the fluctuations in our hormones estrogen and progesterone. As estrogen reaches a peak during early- or mid-cycle, our breast ducts become enlarged. On the other hand, more progesterone causes the growth of the breast lobules or the milk glands.
This occurrence is medically called "mastalgia" which is often linked with premenstrual syndrome or fibrocystic breast disease. Breasts pains felt during menstruation are called "cyclical mastalgia" due to its "cyclic" nature.
Using birth control also contributes to cyclic breast pains. It has been found that women using birth control, mostly hormonal contraceptives like the pill, are more susceptible to experiencing breast pains due to the hormonal changes that these kinds of birth control cause. Other risk factors for breast pains may include a high-fat diet, family history, smoking and too much caffeine intake. Lay off the coffee ladies!
What You Can Do About Breast Pains
The severity of breast pain varies from one woman to another. Some may only feel a little bit of discomfort; while others may feel an incapacitating pain so much that they may even miss work.
Whatever you may feel, there are several different options you can do to relieve breast pains during your period. Here are the ways you can deal with breast pains:
• Avoid caffeine. Studies have shown that reducing caffeine intake can help relieve breast pains.
• Take OTC (over-the-counter) painkillers, like acetaminophen, days before the onset of your period.
• Wear a well-fitting bra, one that can support your breasts and reduce the pain.
• Boost your iodine intake by incorporating eggs, seafood, and seaweed into your diet. Iodine has been proven to directly solve the cause of breast pain, which for some women is fibrocystic breast disease.
• Use relaxation techniques. Healthy Women says that 61% of women with breast pain experienced "substantial or complete relief of the pain when they listened to a tape of progressive muscle relaxation for four weeks."
Finally, remember to exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet. Don't hesitate to consult with your doctor especially if you're using hormonal contraceptives or if you're experiencing other symptoms like breast discharge, lumps in the breast, or extreme pain. When that happens, go straight to your Ob/Gyn and talk to them about your symptoms.