Lets talk breast tenderness and breast health.
While cyclical breast tenderness (also known as mastalgia) in the week leading up to your period is very common, that doesn’t mean it’s normal. This is not to be confused with mild pain, but rather intense swelling and tenderness that affects your daily life and activities.
According to the Breast Health Centre, 50% of women experience breast tenderness at some point in their lives. It often indicates something deeper going on, but is definitely treatable, so do not worry! This symptom is all too familiar for me… I sometimes still experience it even though I do the best I can to keep my hormones balanced. Breast tenderness can be super painful and really interfere with daily life/workouts/clothing, etc..
So, what’s really going on? Why do so many women experience breast tenderness?
Cyclical breast tenderness is caused by hormonal fluctuations after ovulation and can be a sign of estrogen dominance. While we love estrogen, too much of it can cause PMS symptoms. Its the imbalanced ratio of estrogen to progesterone that can cause the swelling and pain. Because this symptom is usually PMS-related, it will often disappears when you get your period.
Did you know estrogen causes the breast ducts to enlarge while progesterone makes the milk glands swell (even if you aren’t pregnant!). The more you know!
So, how can you naturally treat breast tenderness?
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet that is high in whole food fiber and cruciferous veggies (broccoli, broccoli sprouts, cauliflower, kale, etc) because they are high in the nutrient called DIM (diindolylmethane), which helps the body process estrogen in your liver. The fiber from fruits and veggies help with elimination (pooping) which is crucial for toxin and hormone clearance
- Buy a super comfortable and supportive bra (preferably wireless!)
- Regular exercise and movement is an effective way to help balance estrogen levels (and reduces cortisol). It also moves the lymphatic system which helps with fluid retention (another PMS symptom)
- Avoid caffeine to prevent blood sugar spikes (make this latte instead!)
- Avoid super salty and processed foods which can add to the swelling
- Add magnesium glycinate to your nighttime supplements as this magical mineral has been shown to relieve PMS symptoms by reducing inflammation
- Consider iodine drops, selenium, vitamin e or evening primrose oil supplementation, as all have been shown to help reduce tenderness and swelling
- Consider seed cycling and increase intake of hemp & chia seeds
- Drink Healthy Cycle Tea to support your cycle as a whole!
I hope you find this post helpful and I hope it helps to alleviate any pain you are feeling before your period. All of these tips can majorly help with menstrual cramps, too!