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    Breast Tenderness Before Period: Why It Happens and How to Reduce the Pain

    Updated 09 December 2020 |
    Published 04 January 2019
    Fact Checked
    Andrei Marhol, PhD
    Reviewed by Andrei Marhol, PhD, Flo lead medical advisor, Lithuania
    Flo Fact-Checking Standards

    Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

    One of the more common PMS symptoms is breast tenderness or breast pain. This sore and dull ache can begin around two weeks before your period and can be a cause for daily discomfort and unease. This article is an in-depth exploration of what causes breast tenderness before your period, its symptoms, and the various ways to treat it. Read on!

    Types of breast pain

    Cyclic breast pain

    Also called cyclic mastalgia, this type of breast pain is linked to the menstrual cycle, and the way in which reproductive hormone levels change. It is related to the monthly rise and fall in the estrogen and progesterone levels, making this pain appear and disappear cyclically. This kind of cyclical breast pain that occurs every month is rarely ever a symptom of breast cancer, and usually subsides on its own once menstruation begins.

    Non-cyclic breast pain

    This type of breast pain is not linked to your menstrual cycle and does appear to grow or subside with your period. In such cases, the breast soreness can be constant or intermittent, and feels more like a tight, burning or sharp pain, instead of the dull ache and heaviness usually associated with cyclical pain. Non-cyclical breast pain usually affects one breast, and often in a localized area, instead of both breasts. If you are experiencing this type of non-cyclical breast pain, consult a health care provider for a mammary examination to find out possible underlying causes.

    Symptoms of cyclical breast tenderness

    If you notice the soreness in your breasts appearing and subsiding every month, then it is most probably cyclical breast pain. The following are the most common symptoms of cyclical breast pain:

    • Soreness and a dull pain in the upper and outer area of both breasts
    • A feeling of heavier or swollen breasts before a period
    • Pain affects both breasts, and may often also spread to the armpits
    • The pain can range from mild and dull to severe in some cases
    • Usually begins around two weeks before menstruation and fades away at the start of your period

    Plan ahead

    Tracking your symptoms can allow you to discover symptom patterns in your cycle
    girl is holding donuts near her breasts

    What causes breast tenderness before a period?

    There are a number of possible causes of breast pain before a period. If you’re wondering what hormone causes breast tenderness before a period, you’ll find your answers below. From monthly hormonal fluctuations to the use of certain medications, there are many possible reasons for this condition. Let’s read about each of the possible causes in detail.

    Hormonal fluctuations

    Changes in hormone levels during your monthly cycle may be a possible reason for your cyclical breast pain and soreness, according to studies. Both these hormones fluctuate in levels each month. Estrogen levels rise up until ovulation, after which progesterone levels rise till the start of the period.

    However, there is research yet to be done to pinpoint the exact manner in which these changes cause sore breasts before a period.