By Arielle Egozi
I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve got some BIG boobs. And do you know what happens when people with big boobs are about to get their period? Those boobs get even BIGGER, and they hurt. Not just regular hurt — I’m talkin’ severe throbbing, pain while walking, holding my sistas to my chest as I go down a single step kinda hurt, and it lasts for an entire week.
Does it happen to you, too?
Whether you have large or small breasts, many people with periods experience breast tenderness and soreness around the time their flow hits, and this curse has a name: cyclical mastalgia. Your hormones fluctuate before and during your period and that can cause a whole bunch of reactions (aka period skin, bloating, changes in temperament) — and breast soreness is one of them.
During the first two weeks of your (roughly) month-long cycle, estrogen levels are higher in the body, which can cause your breasts to enlarge. During the last two weeks of your cycle, your body has increased amounts of progesterone, which can cause your milk ducts to swell and pain to runneth over.
When this hormone cocktail hits, it can result in v sore and swollen breasts — sometimes even making them a little lumpy. If you’re like me, this experience is gnarly and uncomfortable (and literally ~very heavy~). It hurts to walk anywhere, and it feels like there’s a ticking time-bomb strapped to my chest that is *constantly* exploding. I love hugs, and I have to swat them away for a full week when this pain takes hold.
So, what can be done? Unfortch, not that much (oh, menstruating bodies, you mystical, complex wonders). But these tips should help you manage the discomfort better, and help you feel prepared next time tenderness starts to take over.
Get a Good Bra
If your boobs spill over the cups when they swell — no bueno. Find a bra that actually fits and has lots of support (especially for when you’re working out) to decrease movement and bounce... aaand the noise level of your screaming breasts.
Rethink Your Snacking
Bye, bye caffeine! (That means coffee and chocolate, boos.) It can aggravate symptoms, and just like having too much salt in your diet it can lead to fluid retention. Althoooough... according to some experts who question the link caffeine intake has to breast tenderness, if you simply *need* that cup of Joe — go for it. Most importantly, drink lots of h2o (hydration is key!).
Yes, You Should Exercise
Moving your body, especially a week before your period, can really help. Even if it’s just taking a daily walk, going for a swim, or an hour of yoga with a friend, your ta-tas will thank you (just remember to wear a supportive bra!!).
Support with Vitamins & Meds
Now, you know I gotta start this one with a health PSA: Talk to your doctor before adding any new vitamins or medications, natural or otherwise, to your diet. V important.
“Vitamins B1 and B6 are involved in the hormonal pathways that manufacture your sex hormones, so they are known to help,” Dr. Judith Reddrop of Women’s Wellbeing tells HuffPost Australia about natural period remedies. She recommends taking 50 - 100 mg of each while you’re having breast pain, and also taking evening primrose oil for the entirety of your cycle if the struggle is that real. Just remember to talk to your doctor before adding any vitamins and medications, natural or otherwise, to your diet. If you need super-strong pain-fighting stuff, anti-inflammatory medications like Advil should do the trick, but if your symptoms are *really* bad, talking to your doctor about other treatment options, and other explanations for your pain, is the best bet.
Got any tips to help breast tenderness? Let me know in the comments below (plzzz…this stuff is painful!).