The closer women are to menstruation, the more strange things can happen in their bodies. Aside from strange food cravings and mood swings, another weird thing that may happen is breast pain. The breasts may feel heavy, tender, and sore. This is sometimes referred to as “boob cramps.”
A survey conducted in 2015 by Harris Poll discovered 68% of women between 25 and 45 typically experience breast discomfort just prior to menstruation. This means that this symptom is probably more common than previously thought.
Breast pain prior to menstruation is also known as cyclical breast pain and is the result of several physiological factors leading up to the changes that breasts go through during menstruation. It is not completely clear what causes this breast pain in women, but one explanation is breast pain being a side effect of fibrocystic breast changes.
Fibrocystic breast changes are a common, noncancerous condition of the breast. Over half of all women have this condition during some point in their lives.
While these changes may seem scary, they are really nothing to be concerned about, as they are completely normal. This is just one of the hormonal fluctuations happening during menstruation. Here are six ways to ease breast pain.
Get better support.
Higher quality bras are better for breast protection and support. Go to a specialty store to get fitted for your bra to be sure that you are wearing the correct size.
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Apply heat or cold.
Use a heating pad or an ice cold pack to get some relief. Try both and see which works better for you and then use it to soothe the pain.
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Eating well is best for your overall health, but studies have shown that limiting your intake of caffeine and eating a diet rich in vitamin E can help reduce breast swelling. Another food that has been shown to help relieve breast pain is flaxseed.
Use evening primrose oil.
This is a popular supplement for breast discomfort. Evening primrose oil may affect the balance of fatty acids in the body’s cells, which can relieve painful breasts.
Take birth control pills.
For frequent and severe pain, a combination of hormonal birth control may be effective. This stops the ovulation process, which means there will no longer be hormonal changes affecting the breast tissue.
Smoking can actually increase the inflammation in breast tissue.
When to See a Doctor
There are two types of general breast pain, cyclical and noncyclic. This means the pain either is or is not connected to menstruation. If the breast pain occurs in both breasts and only comes around prior to menstruation, it is likely to not be a cause for concern. However, if the pain is constant, whether near the time of menstruation or not, it may be time to consult a physician.
Also, if you are over the age of 45 or are no longer menstruating and you experience breast pain, it is a good idea to see a doctor. Noncyclic breast pain can potentially be of concern and should be addressed, as it is less common.
If you experience these painful boob cramps during menstruation, make sure to take the natural steps to try to alleviate the pain. Although it is a hassle, it is normal to experience this pain and most likely harmless.