So the numbers are in. 72 percent of women experience cyclical breast pain leading up to and during their period. Almost half of us do nothing about it. Sound familiar?
Let's break down what causes our pain in the b*ob.
Firstly, this condition - the tender, heavy and often painful feeling we experience in our breasts each month - has two names; fibrocystic breast condition (FBC) or cyclic mastalgia.
This is a result of fluctuating hormones. Specifically, breast soreness is influenced by a large build up of the very hormone that causes us to produce breast milk, called prolactin. The technical term for this hormonal build up is hyperprolactinemia.
Increased prolactin levels can be caused by chronic stress from all sorts of things - work, relationships, or physical stressors like poor diet, alcohol or caffeine consumption.
So, what can we do to help menstrual breast pain and tenderness?
If chronic stress causes an increase in the very hormone that can cause sore breasts, then reducing our stress levels may help regulate the production of prolactin, and help to alleviate our breast pain and tenderness. Another win for meditation!
Our pick: Calm
2. Natural supplements
Chaste tree berry has been shown to support women with menstrual breast pain because of its ability to inhibit prolactin in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle*. One study showed that 93% women with cyclic mastaglia (cyclical breast soreness) who took chaste tree for 3 months noticed a significant reduction in PMS symptoms, including breast pain.
Our pick: Menstrual Health Elixir
3. Increase your bra size
As simple as it sounds, try wearing a larger bra size without underwire during and leading up to your cycle. It can relieve pressure and make us feel more comfortable. Tried and tested!
It's important to note that cyclic mastalgia is only associated with predictable breast pain according to your period cycle. If you experience anything out of the ordinary - lumps or nipple discharge for example, then it’s definitely worth a visit to the doc to ensure there aren’t any other issues at play.
Give your gals a helping hand.
(1) 2 Loch EG, Selle H, Boblitz N. Treatment of premenstrual syndrome with a phytopharmaceutical formulation containing Vitex agnus castus. J Womens Health Gend Based Med. 2000 Apr;9(3):315-20.