Sometimes it’s easy to think your boobs have mystical powers, especially when it comes to predicting when your period will arrive. For some women, sore, sometimes painful breasts are a good tip-off that Aunt Flo is about to make a visit. While the heads-up is nice, sore breasts can be uncomfortable as hell.
Of course, this doesn’t happen to everyone before their period. And if you fall into the sore-boob camp, you’ve probably dealt with it for your entire period-having life and never given it much thought (other than wondering why you have this not-so-fun side effect on top of the utter joy of actually having a period). But there’s a very real reason why sore breasts around your period are a thing, and even better, there are ways to find relief.
The jury is still out on the exact mechanisms behind breast soreness during your period. But experts do know that hormone levels fluctuate before and during your period, and that can impact how your boobs feel,
Specifically, increasing levels of estrogen in the first two weeks of your cycle can cause your breasts to get bigger, while increasing amounts of progesterone during the second half may make your milk ducts puff up. “Together this results in swelling and breast tenderness,” women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, M.D., tells SELF. Hormonal fluctuations can also lead to fibrocystic breast changes (i.e., developing non-cancerous lumps in your boobs) before your period, which can contribute to tenderness, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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