Yesterday a Cycle Harmony friend shared that her breasts got really swollen and sore for about 10 days before her period. To address her concerns, I put on my research hat and took a closer look at this issue.
As we know by now, the natural fluctuation of reproductive hormones – estrogen and progesterone – are the main driving force behind many PMS symptoms. This naughty duo is also found “guilty” in the case of swollen breasts.
Here’s the story...
To prepare us to nurture a baby, in case one of our eggs successfully couples with a strong sperm, these reproductive hormones trigger cell growth in the milk-producing glands. This requires nourishment from blood and other fluids to fill the surrounding areas, which can stretch nerve fibers, causing breast soreness.
Even though this is a natural occurrence, and in fact quite common among women of reproductive age, it can be very uncomfortable for some of us. Here are 10 tips that can help provide some relief to your discomfort…
Try Evening Primrose Oil – This oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce breast tenderness as well as fluid retention and mood swings. The recommended dose is 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams per day for as long as needed.
Cut Out Caffeine – Even though caffeine’s role in contributing to breast tenderness is not proven, many women have found significant improvement to their breast tenderness after eliminating or dramatically cutting back on caffeine from all sources.
Reduce Salt Intake – Highly salted foods make you feel bloated. Reducing your salt intake, especially 7 to 10 days before your menstrual period, can help reduce fluid retention and ease breast swollenness.
Get Your Vitamins – Be sure to eat plenty of foods rich in vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, vitamin E and vitamin B. These vitamins and minerals can help regulate the production of prostaglandin E, which in turn reigns in prolactin, a hormone that activates breast tissue.
Eat Healthy – Cultivate a healthy and balanced diet rich in whole grains, veggies and beans. A study at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston found that women who maintained this kind of diet metabolized estrogen differently, and that more estrogen was excreted in the stool, causing less hormonal simulation to the breasts.
Wear A Good Support Bra – A comfortable and supportive bra can help protect the tender and sensitive breasts from being further irritated.
Massage Your Breasts – Gentle breast massage can ease fluid accumulation and provide some relief from the painful swelling and soreness. Give your breasts some loving by gently massaging them with small circular motions. And of course, you can choose to hand this privilege to your lover, who would be delighted, I’m sure.
Try Hot and Cold – Some women find relief by dipping their hands in cold water and cupping their breasts, while other women find relief by using a heating pad or by taking a warm bath. Try both and see what you like better.
Stay Calm – Stress is a big aggravator for PMS symptoms. Breast soreness is also under its spell. Try to stay relaxed and calm.
Honor Your Womanhood – A woman’s breast is one of the key symbols of her womanhood. It represents her nurturing side. Perhaps your breast soreness or tenderness is a reminder for you to nurture yourself while nurturing others. Just a thought for you to ponder over!