Your breasts may not be able to predict when it’s raining, but for some people the experience of tender, swollen, sore breasts can most definitely help predict the arrival of one’s period…
If this sounds familiar it’s time to put your breast tenderness behind you!
Cyclical sore breasts are just another symptom of PMS that you don’t have to deal with. Instead they are indicating an underlying hormonal imbalance (hello estrogen excess) and sometimes a deficiency in iodine! These imbalances can both be addressed by making a few changes in your diet and lifestyle.
Read on to learn how you can start making changes today, in order to experience breasts without the pain within your next few periods!
What is breast tenderness?
Cyclical breast tenderness is one of the most common premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. Usually, you’ll experience sore breasts before your period or after ovulation. Like many other PMS symptoms, it will disappear once your period finishes.
What causes breast tenderness?
Cyclical breast tenderness is caused by our fluctuating hormones. During ovulation its normal for (mid-cycle) our estrogen levels to rise resulting in increased milk duct size (Meisel, 2016). However, if you’re struggling with an excess of estrogen (or not enough progesterone) it will cause your breasts to enlarge, swell and become painful.
How to treat breast tenderness naturally?
Load up on the fibre
To prevent estrogen dominance, we need to ensure we support its elimination from the body! We eliminate estrogen through our bowels and ideally, we’d want to have 1-2 bowel movements a day. Dietary fibre is what ‘adds bulk’ to our stools and inadequate fibre (under 25-30g for adults) is one of the leading causes of constipation. Constipation is what can cause estrogen to be recirculated back into the body. So, some easy ways to incorporate extra fibre into your diet include consuming more:
- Wholegrains such as oats, rice, millet and buckwheat.
- Nuts and seeds like Earth Seeds
- Fruit such as berries, pears, melon and oranges.
- Vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and sweetcorn.
Go caffeine free
Scientific studies have found an association between high caffeine intake and breast pain (Ader, South-Paul, Adera & Deuster, 2001). If that doesn’t discourage you from putting down that third cup of coffee, caffeine is also linked to other PMS symptoms such as irritability and anxiety (Jin et al., 2016). Luckily for you, we’ve created a caffeine-free, alternative to coffee. Our Luna’s Elixirs not only provide you with a gentle boost in energy but nourish your hormones too! If you’re a chocolate lover, our Luna’s Lover cacao latte is also high in PMS fighting magnesium.
Meet your iodine requirements
Iodine deficiency is the top nutrient deficiency that causes breast pain. Iodine plays a role in downregulating our cell’s sensitivity to estrogen which in turn helps reduce breast enlargement and swelling (Stoddard II, Brooks, Eskin & Johannes, 2008). The best sources of iodine include seafood, egg yolks, seaweed, and iodized salt.
Add in a tablespoon (or three!) of freshly ground flaxseeds
Consuming 3 tablespoons of flaxseeds daily has shown to be an effective dietary treatment for cyclical breast pain. They contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which help the body to decrease inflammation and lignans which help bind to and eliminate estrogen from the body. They also contain tons of other nutrients like Vitamin B6 (excellent for PMS + depression!), Magnesium (goodbye cramps!), folate (hello fertility!) and others. Consuming three and a half tablespoons of flaxseed per day reduces breast pain, swelling and lumpiness in three months (Phipps, Martini, Lampe, Slavin & Kurzer, 1993). If you don’t like flaxseeds try Earth Seeds.
Cut back on sodium
Fight fluid retention by reducing your intake of sodium and increasing your intake of potassium. Sodium-rich foods include processed foods, pickled vegetables, and cured meats. Potassium-rich foods include bananas, spinach, and beetroot. Enjoy a cup of our beetroot latte which also contains adaptogens that help promote hormone balance and eliminate PMS. Try Luna’s Beet’s Detox Elixir daily and feel the difference.
Whilst breast tenderness is a common PMS symptom, it can be treated with natural, effective solutions. If you’d like some additional support with relieving PMS symptoms around your period we invite you to check out our PMS and Cramps Moonbox for high quality products that target the root cause of symptoms like breast tenderness and work to support your body back to balance naturally. This Moonbox contains our hormone-friendly elixirs, Moon Teas, Moon Boost magnesium spray (and so much more!) so you can experience symptom-free periods. We’ve also created a Healthy hormones e-book bundle which empowers you with all the education and knowledge you need to know to upgrade your hormonal health, periods and fertility!
Ader, D., South-Paul, J., Adera, T., & Deuster, P. (2001). Cyclical mastalgia: prevalence and associated health and behavioral factors. Journal Of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, 22(2), 71-76. doi: 10.3109/01674820109049956
Jin, M., Yoon, C., Ko, H., Kim, H., Kim, A., Moon, H., & Jung, S. (2016). The Relationship of Caffeine Intake with Depression, Anxiety, Stress, and Sleep in Korean Adolescents. Korean Journal Of Family Medicine, 37(2), 111. doi: 10.4082/kjfm.2016.37.2.111
McGhee, D., & Steele, J. (2010). Optimising breast support in female patients through correct bra fit. A cross-sectional study. Journal Of Science And Medicine In Sport, 13(6), 568-572. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2010.03.003
Meisel, L. (2016). Understanding the Science Behind Breast Pain During Your Cycle. Retrieved 29 July 2021, from https://www.avawomen.com/avaworld/sore-nipples/
Phipps, W., Martini, M., Lampe, J., Slavin, J., & Kurzer, M. (1993). Effect of flax seed ingestion on the menstrual cycle. The Journal Of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 77(5), 1215-1219. doi: 10.1210/jcem.77.5.8077314
Stoddard II, F., Brooks, A., Eskin, B., & Johannes, G. (2008). Iodine Alters Gene Expression in the MCF7 Breast Cancer Cell Line: Evidence for an Anti-Estrogen Effect of Iodine. International Journal Of Medical Sciences, 5(4), 189-196. doi: 10.7150/ijms.5.189
Wang, C., Luan, J., Cheng, H., Chen, L., Li, Z., Panayi, A., & Liu, C. (2018). Menstrual Cycle-Related Fluctuations in Breast Volume Measured Using Three-Dimensional Imaging: Implications for Volumetric Evaluation in Breast Augmentation. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 43(1), 1-6. doi: 10.1007/s00266-018-1243-6