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 will usually occur anywhere from right after ovulation to just before your period begins. But most women experience it between 7 and 14 days before their period starts.
This is yet another symptom of PMS that is accepted as normal & women put up with it month after month! But I’m here to tell you that – like all other symptoms of PMS – there is another way!
Breast pain has an underlying root cause and when you understand what that is you’re better equipped to know how to deal with it!
So, what’s causing your sore breasts?
Cyclical sore, swollen tender breasts are indicative of an underlying nutritional deficiency and/or hormonal imbalance that can be corrected by addressing 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 cycles.
Cyclical breast tenderness is caused by our fluctuating hormones throughout our cycle. Estrogen in particular has a stimulatory effect on breast tissue and during ovulation (mid-cycle) its normal for our estrogen levels to rise resulting in increased milk duct size (Meisel, 2016).
After ovulation, estrogen declines and progesterone becomes the dominant hormone, stimulating the development of milk glands to prepare for the production of milk, if you were to become pregnant.
When you are ovulating regularly and estrogen and progesterone levels are in harmony, these changes are controlled and can go, more or less, unnoticed without the presence of symptoms.
However, if your hormones are out of balance – there’s an overproduction of estrogen in relation to progesterone and your breast cells are overstimulated and this can manifest as swelling, pain and tenderness.
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 and results in breast tenderness. 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, spinach, carrots and sweetcorn.
Experiment with going 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 & adrenal health too with powerful adaptogenic herbs! Luna’s Gold is a great option for tender breasts as it contains anti-inflammatory turmeric to help fight inflammation that drives pain and estrogen dominance.
Meet your iodine requirements
Iodine deficiency is the main nutrient deficiency that most commonly causes breast pain. Iodine has two important functions in the maintenance of estrogen levels in the breasts. Firstly, iodine plays a role in down regulating our cell’s sensitivity to estrogen which in turn helps reduce breast enlargement and swelling. Secondly, it stimulates the genes responsible for estrogen detoxification and in turn supports the excretion of estrogen from the body helping to prevent excess.
There are two ways in which you can increase your intake of iodine that will help relieve tender breasts in a matter of weeks:
1. Food: The best food sources of iodine include seafood, raw dairy, strawberries, egg yolks and seaweeds such as kelp, wakame & kombu.
2. Supplementation: we always recommend seeing a practitioner for supplement recommendations to suit your individual requirements. When it comes to iodine usually molecular iodine is best (such as in the brand The Violet Daily) at a dose of 1000 to 3000 mcg. However please understand that if you have Hashimotos or are on thyroid medication you need to be very cautious about iodine as it can exacerbate your condition.
Consuming 3 tablespoons of freshly ground 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. Always start with your diet, as it's the main foundation to building amazing hormones and healthy periods!
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. Learn more about nutrition & lifestyle changes you can make to in our PMS & Cramps Masterclass. With natural product support & education you'll be equipped with everything you need to transform your periods and say goodbye to symptoms like breast tenderness for good!
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