What Are the Causes of Breast Soreness?


Breast pain can be cyclic or non-cyclic. Cyclic breast pain is based on the reproductive cycle: puberty, menstrual periods, pregnancy and peri-menopause and menopause. Non-cyclic breast pain means that the pain is not associated with hormones but caused by trauma.

Fibrocystic Breasts

Fibrocystic breast disease is not uncommon. Although it can be painful, it is a benign condition, according to Dr. Sandhya Pruthi of the Mayo Clinic. If your breasts are fibrocystic, they may be lumpy and sore. This condition is hormonally related and should wax and wane with your cycle. However, if you are experiencing it all the time (non-cyclic) and if the pain is in one particular area, Dr. Pruthi recommends that you discuss this with your doctor.

Great Indicator of What's Going On

As a woman’s body prepares for a menstrual period, this is the time that she is most likely to experience cyclic breast pain. Some women can actually tell specifically when they are ovulating based on sensations that they feel in their nipples or breasts. When a woman is having this kind of hormonally related cyclic breast pain, the pain is generally in both breasts; however, one breast might hurt a little more than the other. The soreness generally subsides once the menstrual period starts.


In the initial stages of pregnancy, your breasts can get really sore. In fact, breast soreness is one of the first indicators that a baby is on the way. When you first start breast-feeding, your breasts will be very sore but this will go away in short order. When estrogen levels are high, as they are during pregnancy, this creates tender, painful breasts.

Estrogen Overload

In fact, if your estrogen levels are too high, which sometimes happens during peri-menopause, this can result in estrogen dominance and your breasts may be so tender and sore that you can't stand to touch them. Avoid beverages such as coffee and colas, which contain methylxanthines, because this will make your breasts even more sore. Methylxanthine prompts dilation of the blood vessels, and this causes the breast tissues to distend, according to Dr. Dixie Mills and Womentowomen.com.

Fatty Acid Imbalance

If a woman has an imbalance of fatty acids in her cells this may make her breasts more sensitive to hormones, according to the Mayo Clinic. Some women take primrose oil capsules to counteract breast soreness. The oil contains gamma-linolenic acid, which is a fatty acid, and it is believed that taking primrose oil will decrease breast sensitivity because it restores the body’s fatty acid balance.


If a woman has breast cysts or trauma to the breasts or has had breast surgery of any kind, this can result in soreness and is not related to hormones. Sometimes the pain that is manifesting in the breasts is from somewhere else, such as joints, muscles, the chest wall or the heart.

Medication May Be the Culprit

Be aware that certain medicines can cause sore breasts, including the antidepressants Zoloft and Prozac. If you are undergoing HRT (hormone replacement therapy), this can make your breasts sore. The estrogen and progesterone in the medicine is what causes breast soreness, just as these two hormones did naturally when you were younger and having regular menstrual periods and pregnancies.

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