Perimenopause is the period of time where your body begins the changes that lead to menopause. Though perimenopause is a natural stage in every woman's life, it often causes unpleasant symptoms, including those that affect your breasts.
Effects of Perimenopause
As you transition into menopause, levels of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone in your body begin to naturally decline. As this occurs, it is normal for the glands in your breasts to swell, producing symptoms.
Types of Symptoms
Common breast symptoms associated with perimenopause include tenderness, soreness, swelling, itching of your nipples and sudden hot or cold sensations. These symptoms may affect your whole breast or be isolated in one area.
Hormonal supplements and antidepressants that are commonly described to help women cope with the symptoms of perimenopause sometimes contribute to breast swelling and tenderness.
If you experience breast symptoms during perimenopause, your doctor may perform a mammogram to determine if there is any other cause for the condition. In most cases, this is merely a precaution or preventative measure and not reason for concern.
The Mayo Clinic reports that good nutrition, regular exercise and reducing stress help to minimize all symptoms of perimenopause. Reducing caffeine and taking supplements like black cohosh or flaxseed may ease breast tenderness, according to the Mayo Clinic.