How To Help Tender Breasts Before a Period


Many women experience tender breasts before a period. This type of breast pain is called cyclical breast pain, and it is nearly always hormonal. For some women, the pain may be severe and interfere with exercise or other activities. In the absence of other symptoms, there are some things you can do to help tender breasts before a period.

Things You'll Need

  • Over-the-counter pain reliever
  • Vitamin B6 supplement
  • Magnesium supplement
  • Evening Primrose oil
woman with sore breasts
woman with sore breasts (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages during your period and for two to three days before beginning menstruation. According to Children's Hospital Boston, caffeine consumption increases water retention and contributes to breast pain.

cup of coffee
cup of coffee (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Step 2

Ask your doctor about supplemental hormones or hormone blockers if your breast tenderness is severe. Cyclical breast pain is nearly always caused by hormonal fluctuations, and certain medications may help stabilize your hormone levels. Birth control pills, thyroid hormones, Bromocriptin and Tamoxifen may all offer relief of symptoms, according to New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

woman asking doctor for supplemental hormones
woman asking doctor for supplemental hormones (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Step 3

Take vitamin B6, magnesium, and/or evening primrose oil supplements. These supplements may reduce premenstrual breast tenderness. Ask your doctor before taking any new herb or vitamin. The American Academy of Family Physicians warns that taking too much vitamin B6 may cause side effects.

oil supplements
oil supplements (Image: Dynamic Graphics/Dynamic Graphics Group/Getty Images)

Step 4

Increase your calcium intake. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, calcium and vitamin D reduce PMS symptoms, including breast tenderness. Calcium-rich foods include dairy products, nuts, dark green vegetables and some fish. Currently, the recommended daily intake of calcium is 1,200 mg per day, and the RDI for vitamin D is 400 IU per day.

woman drinking milk from glass
woman drinking milk from glass (Image: Christopher Robbins/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Step 5

Reduce your intake of salt, sugar and fat. Many women report a craving for fatty or sweet foods in the days preceding their menstrual period, but a diet high in fat can result in a hormonal imbalance, and high sugar intake can cause breast swelling, water retention and breast pain in some women.

pile of sugar candy
pile of sugar candy (Image: Images)

Step 6

Take an over-the-counter pain reliever if your breast tenderness is severe. Tenderness in the breasts rarely lasts more than a few days when caused by premenstrual hormone fluctuations. If your tenderness persists, or if you experience other breast symptoms, such as a lump or nipple discharge, consult your doctor immediately.

two aspirin tablets
two aspirin tablets (Image: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Step 7

Wear loose-fitting clothing, but do not skip wearing a bra. Pressure from tight shirts and bras may make breast pain worse, but wearing a bra offers breast support that may minimize breast pain in the long-term.

woman in sports bra and comfy sweatshirt
woman in sports bra and comfy sweatshirt (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

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