Although it might be a distant memory, one of the first times you may have felt tender breasts was when you were developing them. Budding breasts that begin during puberty can feel tender and sore. Tender breasts are also a common side effect of PMS, childbirth, breastfeeding, and menopause. Feeling pain or soreness in your chest area during these stages where hormones are in flux is normal.
As people approach perimenopause, tender breasts will probably not be a new feeling for them as they may have experienced this symptom at another point in their life. When estrogen levels drop during perimenopause (the years before your period stops), your breasts may feel tender and achy. Why and how does this happen?
Read more about tender breasts during perimenopause up ahead!
When PMS symptoms occur before your period, fluid may build up in your breasts. Hormone changes during this phase in the menstrual cycle cause breast ducts to grow bigger. Not only can it increase the number of ducts you have, but it can also increase the number of milk glands in your breasts.
Similarly, before menopause, your menstrual cycle can dictate how your breasts feel. As your cycle becomes irregular and less frequent, your hormones won’t follow a regular pattern and breast soreness can occur at any point.
How to treat tender breasts
Your breasts should feel as comfortable as possible — which is why a well-fitting bra can give your breasts the support they need. If your breasts are already sore, a poorly fitted bra can make it so much worse. You can also use creams that soothe the breast and nipple area. Hormone replacement therapy can regulate the estrogen and progesterone changes happening in your body and in turn, decrease sore breasts. Additionally, heating pads or warm water from baths or the shower can ease your pain the way they can with menstrual cramps.
Most perimenopausal breast pain will subside once your period stops for about a full year, and you reach menopause. If you have any concerns about whether your breast pain or changes are normal, it’s always recommended to check in with your provider and keep up with your scheduled breast health screenings.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
S, Rebecca. “Breast Pain and Irregular Periods Management.” Menopause Now. Menopause Now. June 18, 2020. https://www.menopausenow.com/breast-pain/articles/breast-pain-and-irregular-periods-management
Johnson, Traci C. “How Menopause Affects Your Breasts.” WebMD. WebMD. June 14, 2020. https://www.webmd.com/menopause/guide/breasts-menopause