A Guide About Changes in Breasts Throughout the Menstrual Cycle
Have you ever experienced any changes in your breasts during a menstrual cycle? If yes, then it is completely normal. Breasts can go through various changes during a menstrual cycle. They may get tender and even vary in shape and size. These changes happen mainly due to the changes in hormones like estrogen and progesterone throughout your menstrual cycle.
What changes are normal?
Since every woman is different, each may experience different symptoms. However, breast changes during periods are quite common in most women and you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:> Tenderness
> Changes in texture
All these symptoms related to breast changes are usually the strongest just before the starting of your periods. You may notice an improvement in these symptoms during or just after your period ends. However, if you feel soreness in your breasts or fuller breasts after your menstrual cycle, you can follow the below tips to manage these symptoms:> Have a low-fat diet
> Avoid consuming caffeine (products like coffee, tea, chocolate, and cola)
> Do exercise, especially a cardio workout
> Wear a well-fitted bra for perfect support
Different phases of breast changes during the menstrual cycle
When estrogen levels rise early in the cycle and peak just before mid-cycle, many women experience enlarged breast ducts. On the other hand, the increase in the progesterone levels around the 21st day of the menstrual cycle stimulates the growth of the breast lobules or milk glands. The key factor that leads to breast enlargement before periods is usually the Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). Let’s understand the various changes in the breasts in different phases of the menstrual cycle.> Phase 1, lumpy breasts: During the first few days of your menstrual cycle, you may experience an uneven and nodular texture of your breasts. Many women feel their breasts becoming lumpier during periods. This happens because milk glands swell during menstruation in preparation for a possible pregnancy. Once the body understands that there is no pregnancy, the breasts become smooth again.
> Phase 2, shrinking breasts: At the end of menstruation, the breasts suddenly start to shrink. This happens due to the reduction in estrogen and progesterone levels. Many women notice that their breasts have the smallest volume during this time. Besides, they become much softer and smooth towards the end of the periods. This is the time when you can determine the true size of your breasts.
> Phase 3, bouncy breasts: As soon as you approach the follicular phase of ovulation which happens around the 12th day of your menstrual cycle, the estrogen level begins to rise quickly. Estrogen is mainly responsible for boosting skin flexibility. When the level rises, many women experience perkier breasts than usual. In simple words, you may experience a natural lift in your breasts during the follicular phase of ovulation.
> Phase 4, firmer and larger breasts: Many women experience fuller and larger breasts during the luteal phase which occurs around the time of ovulation. The change happens as a result of an increase in the level of progesterone hormone. Wearing comfortable fitting bras can make you more at ease during this time.
> Phase 5, uneven breasts: During the premenstrual week, the estrogen level becomes low. As a result, many women feel unevenness in their breasts’ size and shape. This uneven texture usually gets back to normal once you get your periods.
When to contact a doctor?
Now that you know the possible reasons for breast changes during the menstrual cycle, you can differentiate between normal and abnormal changes in your breasts. If you notice any of the below-mentioned changes, see your doctor immediately:
- Unusual lumps in your breasts or under your arm
- Abnormal nipple discharge (bloody or brown in color)
- The shape of the nipple becomes more pointed or turns inward
- Symptoms are making it difficult to carry out daily activities
- Not able to sleep properly despite regular workouts and dietary changes
- Breasts do not get back to their normal size and shape during periods or after the end of your periods
- Itching, redness, or scaling on the breast skin
Reaching a doctor immediately will help to detect the root cause of any of the above-mentioned symptoms. The doctor may conduct a physical examination and ask you some questions related to your symptoms. He/she may also ask about your medical history. The doctor will also ask questions about your premenstrual breast tenderness like whether these symptoms occur whenever you get your periods, have you noticed any other issues like lumps, abnormal discharge, etc. In case of lumps, you may be asked to get a breast examination done (a mammogram or breast ultrasound) to find the key reason. It is important to note that most breast lumps are not cancer. However, it will be best to get the examination done for a safer side.
As mentioned above, each woman is different and so their periods are. Also, each woman may experience different symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle including the changes in their breasts. It is important to be aware of all these things so that you can make the right decision for yourself and be assured of your health and well-being.
Wonderize is a well-known manufacturer and supplier of women hygiene products like sanitary napkins, period panties, panty liners, and others. It works with an aim to educate women regarding their personal hygiene and safety.