Have you ever felt like your boobs are bigger than usual in the days leading up to your period? During this time of the month, you may have even noticed that your bra cups fit a little snugger too.
Well, in case you didn't know, breast swelling is an actual PMS symptom — one that's quite common and may be accompanied by a little tenderness.
So what causes breasts to enlarge during this time? It's the work of hormones.
"Before your period, your breast tissue is becoming more sensitive to changes in hormone levels," Staci Tanouye, MD, a board-certified ob-gyn and U by Kotex partner, explained. "Hormonal changes that occur before and during your period can cause bloating and swollen breasts among other side effects."
As you may have noticed, this is just a temporary PMS side effect. According to Sarah Yamaguchi, MD, FACOG, a board-certified gynaecologist at DTLA Gynecology in Los Angeles, breast swelling usually goes down once the period begins. And while it is considered a common PMS side effect, she mentioned that not everyone experiences the same severity.
If the tenderness that can accompany the swelling is bothering you, there are a few things you can do to help ease the discomfort.
"Cutting back on salt and caffeine can sometimes help with pain," Dr. Tanouye said. She also mentioned that loose clothing and over-the-counter pain relief medication may help in alleviating symptoms. (Remember to speak with your doctor before taking any new medications.)
Opting for different undergarments during this time of the month could be beneficial too. "I recommend a well-fitting bra which is sometimes a different size. It should also have good support," Dr. Yamaguchi said.
Though breast swelling and breast tenderness typically resolve once menstruation occurs, never hesitate to bring up any and all concerns with your doctor. Dr. Tanouye mentioned that if your breast swelling and tenderness are persistent and accompanied by a missed period, check in with your healthcare provider and consider taking a pregnancy test.
She also mentioned that scheduling regular visits with an gynaecologist and a GP can help identify anything that may be abnormal.