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Breast Changes Before Periods
17 Feb. 2016

breast changes before periodsBreast is the part of the female body that undergoes constant changes, it’s one of the most sensitive ‘barometers’ that responds to any changes in the condition of the body. So, it stands to reason that cycles specific for female physiology (periods, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding) have a strong effect on its state.

Estrogen, progesterone, prolactin and other hormones that maintain the hormonal profile in females get concentrated in the excretory ducts and tissues of the mammary glands; therefore, any changes in their balance may cause swelling, tenderness, itching, dull and heavy pain and other unpleasant sensations in the breast. Many women complain that they feel pain in the breast before menstruation; those that have started experiencing it just recently even fear that such pain can be one of the signs of breast cancer. So what are the changes in the breast that cause pain before menstruation?

About 90% of women feel a certain discomfort in their breasts before menstruation. The degree of discomfort may vary from woman to woman – some might feel only swelling and slight tenderness in the nipples, others experience quite disturbing pain. However, swelling of the mammary glands and painful sensations in the second half of the cycle are normal and result from hormonal changes, it does not require any cure or taking any pharmacy drugs.

Ovulation occurs somewhere around the 12-14th day of the menstrual cycle. By this time, the production of female sex hormones (progesterone and prolactin) important for conception, maintenance and carrying of a pregnancy increases. The body starts preparing for the onset of pregnancy – the uterine walls change their structure in order to accept the fertilized egg, the volume of fatty tissue in the lobules of the mammary glands increases, breasts get bigger and start preparing for milk production. pain in breastAll these changes lead to the swelling, enlargement and increased sensitivity of the breasts in the second half of the cycle. If pregnancy does not occur, the levels of these hormones drop and with the beginning of the menstrual bleeding the breasts stop causing any discomfort.

Every woman that has a regular menstrual cycle knows when breast tenderness will occur and how severe it will be. And that’s OK. However, major changes in the usual course of the menstrual cycle should be a cause for concern, especially if a woman feels that her armpit lymph nodes are swollen. In this case, she should seek medical advice.

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