General Health

Why Should You Know About Cyclical Mastalgia?

Cyclical mastalgia, otherwise known as premenstrual breast swelling, is a common concern amongst women. This symptom is a part of a set of symptoms called premenstrual syndrome. Premenopausal breast swelling may also signify diseases like fibrocystic breast disease. Fibrocystic breast disease is when the breasts become lumpy and painful before the onset of the menstrual period.

Women suffering from this condition often notice large, benign lumps in the breasts before the onset of monthly periods. These lumps may move when pushed on and shrink once the periods have ended.

Premenstrual syndrome-related breast soreness can range in severity. Symptoms often increase before menstruation and fade or immediately after a menstrual period. Most of the time, the symptoms are more troublesome than a severe medical condition. Nonetheless, whenever one is worried about changes in the breast they must consult a doctor. Sore breasts can be a symptom of menopause and several other health conditions.

What are the causes of breast swelling and tenderness?

Fluctuation in hormone levels accounts for most premenstrual breast swelling and tenderness episodes. These fluctuations usually occur during a menstrual cycle. The exact timing of the change varies for each woman. Estrogen causes the breast ducts to enlarge. Progesterone causes the milk glands to swell. Both these events can cause the breasts to feel sore.

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Estrogen and progesterone increase during the second half of the cycle. Estrogen increases in the middle of the cycle, while progesterone levels rise during the week before menstruation. Medications like estrogen can also cause breast changes such as tenderness and swelling.

What are the symptoms of breast swelling and tenderness?

The main symptoms of premenstrual pain and swelling are tenderness and heaviness in both the breasts. A dull ache in the breasts can be a problem for some women. Your breast tissue may feel dense or coarse to touch. Symptoms associated with menstruation may occur a week before the onset of periods. Most women do not experience severe pain.

In some cases, breast tenderness affects the everyday routine of women of childbearing age and is not connected to the menstrual cycle. In addition, due to the changes in hormonal levels that occur as a woman ages, premenstrual breast swelling and tenderness usually improve as menopause approaches.

Treatment for breast tenderness

Cyclic mastalgia can be treated effectively with over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen. In addition, these medications can provide relief from cramping associated with premenstrual syndrome.

Women may have moderate and severe breast swelling should consult their doctor. Diuretics can reduce swelling, tenderness, and water retention. However, diuretics can increase urine output and the risk of dehydration.

Hormonal birth pills can decrease the symptoms of premenstrual breast symptoms. However, if the symptoms are severe, you may be prescribed Danazol which is used to treat endometriosis and symptoms of fibrocystic breast disease.

Lifestyle remedies

Lifestyle changes can help to manage breast swelling and tenderness. For example, wearing a supportive sports bra when symptoms are at the worst. Diet can also play an essential role in breast pain. For example, caffeine, alcohol, and foods high in fat and salt can increase discomfort. Reducing or eliminating these substances a week or two before periods may help manage or prevent the symptoms.

Specific vitamins and minerals may help to get relief from breast pain. Food items like peanuts, spinach, hazelnuts, carrots, bananas, oats, avocados, and brown rice. Exercise can also help to reduce the symptoms.


Premenstrual breast tenderness and swelling are often effectively managed with home care and medication when necessary. However, you should discuss your condition with the healthcare provider if lifestyle changes and medications do not help you feel better.


Tuhina Mishra

Dr. Tuhina Mishra completed her MBBS from Grant Government Medical College in the year 2021. She has published several research papers in Indian and international journals. Tuhina is a recipient of the ICMR-STS award in the year 2019. She is a staunch believer in making research an integral part of the medical curriculum. She has volunteered in several NGOs, healthcare startups, and awareness programs.

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