written by: Rochelle Connery
• edited by: Diana Cooper
• updated: 1/8/2011
There are many reasons for sore breasts. You’ve probably experienced them at some point in your life. Some of the reasons are chronic while others are red flags for problems. Learn which ones are normal and which ones should give you pause for concern.
slide 1 of 6
Teen women often experience breast tenderness during mammary development. Their hormone levels are jumping all over the charts, and this can lead to seemingly abnormal pain or soreness in the breast area. Girls will especially feel this pain once they begin their periods. Even if their breasts are not fully developed, menstruation can still create soreness.
slide 2 of 6
Your breasts are one of the best indicators of when your body ushers in your period. Swelling, bloating and water retention during this time are just a few of the reasons for sore breasts right before menstruation.
Estrogen and progesterone are the blame factors behind sore breasts before menstruation. Elevated levels of these hormones play havoc on your body, and your breasts are often the first to take the beating.
slide 3 of 6
Ovulation, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Ovulation is another reason for sore breasts. Right around your fertile time of month, your hormones are again to blame for breast soreness.
Other indicators may signal that ovulation is the reason your breasts are sore. Some women get cramping in their lower abdominal region during this time. However, unlike menstrual cramping, these pains tend to be sharper, and they shouldn’t last as long as PMS or period cramps.
If your breasts continue to be sore long after your ovulation date, you might be pregnant. If you are pregnant, expect breast soreness intermittently during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Breasts are often sore from producing and holding milk.
slide 4 of 6
Fibrocystic breasts aren’t uncommon. In fact, this condition is typically benign, since it does not necessarily herald the coming of breast cancer, as many women fear. However, breasts lumps should always throw up a red flag. If you feel lumps or see green or brown discharge with your sore breasts, you should see a doctor. Depending on the diagnosis, the doctor might remove the lumps from your breasts.
Mayo Clinic recommends staying away from caffeine and fatty foods and wearing a support or sports bra for more support to help prevent or remedy fibrocystic breast lumps.
slide 5 of 6
Sore nipples on the breast, when accompanied with itching and redness, can be a sign of breast cancer. This is sometimes called Paget’s disease of the breast. This particular disease is rather rare, but still a possibility nonetheless.
Early signs of breast cancer are sometimes not accompanied with any pain, so don’t become anxious that you have breast cancer at the first sign of breast soreness.
slide 6 of 6
Menopausal women tend to get breast soreness along with hot flashes, insomnia, weight change and headaches. This is again due to extreme hormone changes.
Some women take hormone replacements or herbal supplements to help their breast soreness during this time. Always check with a doctor or health care provider before taking potentially risky treatments.