Why Are My Breasts Sore?

As a woman, you probably experience breast tenderness from time to time. That’s completely normal. In fact, it’s so normal that most women experience it on a monthly basis. But just because breast pain and soreness are common doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be on the lookout for something more serious, like breast cancer. In this article, we’ll review some of the most common reasons your breasts are sore. Here goes!

You’re About to Get Your Period

Hormones play a huge part in your menstrual cycle. Unfortunately, fluctuating hormones can lead to sore breasts. This can happen during the first half of your cycle, when estrogen levels are high, causing your breast ducts to swell. It can also happen during the second half of your cycle, when progesterone levels are high, causing milk glands inside your breasts to form.

Tell-tale signs that breast soreness is linked to your period:

  • The soreness happens at the same time every month.
  • Your breasts are more lumpy, indicating enlarged milk glands.
  • The pain occurs around your nipple.
  • The soreness is accompanied by bloating, fatigue, and mood swings.
  • The pain goes away as soon as your period ends.


In early pregnancy, you’ll feel tenderness in your breasts just like you would pre-period, though that tenderness tends to be magnified. Your breasts may grow outside beyond your normal cup size, and the areolae might change shape. Some additional symptoms may include blue veins around your breasts and bumps on your areolae. If you notice these symptoms, it may be time to take a pregnancy test – or visit your ob-gyn.

Increasing Workouts

If you’ve never been a gym gal but suddenly got into weight lifting, your breasts may be tender at first. They may also be sore if you’ve recently intensified your workouts by weight or reps. Why does this happen? That’s an easy answer: your pectoral muscles. It’s not your breasts hurting; it’s the muscles underneath your breast tissue. Luckily, this type of pain is temporary and can be relieved with Advil or Tylenol. You can also apply heat or ice to alleviate soreness.

Medication Side Effects

Certain prescription medications may cause breast tenderness. If you suspect so, speak to your PCP to confirm. Some medicines that may cause breast soreness include:

  • Oxymetholone for anemia
  • Chlorpromazine
  • Diuretics for kidney and heart disease
  • Birth control
  • Hormone replacement
  • Infertility treatments
  • Digitalis for heart failure
  • Methyldopa for high blood pressure

Fibrocystic Breast Changes

Fibrocystic breast changes are often linked to hormones, causing fibrous tissue (scar-like breast tissue) and cysts (fluid-filled sacs) to team up and form in your breasts. This formation can be painful, but it is normal for women aged 20-50. You most likely will not need treatment unless your symptoms become severe.

Breast Cancer

Although many women diagnosed with breast cancer do not feel breast pain, it is possible that your breast soreness could be a sign of cancer. If your breast pain is not linked to the above reasons, visit your doctor for a more thorough examination and diagnosis.

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