Breast Tenderness after Ovulation
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Breast Tenderness after Ovulation

calendarSeptember 28, 2016

Breast pain after ovulation

Most women experience tender or sore breasts at some point in their life, from the start of teenage years to the end of the menopause. Some women are blaming ovulation for their tender breasts. Breast may feel swollen or heavy and cause great discomfort when trying to get comfortable during the night. The pain can affect all areas of the breast and extend under the armpit, and may ache.

Suffering from tender or sore breasts after ovulation is a common occurrence and no cause for concern however it may be a confusing sign. Breast tenderness and sensitive nipples are among the first signs of pregnancy. They may also be a result of PMS or due to fluctuating hormones during the menopause. Understanding the timing of your menstrual cycle can help recognize between whether you're ovulating or suffering from PMS.


What Causes Breast Tenderness after Ovulation?

Breast tenderness after ovulation is usually a result of hormonal changes in the body during the monthly cycle. Two hormones, progesterone and estrogen influence on a woman’s menstrual cycle. During ovulation, even if you are not trying for a baby, the body is preparing itself for pregnancy. As a result, the hormonal levels rise in preparation. These hormone changes can affect the size and shape of your breasts. However, mostly they will be responsible for causing tenderness.

Estrogen is responsible for the growth of breast tissue. Heightened levels of estrogen before ovulation can result in breasts which are larger and more sensitive to touch. The soreness may also be caused by enlarged mammary glands which swell and trap fluid in the breasts as the body prepares for pregnancy. The enlarged mammary glands and trapped fluid may also cause nipple sensitivity, which is another common occurrence during ovulation.

Progesterone, in particular, is blamed for post ovulation breast tenderness. During ovulation the levels of progesterone rise. These levels continue to rise after ovulation as the body prepares the uterus for a potential pregnancy. This causes the body to retain a lot of water in different areas. The water retained in the breast tissue can cause them to swell and stretch and it’s because of these breasts become swollen and tender. Due to the varying levels of hormones between women, some women may experience extremely painful breasts while others may only have mild discomfort.

As mentioned, a normal indication of ovulation is breast tenderness. However, anovulation (not ovulating) can also cause a hormonal imbalance which results in sore breasts or nipples.

How Early Can I Have Breast Tenderness after Ovulation?

It varies from woman to woman. Some women may experience breast tenderness just before they ovulate. Others experience it after ovulation and the discomfort can last until their next period. Some women's breasts become tender just before their period. Because each woman is so different, it is difficult to say for sure how soon after ovulation breast tenderness will occur.

This discomfort may be more severe in some women than others and the intensity of this can be down varying levels of estrogen. Usually, once your period starts the hormone levels will balance out and return to normal. This should relieve or lessen any pain. Although some women can experience tenderness throughout their period as well.

Home Remedies for Sore Breasts after Ovulation

If you regularly suffer from tender breasts then there are a few home remedies which can help alleviate any discomfort:

  • Switching your normal bra for a support bra may provide some relief. As your breasts swell during ovulating, wearing a support bra instead of an underwire bra can help reduce the strain on your breasts. Dispose of any bras which aren’t providing the right support. It may be worth considering wearing a bra at nighttime as well to reduce any unwanted movement.
  • Taking over the counter medications. Taking medications such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can help to relieve the pain.
  • Cold compresses. Applying a cold compress to any tender areas can help to reduce the swelling slightly and reduce the pain. Wrap some ice cubes or frozen vegetables in a towel and apply to each breast for up to ten minutes at a time. Alternatively, using a heat pack may provide some relief or having a hot bath or shower.
  • Reduce your salt intake. Sodium leads to swollen breasts as it aids water retention. Cutting down on the amount of salt in your diet can help to reduce symptoms of tender breasts.
  • Contraception. Various methods of contraception such as the IUD or the pill can help to manage your menstrual cycle. This can reduce the symptoms of ovulation and reduce breast tenderness and pain.
  • Eat more fiber. Eating fiber-rich foods such as fruits or dark leafy greens can help reduce breast pain by helping to regulate the production of hormones. Adding more broccoli, spinach or sweet potatoes to your diet can help alleviate the pain without the need for painkillers.

If none of the above recommendations didn’t help then using primrose oil or taking vitamin supplements may provide some relief though they will take a few weeks to work. Usually, breast tenderness or soreness will disappear at the start of your period. However, if the pain is sustained, severe or continues throughout your period it may be worth seeking medical advice.

Q&A about Swollen Breasts and Sensitive Nipples

  • How soon will your breasts be sore if you’re pregnant?

Sore breasts may be an early indication of pregnancy. Keeping track of when you are due to ovulate will be an easier way of identifying whether breast tenderness is down to pregnancy. If you are still experiencing sore breasts after ovulation than this could be a sign of pregnancy. It is important to remember that every woman experiences pregnancy symptoms differently. Some women report tender breasts between 1-2 weeks of conception and say that their breasts feel fuller, heavier or more ‘tingly.’

  • What hormone causes breast tenderness?

Both progesterone and estrogen can cause breast tenderness. However, progesterone causes fluid retention and this is the main cause of sore breasts after ovulation.

  • Can ovulation cause sore nipples?

It’s very normal to experience sore nipples after ovulation. Increased levels of estrogen cause mammary glands to swell in preparation for pregnancy. This can result in the feeling of sensitive or sore nipples.

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