Why Your Boobs Get Tender During Your Period

A doctor explains.
PHOTO: MÈNG LI DÀI/EYEEM/GETTY IMAGES

Periods come with plenty of symptoms, including stomach cramps, mood swings, headaches, a change in bowel habits, although everyone experiences different things. And one such change you might often notice during your menstruation is tender boobs. Breasts can become sensitive during the time of the month, the same way they can in the early days of pregnancy.

But if you were wondering what the link between your boobs and your uterus was, wonder no more. Dr Lynae Brayboy, Chief Medical Officer at female health app Clue, has laid out exactly why this symptom can occur, and it's interesting to see just how your period affects you in ways you never considered.

"The connection between breast tenderness and periods is directly linked to fluid retention," explains the doctor. "The science behind this is that the hormone progesterone causes the smooth muscle around veins to relax. This can mean that fluid can’t drain properly from tissues like the breast."

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Progesterone is a hormone that is released in higher levels during the luteal phase of your cycle. That's "the part of the menstrual cycle that occurs between ovulation and your next period, or the days on which your bleeding begins," explains Dr Brayboy.

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The whole point of progesterone is to impair smooth muscle contractions in the uterus so women don’t deliver prematurely if they become pregnant, but as we can see, it also affects other areas of the body entirely.

Fluid retention doesn't just affect your breasts, as we well know. Bloating is super common for people who have periods to experience, because changes in progesterone and oestrogen levels cause the body to retain more water and salt. This means cells can become swollen with water, causing the feeling of bloating.

It's easy to forget that your body undergoes constant changes throughout your cycle, but with hormone levels dropping and increasing systematically, subtle repercussions are occurring all over the place.

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The more you know.

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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.

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