08 Oct 2014
7 Ways to Manage Breast Tenderness in Perimenopause
For many women, one of the more annoying symptoms that come along with perimenopause is sore, tender, enlarged breasts. This is generally a sign of estrogen dominance. This imbalance sets up shop as ovulation becomes more and more irregular, resulting in low levels of progesterone. When progesterone isn’t on board to balance out estrogen, breasts can get bigger, swollen and very sore.
If your breasts are so tender that they’re making you miserable, here are some helpful steps you can take.
- Using progesterone cream or capsules can help balance estrogen and improve symptoms. Progesterone cream is available over-the-counter, but capsules require a prescription. Progesterone also helps with bloating and many of the mood-related symptoms of perimenopause. You can read more about the power of progesterone here.
- Eating more fiber can help lower estrogen levels which will improve the estrogen/progesterone balance. Aim for 35-45 gm/day. Increase this gradually or your GI system will let you know it’s unhappy!
- Vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, essential fatty acids and folic acid levels need to be at optimal levels. Magnesium, along with vitamin B6, is particularly effective in reducing breast sensitivity and pain, in addition to helping with insomnia, tension headaches, anxiety, depression, cravings and water retention.I recommend 500-800 mg of magnesium glycinate at bedtime to my clients. Avoid magnesium oxide. It is poorly absorbed and can cause diarrhea in some women.
- If you are taking birth control pills or HRT, these medications may be contributing to your breast tenderness. You might want to reconsider using them or try a brand that has a different ratio of estrogen to progestin.
- Dial back the caffeine. Methylxanthines (found in caffeine) can contribute to breast tenderness.
- Invest in a good supportive bra.
- Avoid alcohol. Drinking increases estrogen levels.
The good news is that breast tenderness improves as you reach menopause. This is because estrogen levels decline enough to create better balance with progesterone. If pain is severe and does not improve with these lifestyle and supplement changes, consult your healthcare provider.