Premenstrual swelling and tenderness of both breasts occurs during the second half of the menstrual cycle.
Symptoms of premenstrual breast tenderness may range from mild to severe. Symptoms usually:
Breast tissue may have a dense, bumpy, "cobblestone" feel to the fingers -- usually more so in the outer areas. There may also be an off and on or ongoing sense of breast fullness with dull, heavy pain, and tenderness.
Hormone changes during the menstrual cycle likely lead to breast swelling.
Premenstrual breast tenderness and swelling probably occur to some degree in nearly all women.
You should practice breast awareness and check your breasts for changes at regular intervals.
The effectiveness of vitamin E, vitamin B6, and herbal preparations such as evening primrose oil are somewhat controversial and should be discussed with your health care provider.
Call your health care provider if:
Your health care provider will take your medical history and do a physical examination. The provider will check for breast lumps, and will note the qualities of the lump (firm, soft, smooth, bumpy, and so on).
A mammogram or breast ultrasound may be done to evaluate any abnormal finding on a breast exam. If a lump is found that is not clearly benign, you may need a breast biopsy.
These hormone medicines from your doctor may reduce or eliminate symptoms:
Diuretics (water pills) taken before your menstrual period may reduce breast swelling and tenderness.
Danazol, a manmade androgen (male hormone), may be used in severe cases. If danazol does not work for you, other medications may be prescribed.
Premenstrual tenderness and swelling of the breasts; Breast tenderness - premenstrual; Breast swelling - premenstrual
Katz VL, Dotters D. Breast diseases: diagnosis and treatment of benign and malignant disease. In: Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Katz VL, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 15.
Lentz GM. Primary and secondary dysmenorrhea, premenstrual syndrome, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder: etiology, diagnosis, management. In: Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Katz VL, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 36.
Updated by: Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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