Let me talk to you about my huge breasts...
April 19, 2014 2:54 AM   Subscribe

I started logging my body measurements for weight loss and soon realised just how insane my boobs swell during PMS - care to share relief suggestions?

Literally, between last Saturday and today, I've gained 2.5 inches on my bust. But I've lost inches on my waist and hips, so all the water retention (I'm guessing?) is focused on my chest. My back isn't hurting, but I feel soooo sluggish and just want to curl up and knit or internet. My diet for the past month has been totally clean and I'd lost 8 pounds in 3 weeks prior to the PMS onslaught.

What I'd like to know is if the above PMS boob 'swelling' is common enough? Are there any foods/exercise/anything that works for you? I had been using those Walk At Home DVDs as a means of easing into exercise, but even the lowest 1 Mile walk is so uncomfortable with these tits of doom.

I've always known my boobs swelled during PMS, but this is the first time I've had measurements to fall back on. I'm a bit blown away by 2.5 inches in a week! Is such a 'severe' increase a cause for concern?
posted by Chorus to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It's extremely common, it is hormonally driven, your increase doesn't sound out of the range of normal to me, and Evening Primrose Oil is what my breast cancer screening clinic suggested.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:32 AM on April 19, 2014

As far as I know this is pretty normal. This is why a lot of people (including me) have different sized bras for different times. I haven't measured myself like you but I go between a 34H and a 34J and plenty in between and that's something like 2-3 inches. I totally feel you about the curling up + yarn + internet combo. I've got a few coping methods.

First one is the aforementioned different bras. If you're going to be more active anyway, get a good sports bra that does not compress (Freya makes good ones), but just something that fits with more/different support can make a big difference.

It's probably awful of me for other reasons but the big "food" thing that helps the ouchy boobs is caffeine. Ugh, I know. Also really important is enough protein and iron-heavy foods; I'm usually craving a giant kale white bean tuna salad thing just about when I switch to a bigger bra size. Evidently the primrose oil thing has something to do with good oils? I've tried it in the past (for skin issues in addition to this) and it did nothing for me, but it might work for you?

Exercise is definitely in the yoga realm. If I can stretch out my shoulders and do good, solid breathing with my chest, then it does help the rest of me deal with the havoc my breasts have been wreaking. But the breast tissue is still tender. The low impact yoga does help me stay in a better headspace though, so even if I'm hurting I'm not throwing things at innocent bystanders.

I also absolutely sleep with extra little pillows arranged carefully to help support my breasts comfortably at night, which can really be the key to not waking up already done with the universe. Also good is the hot bath, which if you have a tub that is actually deep enough for you to submerge your chest in can be excellent, if temporary relief.
posted by Mizu at 4:22 AM on April 19, 2014

Yes that is totally normal, what works for me is putting a decent bra on. Check you are wearing the right size, especially if you have lost weight. The support comes from the band, if it's too loose now it won't support you. I find balconettes support me best, but that's personal preference.
posted by tinkletown at 4:56 AM on April 19, 2014

Caffeine is a diuretic, so it can help you shed some water weight.
posted by brookeb at 5:57 AM on April 19, 2014

Chastetree berry extract is clinically proven to help with PMS symptoms and is worth a try. And seconding evening primrose oil.
posted by Specklet at 6:21 AM on April 19, 2014

For the first 15 years of my menstruating life, I had +/- 5lbs of water weight gain during my TOM. I also had painful breasts for 2 weeks out of the month. (Side note: I also have endomitriosis, which causes additional pain throughout my cycle. I had surgery for this in 2007 which sparked my interest in learning about pain relief methods.)

In 2008 I radically improved my diet in a way that lowered my inflammation levels. I no longer have water weight gain or pain in my breasts during my TOM. I am thankful every month!

My diet is not shocking new news or anything: no sugar, no processed foods, no junk food, no soda, low carb, minimize restaurant food, lots of veg/meat/eggs/healthy fat. Supplement fish oil, vitamin D, magnesium, probiotic. I get sunshine and walk 10000 steps outside 5 days a week.

So, Chorus, you mentioned you have been eating clean for the past month. That is awesome - well done! It can be really hard in our food-obsessed culture to make the right kinds of changes. I would say keep that up and maybe do some reading about inflammation and inflammatory foods. Then do a little self-experimentation to figure out if there are specific foods that improve or worsen your pain.

Good luck and I will be cheering you on.
posted by TheClonusHorror at 8:45 AM on April 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Lads, just hearing such 'extreme' enhancement is in the realm of normality is such a relief - thanks so much for all of your input!
posted by Chorus at 9:40 AM on April 19, 2014

My breast specialist is anti-caffeine and pro-Evening Primrose Oil. I still go up a cup size and down a band during my period. She is also pro-pounding water. I've found those three things make a difference as to how much my boobs hurt, which makes the swelling much easier to deal with.

So far exercise hasn't changed anything other than muscle density for me, but I hear good things about it.
posted by geek anachronism at 10:47 PM on April 19, 2014

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