Ow! My boobs!
March 30, 2015 5:22 PM   Subscribe

I'm 36 years old and had my Mirena removed almost a year ago. Since then, my hormones appear to be losing their tiny little hormonal minds.

I had my second Mirena removed in May of last year due to suspicions that it was contributing to my chronic headaches. While I had the Mirena, I had no periods for almost 6 years and it was fabulous. However, the return of my cycle has been fairly mysterious and unpleasant.

Each cycle presents with different "symptoms" such as bloating, crankiness, etc. Nothing ridiculous or uncontrollable, but different every month. Over the last several cycles, though, my breasts have been unbelievably painful. This cycle, I ovulated (per ovulation strip) on day 14. My breasts started hurting on day 18 and today is day 21 and I'm losing my mind. Should PMS symptoms be occurring at this point in the cycle? If it's not normal PMS pain, what is it? It feels exactly like early pregnancy breast pain, minus the nipple element...it's centered over the top of the breast and the outer sides, symmetrical on both breasts. Both breasts are also extremely full and heavy.

Relevant info: I am not pregnant. I am not on any form of birth control. I take various medications related to chronic daily headache/migraine, myofascial pain, and ADHD. I have large breasts and am somewhat overweight, but have lost over 70 pounds in the last two years.
posted by altopower to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've had breast pain similar to what you describe for over a year now (so after ovulation I get wicked and increasing breast pain until I get my period). Some months/cycles are worse than others, so some months it starts like you described, very soon after ovulation and I can feel my breasts filling up and getting more painful, others it takes closer to a week or more for it to be really noticeable. I get a wicked headache the day before my period comes and feel pretty spacey the few days before also.

There are a couple of books written by medical doctors on women's hormones that have diagnostics and suggestions, The Hormone Cure is by Sara Gottfried, the other is The Hormone Diet by Natasha Turner. You can take their quizzes and bring the outcomes to your doctor if you decide you'd like to have your hormones measured.

Things they will mention: reducing stress, cutting refined sugar, cutting caffeine, exercising, and specific supplements that might help depending on what the quizzes point to.

I wish I could say I've fixed my issue but I have found reducing stress, doing yoga, and cutting as much sugar and caffeine as I can stand has helped a lot. I haven't taken supplements as regularly as I'd need to see if they help.
posted by lafemma at 6:38 PM on March 30, 2015

I've had random bouts of this. I'm 25 and have been on BC since I was 17. I've had tenderness and swelling for two months straight before that was so bad I couldn't let the shower water touch them (and was not pregnant). Sometimes funny hormone things happen and I would put this in the realm of normal.

However, I am not a doctor. If this persists or worsens, it would be wise to check in about it. I personally have a cyst that needs to be taken care of that causes more pain during PMS times. Things that helped me was a supportive bra during those times, nothing too constricting. Make sure you're wearing the right size (check in at A Bra That Fits calculator) and if they swell up, maybe get a bra or two that's a cup size bigger to accomodate it.
posted by Crystalinne at 7:05 PM on March 30, 2015

This happened to me as well and gaining an extra 12 lbs helped. Somehow the extra breast tissue eased a lot of the sensitivity. Perhaps having something to do with the fact that adipose tissue helps to regulate hormones.
posted by manderin at 8:03 PM on March 30, 2015

I get this pretty much every menstrual cycle and for me, caffeine seems to be the big deciding factor. The more I consume, the more painful/bloated my boobs will be. I'm sure other typical culprits like salt are probably also a problem but caffeine is the biggie. Yours might vary though.

A lot of the problem boils down to water retention, so taking steps to ease that might help.
posted by Kimmalah at 1:42 AM on March 31, 2015

I went on Mirena to reduce boob pain. It really is a facet of the 30s hormonal rollercoaster from what I can gather. My GP referred to it as 'a second puberty' which is not fun but just about covers it. The boob specialist (I had some suspicious weird lumps) said cutting caffeine was the biggest factor, and maybe evening primrose oil but only a maybe.
posted by geek anachronism at 1:44 AM on March 31, 2015

I get this every cycle around day 16 or 17 (I have a 25-26 day cycle and ovulate around day 13). I usually gain/lose a full cup size throughout my cycle. A supportive bra (see here), some Advil, and drinking lots of water helps somewhat. Also a hot water bottle if it gets really bad.
posted by melissasaurus at 3:50 AM on March 31, 2015

I'm definitely a daily caffeine user. I find that it helps keep my headaches to a manageable level, so the idea of cutting down seems like trading one problem for another, but I'm willing to give it a go.

I think that my bras are reasonably supportive...I was measured at Lane Bryant about a year ago when my weight loss made wearing my old ones pretty untenable. I feel supported in them, but when I take it off the immediate pain is pretty major. I've taken to wearing an old too-big sports bra around the house...it's supportive without smushing things, but it still doesn't seem like enough.
posted by altopower at 6:12 AM on March 31, 2015

i've had this issue my whole period having life, and now that friends are reaching their 30s, many have told me this has just started for them. caffeine is absolutely making it worse. i personally chose pain over reducing caffeine, but some months i question that choice.
posted by nadawi at 8:52 AM on March 31, 2015

Yeah, I get painful boobs around day 13 every month since I went back on BC.
I find that loose bras are better for me during those days.
My solution: Ice packs + sleeping on my back + analgesics + patience + maybe praying a little? :P
posted by divina_y_humilde at 11:00 AM on March 31, 2015

Vitamin E is suppose to be helpful for breast tenderness. It's pretty low risk to try to see if it helps.
posted by stray thoughts at 9:24 PM on March 31, 2015

Taking a low dose potassium supplement may help with this problem; I know that it helped me immensely.
posted by skye.dancer at 8:32 AM on April 1, 2015

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