Sore breasts are a common symptom of PMS and while a major source of discomfort in an already unpleasant time of the month, sore breasts due to PMS are not a cause for concern. Excess levels of prolactin (a hormone responsible for breast development and milk production during pregnancy) during the premenstrual phase are most likely responsible for the all too common sore breast phenomena. Prolactin triggers inflammation and swelling of the breast tissue ducts.
Swollen or sore breasts during PMS may also result from the increased fluid retention common just prior to menstruation. Just as fingers and feet swell as a result, so can breasts. Increased fluid retention forces the breast tissues to expand, which stretches the nerves and makes breasts feel sore, achy or tender. During PMS, the negative influence of estrogen and progesterone on beta-endorphin levels, the body's natural painkillers, is such that the body is more sensitive to any pain or discomfort, so even slightly swollen or sore breasts can feel much more tender and uncomfortable at this time.
Relief for sore breasts during PMS with over the counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen helps with the pain and also reduces some swelling or fluid retention in the breasts. Wearing a supportive bra for this period will definitely help, as will sleeping on your back or side rather than your stomach! Another means to alleviate symptoms of sore or tender breasts during PMS is to cut down on salty foods and caffeine. This minimizes fluid retention and the consequent increase in pressure on the breast tissue. Evening primrose oil (a source of gamma linoleic acids and vitamin E) is another tried and tested remedy for the relief of sore breasts during PMS.