Why Do I Have Breast Pain During Ovulation?
Breast tenderness and pain are common during menstruation, but did you know that you can also experience it in the middle of the cycle during ovulation? The pain is medically referred to as cyclical Mastalgia and may cause your breasts to feel more tender, fuller, and heavier than usual.
Many women in Australia get scared due to the sudden appearance of these symptoms, and it helps to understand why this happens and what it means for your menstrual cycle. In the following post, we will be discussing this mid-cycle breast tenderness and how to deal with it.
How common is breast tenderness during the menstrual cycle?
Breast pain and tenderness is a secondary symptom of ovulation, and while some women might experience it, it is not very common. Primary symptoms such as changes in the cervical mucus consistency, position of the cervix, and increase in basal body temperature are considered primary symptoms and are more common than breast tenderness.
What is the relation between Mastalgia and ovulation?
Ovulation is a complex process that is orchestrated by several hormones. Some of the hormones that play a crucial role in regulating ovulation include- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), Estrogen, Luteinizing hormone (LH), and Progesterone.
As the level of these hormones fluctuates in your body throughout the menstrual cycle, some noticeable changes do occur. Breast tenderness and Mastalgia are one such symptom. Let’s look at the actual cause of this happening during the middle of your cycle and how you can manage it.
The cause of breasts pain during ovulation
Although the exact cause behind cyclical Mastalgia is still under scientific investigation, some research-based causes include-
- An imbalance between the levels of the two most important sex hormones-estrogen and progesterone, during the menstrual cycle, especially during the luteal phase. The lower progesterone level compared to estrogen during this phase of the cycle might lead to Mastalgia and tenderness of the breasts.
- Issues with the secretion of a hormone called prolactin
- Stress can cause hormonal imbalance and hence precipitate secondary ovulation symptoms, including breast pain and tenderness
If the breast pain and tenderness are associated with ovulation, you can start experiencing it as soon as your LH surge occurs, and it usually subsides as you ovulate. Some women can experience intense pain, while the pain is barely noticeable in most cases.
Some of the common symptoms of cyclic Mastalgia include-
- Dull pain in the breast tissue, especially around the nipples
- Overall swollen breasts that seem heavier than usual
- Increased sensitivity to touch, especially around the nipple area
- Sensitivity in the armpits
The treatment of sore breasts during ovulation
The treatment of cyclic mastalgia in Australia depends on the severity and extent of the pain and overall discomfort. If you have mild pain or sensitivity, there is usually no need for treatment. However, if the pain becomes severe or bothersome, the doctors might prescribe you some medication to deal with it. Common recommendations to deal with cyclic mastalgia include the following-
- Choosing a bra that is comfortable and supportive at the same time
- If the pain becomes too much to handle, you can take Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory medication like Ibuprofen
- Avoiding caffeine around ovulation can also help reduce the sensitivity and pain
While the recommendations above can help you deal with cyclic mastalgia in the short term, your doctor might suggest alternate steps for long-term mitigation. Some of the measures include-
- Changing your birth control pills
- Prescribing a pain medication
- Hormone therapy
Although there is no need for these options in most cases, if you experience cyclic Mastalgia very often, you should talk to your doctor and explore all your options.
How long will the Mastalgia last?
In most cases, Mastalgia related to ovulation starts a couple of days before ovulation and ends once you have ovulated. Every woman is different, and your experience might be significantly different. The best way to manage the pain associated with cyclic Mastalgia is to chart your symptoms so that you are in better control.
What are some other signs of ovulation?
As discussed above, cyclic mastalgia is not the only sign of ovulation. There are several signs of ovulation that are much more reliable in most women. Some of the early signs of ovulation include the following-
Changes in cervical mucus
One of the earliest signs of impending ovulation is the change in the consistency of your cervical mucus. Both the color and texture of your cervical mucus change throughout your menstrual cycle due to a fluctuation in the estrogen level. Here is what you should expect to experience throughout your cycle in terms of colour and consistency of your cervical mucus-
- Just before you ovulate, the vaginal discharge increases in volume and the secretion appears transparent and with a stretchy texture.
- As you ovulate, the consistency of the cervical mucus approaches that of raw egg whites.
- Once you ovulate, the discharge appears cloudier and decreases in volume
You can learn more about cervical discharge and how you can use it to predict ovulation by reading about Cervical mucus changes during ovulation.
Increase in the basal body temperature
Most women experience a slight increase in their Basal Body Temperature (BBT) a couple of days following ovulation. If you use the correct type of thermometer, like the one available at Fertility2Family, you can predict whether you have ovulated or not quite easily.
The increase in body temperature is not a lot, though. Your normal BBT lies somewhere between 36.11c to 36.38c during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. Once you ovulate, the temperature can increase from 36.44c to 37.00c throughout the post-ovulatory phase, called the luteal phase.
You can learn more about how BBT is related to the menstrual cycle. You can use it to predict ovulation by checking out our Basal Body Temperature & Timing Intercourse article.
Another good indicator of ovulation is an elevation of sexual desire. If you think about it, the increased libido is just your body telling you that it is the right time to get pregnant. The estrogen level is at the highest in your body right around ovulation, which can be attributed to the increased sexual desire.
You might also be in a better mood during this time of your cycle. You might feel more creative, happier, and energetic.
Can breast pain and sensitivity indicate pregnancy?
Tenderness in your breast tissue, swelling, and mild pain are listed as one of the most common pregnancy symptoms by the American Pregnancy Association. As your hormones fluctuate once you get pregnant, tenderness in the breast is quite common.
As ovulation and early pregnancy symptoms can overlap at times, it can be difficult to distinguish between them. Here are some useful tips for differentiating between breast pain due to pregnancy or ovulation.
- If the breast pain and sensitivity are somewhere in the middle of your cycle, it is a sign of ovulation rather than pregnancy. However, if the pain occurs any other time during your cycle, it might indicate pregnancy.
- Breast pain associated with ovulation usually resolves once the ovulation is complete. However, if it persists longer, it might indicate early pregnancy.
What are some common causes of breast pain?
Pain in your breast can be caused by several reasons other than ovulation. Some of the most common causes of breast pain include-
- Breast cancer
- Skin conditions like eczema
- Wearing a bra that is not the right fit and does not provide enough support
Some frequently asked questions regarding breast pain
- Do sore nipples indicate pregnancy?
Ans: Yes, if your nipples are sore, it might be an early sign of pregnancy.
- Do breasts enlarge when you ovulate?
Ans: Some women near their ovulation can see the swelling and enlargement of breasts. However, it is a secondary symptom of ovulation, and many women might not experience this symptom.
- For how many days does ovulation last?
Ans: Ovulation happens when an egg is released from your ovary. So, it is a momentary process. However, for ovulation to occur, a surge in luteinizing hormone (LH) is a must, and it happens about 24-36 hours before the actual ovulation. You are the most fertile during this time, and if you are trying to conceive, this would be the best time to have sexual intercourse. If you want to learn more about your fertility window, check our article titled “Calculating Your Fertile Window: How Long Does Ovulation Last?”