If you think your boobs get a little bit weird from time to time over the course of the each month, you’re not alone. It’s true, your breasts change as each month progresses. It makes sense, since your menstrual cycle begins and ends over the course of one month.
And I don’t have to tell you how much your menstrual cycle can throw your body out of whack. Not only that, but as you age and your cycle changes — or you become pregnant, or breastfeed — your breasts can change even more.
What’s most important, is recognizing what’s normal for you: the PMS symptoms you experience, the way your normal breast tissue feels, and how it looks. Many changes are completely normal. But any abnormalities you notice should be mentioned to your doctor, who can make sure that any issues are addressed as soon as possible. It turns out, there are a lot of factors that can influence your boobs.
They get a little lumpy
Boobs get a little lumpy for all kinds of reasons and, according to Health Central, lumpier boobs are usually associate with hormonal changes (hello menstrual cycle), rather than indicative of cancer. For some women, lumpy breast tissue can also be the result of caffeine intake, according to Shape.
Often, lumpy breast tissue — whether due to the emerging prominence of milk ducts or fibrous breast tissue, is only temporary. It’s just another one of those changes you may have to look forward to each month.
They get sore or tender
Many women are well aware that their boobs can get a bit sore during certain parts of the month. Again, breast pain can be due to hormonal changes within your body, according to Healthline.
Medications that have estrogen in them, like some hormonal birth control methods, can also cause this change. It can even be due to stress and other factors. And, as noted by Health Central, along with lumpiness, most breast pain is not indicative of breast cancer.
They seem a little smaller
Do your boobs seem a little…smaller? Well, as it turns out, it might not be a figment of your imagination.
As you near the end of you menstrual cycle, you might notice that your breasts decrease in size. In an interview with Health, gynecologist Dr. Sara Gottfried, MD, said that the reason your boobs are getting smaller is because your levels of estrogen and progesterone are dipping down to their lowest points. The bottoming out of those two hormones causes your boobs to deflate a bit.
They look lifted
According to research published in the Journal of Ultrasound Medicine (via Health), there’s a reason why your boobs may look their best at one specific time each month. As your body inches closer to ovulation, which happens nearly halfway into your monthly cycle, a boost in estrogen causes your breasts to look extra perky. One of the relatively few positive side effects of getting your period.
They seem a little bigger
While your breasts may get a bit smaller towards the tale end of your cycle, they get a little bit bigger when you’re dealing with PMS symptoms like bloating, fatigue, and breast tenderness.
Medical editor for Health, Dr. Roshini Raj (via CNN), wrote that breast swelling is quite common during the premenstrual stages. Part of this swelling is due to water retention (like the bloating you experience in other parts of your body). The rest is due to, you guessed it, rising hormone levels. For many women it’s not as noticeable, but for some, like the reader who sent Dr. Raj the initial query about monthly breast swelling, it makes a dramatic difference.
They feel dense
According to Healthline, some women’s breast tissue feels more dense to the touch during the time of the month that your hormone levels are peaking. While dense breast tissue can make reading screening results more difficult, this monthly fluctuation isn’t likely to cause long-term problems.
Your doctor can tell you if you have dense breasts normally, or if the tissue becomes more dense as a response to hormones.
They get a little lopsided
Did you know that one boob can really be larger than the other? Or that the symmetry of your breasts can change over the course of the month?
In an interview with Everyday Health, breast surgeon and clinical professor of surgery, Dr. Amanda Wheeler, said that, on most women, the left breast is typically larger than its companion on the right. And according to research published in Ethology and Sociobiology (via Health), when your estrogen level dips, your boobs can become less symmetrical, leaving you a little bit lopsided. Not super ideal, but, luckily, only temporary.
They get softer
After all that lumpiness, lopsidedness, pain, and change in size, you’ll likely be pleased to discover that your breasts will eventually smooth out and become “normal” again. In an interview with Health, Dr. Gottfried said that as your period bleeding begins to peter off, your breasts will soften.
Your boobs are constantly changing
Between lumps, pain, ropy, dense tissue, irregular size, or a little lift, your boobs change from week to week based on hormones, stress, age, activity level, and even your coffee habit!
While your boobs are healthy, become familiar with what’s normal for your breasts so that you can recognize what’s maybe not normal. If anything concerning comes up, always mention it to your doctor. The key to the best treatment, is to address it as early as possible.