One of the more common (and often annoying) PMS symptoms is breast tenderness or breast pain. This sore and dull ache can begin around two weeks before your period and can be a cause for daily discomfort and unease.

Types of breast pain

Cyclical breast tenderness and swelling is a common symptom leading up to menstruation. Some women will notice tenderness immediately following ovulation and not get any relief until their period has begun. Cyclical breast pain is generally caused by oestrogen dominance or progesterone deficiency. Excess or unopposed oestrogen is inflammatory and causes breast tissue to grow and become tender. Treatments are usually based on reducing oestrogen and supporting adequate progesterone production.

Cyclic breast pain

Also called cyclic mastalgia, this type of breast pain is linked to our menstrual cycle, and the way in which our reproductive hormone levels change. It is related to the monthly rise and fall in the estrogen and progesterone levels, making this pain appear and disappear cyclically. This kind of cyclical breast pain that occurs every month is rarely ever a symptom of breast cancer, and usually subsides on its own once menstruation begins.

Non-cyclic breast pain

This type of breast pain is not linked to your menstrual cycle and does appear to grow or subside with your period. In such cases, the breast soreness can be constant or intermittent, and feels more like a tight, burning or sharp pain, instead of the dull ache and heaviness usually associated with cyclical pain. Non-cyclical breast pain usually effects on breast, and often in a localized area, instead of both breasts. If you are experiencing this type of a non-cyclical breast pain, consult your doctor for a mammary examination to find out possible underlying causes.

Symptoms of cyclical breast tenderness

If you notice the soreness in your breasts appearing and subsiding every month, then it is most probably cyclical breast pain. The following are the most common symptoms of cyclical breast pain:

  • Soreness and a dull pain in the upper and outer area of both breasts
  • A feeling of heavier or swollen breasts before period
  • Pain affects both breasts, and may often also spread to the armpits
  • The pain can range from mild and dull to severe in some cases
  • Usually begins around two weeks before menstruation and fades away at the start of your period.


Support your liver in detoxification and oestrogen clearance by avoiding all caffeine and minimising alcohol.

How to reduce breast pain before period?

While cyclical breast pain tends to subside on its own at the start of the period, there are a number of ways in which you can reduce or manage the breast soreness and pain. The following are some of the effective methods of doing so:

Reduce/eliminate caffeine intake: Since studies have linked high consumption of caffeine with breast pain, try reducing your daily coffee intake, or switch to decaf for effective results. This also means reducing your intake of all drinks and foods with caffeine, such a soft drinks, energy drinks, tea, chocolates etc.

Follow a low fat diet: Adopting a diet which is low in fat has been shown to reduce breast tenderness, according to research. Switch high fat foods with wholesome, high fibre alternatives such as whole grains and vegetables, along with complex carbohydrates.

Wear a firm, supportive bra: Go for a properly supportive bra, preferably fitted by a professional, to make sure your breasts receive adequate support. Since breast tissue is delicate, the right fitting bra helps minimize breast movement, reducing the pain associated with excess swaying of the breasts.

Relaxation techniques: Gentle exercise, simple breathing exercises, massage, aromatherapy and deep breathing have all been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.

Painkillers: Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen can provide temporary relief. However, long term of such medicines should be avoided, as it may cause liver damage. It is advised to discuss the use of painkillers for breast soreness with your doctor before proceeding.

While breast pain and soreness before period is usually due to the body’s natural hormonal fluctuations and subsides once period begins, it could still cause considerable discomfort to women. Other factors such as excess caffeine, stress, taking hormonal medicines and birth control pills, are other possible causes of breast pain before period. Wearing a well-fitting bra, reducing caffeine, having a low fat, high fiber diet are among ways to reduce its severity.

It is important to note that if your breast pain persists for months and does not seem to be of a monthly, cyclic nature, it is strongly advised to consult your doctor to find out the possible reasons and examine the breasts for underlying causes.

Aromatherapy Treatment

The most important therapeutic effects of essential oils include:

Anti-inflammatory effects – They diminish the inflammation in the breast tissue that may occur before menstruation, and not only.

Analgesic (pain relieving) effects – Some oils can numb the pain receptors, like Peppermint. Others can simply overwrite the pain signals to the brain, like Lavender. This makes the pain less noticeable.

Diuretic effects – This property refers to the ability of the oil to increase urine production. It promotes excess water and toxin elimination. Edema is common in swollen and tender breasts.

Circulatory effects – Aroma oils can stimulate the blood circulation. Blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to the inflamed and painful breast tissue. (Sumner)

Useful Oils

Palmarosa, Roman chamomile, lavender, frankincense, lemon eucalyptus, clary sage, bay laurel, rosemary, geranium, sweet orange, thyme and peppermint. Rosemary


  1. Palmarosa Essential Oil

Palmarosa is a great essential oil for breast tenderness. It has very good lymphatonic effects, meaning it can stimulate the lymph nodes. In other words, Palmarosa promotes fluid drainage from swollen and congested tissue and lymph nodes.This essence is also great against excessive sweating. Palmarosa makes an effective deodorant because it’s antifungal and antibacterial. If you use one, a DIY deodorant with Palmarosa can reduce breast swelling. Thus, it can also stimulate the lymphatic system. It is tonic (stimulating) for the heart, uterus, and nerves too.

  1. Roman Chamomile Essential Oil

Roman chamomile has been identified as having sedative and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also reported to have excellent liver detoxification properties. It is very helpful for treating lack of periods, painful periods and symptoms of PMS.

  1. Lavender Essential Oil

This oil is a great antispasmodic. It has sedative effects on the nervous system. Studies show that Lavender is a great essential oil for PMS breast tenderness, pain, anxiety, etc. It supports not only the mind but also the body of a woman. It can improve the blood circulation and lower blood pressure. This relaxes the body and the uterus, as well as it promotes a better lymph function. Lavender is also anti-inflammatory and a good local anesthetic.

Breast Tenderness Blend:

  • 30 mL sweet almond base oil
  • 3 drops of Lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops of Roman chamomile essential oil
  • 4 drops of Palmarosa essential oil