Updated February 3, 2016

Painful breasts. Ouch. You may experience them just occasionally, be bothered for a few days each month before your period, or you may feel tortured by aching breasts for weeks at a time. Many women tell me their breasts are so achy and swollen that sometimes they are too painful to fit them into their bra. For some, breast pain interferes with sex, work, or school.

While painful breasts are super common – almost half of all women experience them, with over 20% describing severe symptoms – breast tenderness is not just a normal part of being a girl. Your breasts are telling you it’s time to do some health fine-tuning. And that’s what we’re going to do together through this article!

But First Some Definitions: Types of Breast Tenderness: Cyclic and Non-Cyclic

Most of us experience cyclical breast tenderness at one time or another. It is typically generalized throughout both breasts, associated with your period, and may start somewhere after mid-cycle or the week before your period, and usually goes away when your period starts. Gynecologists consider a minor amount of cyclic breast tenderness normal and just related to cyclic hormonal changes.

A third of women experience non-cyclical breast pain – it may be persistent throughout the month and is usually localized to one area of the breast. This can be caused by hormonal imbalances, pregnancy, large breasts, hormone replacement therapy, other medications including antidepressants, mastitis or local infection, cysts, and is very rarely caused by breast cancer.

Women with fibrocystic breasts (breasts that are naturally more lumpy and bumpy due to more fibrous tissue) may experience more breast tenderness.

The Scary Stuff: Is it Cancer?

Ok, let’s get the scary stuff outta’ the way right up front so you can pay attention to the rest of this article without worry. Or you can take action if needed.

I’m a girl, too. We worry that any breast lump or pain is breast cancer until proven otherwise. Rest easy, ladies: Good news first: Cyclic, generalized breast pain is basically never due to breast cancer. And that’s the type that most of us get. Localized, non-cyclic breast pain is also rarely due to cancer.

Inhale. Now sigh of relief.

Not so good news: Some breast pain can be due to cancer. Though this is rare, especially when not associated with an abnormal breast exam, it can happen, so don’t skip this section. Scary breast pain symptoms that could mean breast cancer include breast pain associated with a rapidly progressing tender, firm, enlarged breast. The skin over the breast may be warm and feel thick, with an orange peel appearance. If you have any sudden and new breast symptoms or pain in one local area, go ahead and see your doctor – unless you are breastfeeding and you know it’s mastitis. With mastitis, you usually feel flu-y and may have a fever – sometimes a doctor is needed, but most often, home treatments do the trick (see my books The Natural Pregnancy Book and Natural Health After Birth).

If you do go to your doctor, make sure an actual physical exam is done. It’s not enough for a doctor to say, “Oh, you’re young and low risk so don’t worry about it.” No ma’am. Make sure you ladies get a thorough, proper inspection and proper testing and referrals are done. An ultrasound should be done if there is localized breast pain, and if there were a lump plus pain, a mammogram would be appropriate for many women over 35.

What’s a Girl to Do?

Whether you have cyclic or persistent breast discomfort, take care of the common things first. If you have large, pendulous breasts make sure your bra fits properly and gives you the excellent support you deserve. Most women wear poorly fitting bras. Yes, good bras are expensive, but can save yourself years of breast, back, and neck pain – even headaches! And those have a cost, too.

Take stock of any medications that might be causing your breast pain and switch to natural alternatives if possible. An ultrasound can tell you if you have a cyst. The treatments below can also help clear up breast cysts. Sometimes additional hot compresses are needed over the cyst. Compresses (warm or cool) can be helpful for breast pain in general, but like Tylenol and ibuprofen (i.e., Motrin), provide only symptomatic relief.

For most of us, breast tenderness is due to hormonal imbalances – specifically, estrogen dominance. Estrogen causes breast tissue to grow. It is also inflammatory. Getting to the root cause of estrogen dominance can help you say goodbye to breast tenderness forever!

Common causes of estrogen dominance include:

  • Excess body fat (> 28%) because body fat produces more estrogen
  • Stress, because the adrenal system also controls our women’s hormones
  • Poor elimination with constipation and inadequate dietary fiber because you don’t get rid of estrogen
  • Decreased liver detoxification of hormones because you don’t detoxify estrogen
  • Environmental exposures leading you to absorb too much
  • Nutrient insufficiencies which can impair detox and elimination

Additionally, many of us, due to environmental toxins, insulin resistance, and stress, have a higher rate of chemicals called inflammatory cytokines circulating in our bodies. These can increase breast tenderness cyclically and non-cyclically.

While the role of diet and lifestyle changes in treating breast discomfort remain medically “unproven,” numerous women report relief using some or all of the suggestions below – and most integrative doctors recommend these based on seeing reliable results. We know that great digestion and elimination are key factors in getting your hormones in balance. I know this may be obvious, but if you’re a smoker, it’s important to quit. I also know this is easier said than done, but nicotine use is associated with increased breast pain through its effects on a chemical in your body called epinephrine. Cigarette smoking also increases your risk of cervical cancer.

Here are the top 7 strategies that I use in my practice and trust enough to share with my own daughters!

If you follow them closely, you can generally expect to see improvements in 2-3 months.

Breast tendernessgraphic

1. Reduce excess estrogen exposure: Our environment is so filled with estrogens that entire populations of male fish have become female just from pharmaceutical run-off into major water systems! The list of possible estrogen sources is long. Here are simple things you can do to reduce your environmental estrogen exposure:

  • Drink and eat out of glass and other non-plastic packaging only; particularly avoid soft plastics such as plastic wrapped foods Decrease estrogen graphicand never microwave food in plastic containers. Life Factory makes excellent, affordable, and durable water bottles that are easy to carry around and hold hot beverages, too.
  • Eat organic, especially your meats, dairy, and the “dirty dozen“.
  • Preferably, eliminate dairy for 3 months and see if this helps. If it does, keep it pretty much out of your diet. Many of my patients have told me it really helps.
  • Avoid pesticide and herbicide exposures, for example when gardening.
  • Replace strong estrogens with weaker ones by eating phytoestrogen-rich plants including traditional soy foods (see my soy blog) and other legumes daily.
  • Avoid estrogen-based birth control when possible.
  • Flax seeds are an excellent source of phytoestrogens – remember, they replace strong estrogens with weaker ones that don’t stimulate your breasts as much and also help with constipation so I ask all of my patients with breast tenderness to include 2 TBS of freshly ground flax seeds in their diets every day. Flax seeds can be ground in your blender, a week’s worth at a time, and stored in the fridge in an airtight container. Added to smoothies, vegetable or fruit salads, or even over whole grains, they taste nutty and delicious. Don’t cook your flax seeds.
  • Take Vitex (chasteberry, Vitex agnus castus): While vitex does not actually play a role in estrogen metabolism, several studies have shown that this herb does reduce PMS symptoms, including breast tenderness. The dose in Mastodynon, a popular European product that contains vitex and some homeopathic ingredients as well, is 32.4 mg of vitex/day. Most herbal practitioners recommend 5 mL of the liquid extract daily. Interestingly, there are anecdotal reports on the Internet of women reporting increased breast tenderness on vitex – so try it for 1 month and if your symptoms worsen at all, discontinue use.

2. Get your liver detox system revved up: The liver is your body’s main site for detoxifying estrogen and getting the excess or used up forms ready for elimination. A lot of us have sluggish liver detox systems – but we can get ours revved up with diet and a few herbs and supplements. Here’s how to make your liver work better for you:

  • Eat your greens – kale, collards, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, broccoli sprouts. These contain chemical compounds that help to detoxify estrogen, and the fiber helps you to clear it out of your body before it can be reabsorbed (yup, this can happen).
  • Take bitter herbs that support the liver’s ability to detoxify. My top choices are extracts of Artichoke (Cynara scolymus),
    Milk Thistle

    Milk Thistle

    Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinalis), Turmeric (Curcuma longa), Milk thistle (Silybum marianum), and Greater celandine
    (Chelidonium majus). Liver Health by Herb Pharm and Liver Cleanse by Gaia Herbs are specific compounds that include some of these herbs, and others than can be helpful. I usually recommend using 1-2 times daily for up to three months. Talk with your doctor before using if you have liver disease.

3. Keep your digestive system in top functioning: This means having 1-2 healthy BMs daily – not too hard, not too soft, and keeping your gut flora healthy with probiotics. Excess estrogen is eliminated through your digestive system – that is, you poop out the extra. And it is special bacteria and enzymes in your gut that help this to happen. Probiotics can help provide these. Women who eliminate daily have much less breast tenderness than those who only go a few times or less per week.

  • Take a daily dose of freshly ground flaxseed as described above – flax contains lignans that help with hormone elimination.images
  • Eat plenty of fiber. This not only keeps your bowels moving, but also helps eliminate excess hormones. And check this out: Flax and leafy greens are high in fiber!
  • Magnesium citrate: Take from 120-1200 mg daily to achieve a soft but firm bowel movement daily.
  • Take a probiotic daily and eat fermented foods such as sauerkraut and miso to keep gut flora healthy.

4. Reduce inflammation: Inflammation causes pain and swelling. Reducing the amount of inflammatory hormones you have hanging out in your system can help to reduce breast tenderness for many women. Here’s how to do it:

  • Eat less animal protein – Vegetarian sources of protein are less pro-inflammatory than most meat. Fish is also low inflammatory – just make sure to eat varieties that are low in mercury.
  • Eat good quality fats: Poor quality oils, and oils that are rancid, increase your inflammation. Stick to olive oil, walnut oil, and coconut oil for cooking, and use these and flaxseed oil raw for dressing salads, grains, and vegetables.
  • Eat less sugar: Sugar creates inflammation and inflammation wreaks all kinds of havoc in your system. I know it’s tough, but you can do it – and you’ll feel so much better!
  • Evening primrose oil: While the data on evening primrose oil and breast tenderness has yielded mixed results, many practitioners find it helps a great deal. Consider Omega Woman by Nordic Naturals.
  • Vitamin E in the form of d-alpha tocopherol: 600 units daily helps many women with cyclic breast pain. I generally recommend trying this dose for 3 months

5. Drink water (That is ditch the coffee and 86 the Alcohol): I’m not saying all caffeine is bad for you, but many women are super-sensitive to its hormone disrupting and stress increasing effects. Even a couple of cups of coffee a week are enough to knock some women off kilter. Try green tea instead; it seems to interfere less with hormone balance and is a healthy choice. Or you may need to eliminate caffeine altogether. Try for 2-3 months and see if you notice a difference. Or drink water with lemon. It’s delicious and taken first thing in the morning, may actually help your body eliminate excess hormones! Alcohol increases estrogen and is one of the few dietary factors directly associated with breast cancer. Reduction in alcohol can reduce estrogen-related breast pain and your breast cancer risk at the same time!

6. Increase dietary iodine: Iodine deficiency is on the rise and may contribute to fibrocystic breasts. If your breasts are generally lumpy and tender, make sure to include seaweeds, and check to make sure that your multivitamin supplement contains iodine.

7. Take stock spiritually/Pay attention to “Body Speak”: Our bodies provide an amazing amount of mirroring for what is going on in our emotional lives. What’s your body telling you? Are you struggling with a relationship? With issues at work? Are you more stressed or tired than usual? Are you taking care of yourself? Exercising? Eating well? See if a little bit of introspection gives you any insights into whether and what your body is telling you – and what you need to change. And find ways to reduce stress. Take some time to nourish your breasts directly – really. Rub them firmly with a pleasantly scented massage oil or with soapy hands while taking a bath or shower several times each week. Massaging your breasts can facilitate drainage of the lymph glands, can reduce pain and engorgement, and is an important part of nurturing your body.

I hope these suggestions lead you to experience relief from breast pain – as it has others who have followed them.

I always love hearing from you so feel free to share comments below. Please remember to LIKE this blog, share it with friends and family, and if you’re not already a member of my web community, do take a minute to join!

Love always,

AJR Sig

238 Comments

  1. Good info. Thanks. I am wondering if anyone else has experienced mild depression/’the blues’ when using Vitex. I found that it was indeed helpful for fibro-cystic breasts and breast tenderness but it was a definite downer for me. Any thoughts?

    • YES YES YES! There is a small subset of women who do notice this. Sometimes it goes away if they push thru for a few days; for other women , it doesn’t. It seems to have something to do with the progesterogenic aspects. I discuss this in my herbal textbook Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. Great observation! 🙂 Aviva

      • Hello Dr. Romm,
        This is the most informative publication I have read on breast tenderness, which I have suffered from all my life, and got from bad to worse last 5-6 months ( I am 45, possible age related hormonal changes). I have started using Vitex last copuple of months and it has made a great difference, reducing breast tenderness substantially. However, my period cycle has shortened since on Vitex. What used to be 28 day cycle, is now cut in half.
        Is this a known effect that Vitex might have on some women?
        Thank you in advance,
        A. M

        • Hi Aida,
          Well, now that’s interesting. Vitex shouldn’t shortens your cycle to that extent, though it regulates cycles. However, if it happened in conjunction with taking it – well that’s hard to dismiss as completely unrelated, too. So perhaps half the dose, see what happens, and keep us posted here in the comments!

        • Come across this article purely by chance – got some very helpful information and clearly explains things.

          Many thanks

        • I have very severe PMS…it starts about 10 days before my periods…depression…sleep problems…can’t control my emotional…my breast are very swollen and painfull….I crave good mostly carbs and when I finally get my periods I am in horrible belly pain and cramps for 3 days…I have tried all the natural options..I eat healthy and organic drink water …exercise every day at least 1 and half hrs! I so get up with PMS .

    • Hi,I had breast cist.
      It became hard, not movable, attached near my sternum bone.
      I got it twenty years ago being verbally abused by my mother.
      Now I am fifty three years old, girl..
      I thought about ginger root and how ginger root is blessed with many healing abilities for human beings.
      I said to ginger root: Can You heal my breast cist, because you have many abilities as a plant, You are blessed.
      I took tight bra ,put a slice of ginger root on my breast, and hold it tightly to my breast and place it on the cist ,after ten days, cist disappeared.
      Also if you live with those who caused you to develop breast cist, and who are against your wellbeing, eliminate them from your life, leaving them, forever, if you can,
      If you can’t, enlighten yourself on how to stay alive in those circumstances, living with people who wish and do You wrong.
      It is not easy.
      But it is possible to survive, even in such circumstances.

      • In this matter, I did not say: god help me, people help me, medicine help me, etc.
        I said to ginger root:
        I heard You have many healing capabilities, I hope, You can heal my breast cist.
        And I was serious in my talking to ginger root, more serious than you could imagine
        I was talking to the source of my hope, ginger root, not god, not people, only to the healing plant, that I wanted to get help from.
        So I put moisture ginger slices on my cist, for a couple days, until cist disappear.

    • I DO! Herbal Medicine for Women is a pretty intensive course but over the next year or so I’ll be rolling out short (and afforbable!) courses on various women’s health topics that can be done singly or in batches. Thank for asking! And for your kind words!!! <3 Aviva

      • Yes! An amazing article! I shared with my mom who suffers as well and cleary needs to detox.

        I plan on taking your class on children’s health as soon as I can! I’d absolutely love if you had a class or could add information to your Natural Pregnancy book (which I keep on hand at all times because it’s fabulous) about preperation/being pregnant/postpartum with MTHFR mutation. I haven’t been able to get tested yet (Tricare wouldn’t even pay for the $650 tongue tie surgery so my husband is leery of getting special genetic testing $), but my 12 month old son was born with a posterior tongue tie (leading to high palate), lip tie, sacral dimple, stork bite (tiny), and a Mongolian spot by his dimple.. I’m also 12 weeks pregnant (think I’m around the time the midline is being dealt with and I pray this baby doesn’t get tied). I started supplementing several months before with a b complex and probably a rather high folate (5000 mcg Folate [as (6S)-5-Methyltetrahydrofolic acid, glucosamine salt]^) …which I pray is okay to be taking while pregnant…I did read it’s water soluble so extra should be sent out…at least I hope? I began the extra supplementing to see if I was missing anything and being exhausted almost exclusively breastfeeding a 12 month old who has never had great sleep patterns… It does seem to make me feel better. Plus I knew if I was lacking in nutritional stores, I wanted to build my body up & do whatever I could to prevent defects in our next child. My homebirth midwife isn’t familiar with this gene so I can’t get information from her about this. I had to go through a traumatic beginning with our first having the ties that caused me and our baby great pain. I eventually found information about posterior ties and wanted to find the reason behind them so our next baby wouldn’t suffer. That’s how I found out about MTHFR. Sorry for fhe long post. I value your vast knowledge of all subjects! So this would definitely be great to have information from you on one day. ❤.

          • Soooo sorry. One more thing ha!. Do you happen to cover mthfr in the children’s course? I’d love to have information on if our son/baby need special supplementing. I plan on keeping them from all folic acid that’s for sure. I actually know several Mom’s who are thinking their kids have it as well since…even 3 out of the 4 women from my childbirth class had babies with ties. Thanks again!

      • Thanks. I just found out I have some breast cysts- very painful moreso on one side (left) which has been very scary. I will try some of these strategies you are suggesting. The pain is ongoing aching without touching the area and causes much anxiety and makes me clench unknowlingly, my stomach which then causes acid reflux for me and muscle tension and nausea. It has thus affected my sleep as I keep hoping I will wake up and it just be a dream and realize it is not! I am turning 47 this year. I know we as women go through these things but it is still quite stressful. If anyone else has had cysts, do they always have to have biospies? I just had the ultrasounds and am awaiting results. I am looking to relieve this pain naturally and thank you for your information.

        • i also was diagnosed with a left breast fibroid cyst . it came as my hormones went awry at age 38 had to have a partial hysterectomy and did have that cyst evaled , biopsied and tagged with a titanium tag. came back as just that fibrotic cyst and was stated they call them starbuck cystic breasts. its been fine for quite sometime until now … i have been under natropath care who did do a liver cleanse with me and candida cleanse ….i have been ingesting more coffee than usual and dairy..(i was told by him we all are lactose intollerant to some degree) and shouldnt be injesting cows milk.
          Anyway, this was an excellent article and i thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom as i will be trying some of these remedies !
          much love
          lisa

  2. This is wonderful information. I am going to share this with my daughter and a friend of hers. They are nursing mom’s and I just bought your books to share with them. I want them to see how important water and good nutrition plays in our well being. The friend had a scare a couple months ago from stomach pain. We got some herbal tea into her and things calmed down. She drinks a lot of coffee and very little water. But of them need to increase their fiber intake.
    Thanks for the blog I really enjoyed it!

  3. Thank you for the work you do and share. Do you recommend Phytoestrogens like soy and sweet potatoes to someone who as fibrocystic breast and PCOS?

    • Yes, I often do because they help block stronger endogenous and environmental estrogens from doing their work so can actually lower the overall estrogen load of the body.

  4. Thank you for this great info at a time when I am going through breast biopsies, and the whole works because of cysts and lesions in both breasts. I have chosen my favorite essential oils added to coconut or castor oil (castor oil stains clothing) for breast massages and my lumps and bumps have disappeared. I increased my turmeric, fibre, and veggie intake but meed to work on eliminating stress and environmental pollutants. I really appreciate the “body speak” advice. So far all test results are “non-malignant.” Here’s to

    • Nita, I notice you massage your breast with some oils, I do this too when I need fast relive. But, the oil I use is Evening Primrose Oil. After about 10 mints the pain is bearable. It all depends on how bad it was hurting. Usually, I cut a little on one end of a pill and drop a few oil drops at a time. Then I give the rest of the gelatin cap to my dog. Nothing wasted. Good luck!

    • i have just started using the tumeric 300mg but I guess it takes time to work I am also going to add some ginger. I just started using the castor oil massage each night. How many times a day do you have to use the castor oil.

      • Run the castor oil bottle under warm water, massage into area, cover with a warm cloth. It’s messy, though — it’s a thick oil — so protect clothing, etc.

    • I too suffer from fibrocystic breast disease and every once in awhile get huge lumps that I have to go in and get drained. What do you suggest to help me get rid of these on my own?

  5. This blog reminded me of a lot of things I used to do for breast tenderness and let fall off the wagon. It also introduced a lot more remedies that I hadn’t considered before.

    I have also heard raw cabbage leaves applied to the breast is helpful but I have not tried it yet.

    Thank you so much, I am new to your blogs but have really loved them so far.

    • I can confirm raw cabbage leaves work great. I often have heat along with breast pain and fresh from the fridge cabbage leaves work wonders.

      • Thanks Tina for sharing this as I have experienced breast pain for almost everyday in 3 to 4 years. I went to the doctor and she sent me to the physio still no change.I will try your cabbage leaves what do with them please , thanks Aviva for the page wonderful information.

    • i tried this and not much success. My young daughters found it quite humourous though wondering why mommy was putting cabbage on her boobies. haha

  6. Thanks for the great post! I was just wondering what you would recommmend for my 11 year old daughter. Her breasts have started to develop some months ago. She regularly comes with tears in her eyes since they hurt her so much. Any good advice would be more than welcome! Thanks a Lot, Elisabeth

    • Oh yes, I remember that feeling well. It does hurt at first, doesn’t it? Anyone else remember that? Some of this might be a bit unavoidable with growing breast tissue. WArm or cool compresses can be very helpful….

  7. Love this post!
    I am so thankful you have created a comfortable place for us women to come and learn of more integrative ways to take care of ourselves.

    I have enjoyed all of your post, and was hoping you could write one on the HPV virus, specifically the high risk strains that cause cancer, and any integrative ideas on fighting this virus.

    I was just recently diagnosed with vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia brought on by the HPV virus and had to have the lesions surgically removed today. There is not a whole lot of information out there on fighting this virus, and it would be really nice to have some ideas on how to keep it under control.

    Thank you so much, for everything!

    • Thank you so much for saying that. For honoring and recognizing this – it means a lot to me because this is exactly what I’ve been trying to do (mind if I quote you on the website? ok if not…).

      And yes. I have that exact blog in mind. It’s a big topic and I want to cover it well and carefully so I haven’t quite bitten it off yet. But you’ve prompted me to get onto it sooner! And I’m sorry to hear that you are struggling with this. Both my textbook and Tori Hudson’s have sections that address HPV and cervical diagnoses. I will you all the best. <3 Aviva

  8. Dear Aviva,

    Thank you for this blog. It is very helpful, I have been experiencing this my self as I am in the begining stages of perimenopause. I treat many women that have these issues and this blog is very comprehensive. With Chinese medicine we would also add in Acupuncture to help balance the imbalances and it is very effective. Once again thank you. Tracy Richardson L.Ac Dipl.O.M. CMQ

  9. Have had a persistent benign cyst in one breast ever since I was young (now 58). I was taking Vitex for a few years which helped with menopause Sx but then had a Mirena in when that ceased to be effective, Just had the Mirena out and am wondering if Vitex is a good idea again?

    • Hi Alison! There are a number of herbs that can be super helpful for menopause symptoms depending on what they are. Vitex, sage, flax, and motherwort are a few of these. Menopause and herb blogs to come so hang in here with me! Be well! Aviva

  10. Once again your blog is rich with clearly written education and excellent remedies. It’s a wonderful resource for me and my patients. As a naturopathic physician and mom (and budding hebalist 😉 your words echo my own (although yours are more eloquent!). Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us all.

  11. I am curious what you have to say about underwire bras.

    I used to have a lot of breast pain, especially my left breast. One day I went for an abhyanga (Ayurvedic oil massage) and I asked my practitioner about breast health. I had a horrible bruise and she suggested I stop wearing bras altogether. I was not in a place to hear that then, but I did ditch the underwire bras and went with the softer types (which are a lot harder to find). Eventually, I ditched even those styles and now wear camisoles or what others consider a ‘sleep bra’. Even with large breasts (D when I wore traditional bras, DDD while breastfeeding), my breasts have become pain-free and they don’t sag. I have perkier breasts now than when I was younger!!!

    I’ve always had lumpier breasts and I’ve always been sensitive to caffeine and alcohol, so I’ve avoided both since my mid-20s (20 years now – wow), for the most part. I’m not hardcore, but they are not a regular part of my life…alcohol is maybe once or twice a year, caffeine is probably once a month in the form of chocolate or soda or green tea (I prefer herbal teas without caffeine). I drink water as my beverage of choice.

    I have had a mammogram and ultrasound (before age 40) due to a lump ‘scare’. I’ve also had a thermogram (after age 40) and I much prefer that method. The mammogram and ultrasound results were simply “not cancer” and verbally “you have lumpy breasts”. The thermogram results were far more detailed (a number on a scale that indicated I was near the top end of ‘2’) and estrogen dominance was suspected.

    I already do a lot of what you wrote, but I plan to go through your article again with a fine-tooth comb and finish the process. I suspect digestion is still an issue for me. I have gotten it better many times, but it seems the slightest thing can send it out of whack again.

    Thank you for all your wonderful articles! I first heard you speak via John Gallagher of Learning Herbs.com. I love that you combine types of practices!

  12. This is a great article! Thank you for all you do. Do you think this advice could be relevant to helping adult acne as well? I wonder if it is caused by some of the same things.

  13. I had two breast surgeries in the past to remove fibroadenomas ( in my early 20s and late 20s) After I was done breastfeeding/pumping my second child I found another one. I was frustrated because the only solution doctors could offer was another surgery which I refused.
    Reading the about the symptoms in your article made me feel like the only thing missing was my name 🙂
    It’s good to know there’s more choices for what I have been going through.
    Do you also recommend rubbing the evening primrose oil on your breast or just taking a supplement?

    • Hi! Thank you for your note. It brought a smile to my face though I am sorry you had such tough experiences. I usually recommend oral intake, but you could certainly use it in addition topically just for massage. Almond oil might be less expensive. Keep being good to yourself! <3 Aviva

  14. Thank you for this post, it was very informative. I am battling endometriosis and have basically eliminated all of the above mentioned things to try to help my pelvic pain. I also cut out dairy and most soy products. It’s been 4 months and I’ve seen a huge improvement in my pelvic pain throughout the month and my breast tenderness is MUCH better. I still experience swelling but not as much pain. I would love for you to do a post on endometriosis someday. It is a very complex condition that few physicians seem to know how to treat properly.

  15. Thank you so much for this insightful blog. I am having issues with breast and pectoral pain lately. I bought a new bra, but still doesn’t lift the girls up with enough support.
    However, I wanted to say that I do a massage every night with olive oil, chamomile, lavender, sweet orange and it seems to help a lot with fibrous breast issues.

  16. Thanks for all the great information! I have also had good luck with pokeroot oil. It’s a very potent oil so I mix it with a carrier oil for breast massage. Also an elder friend of mine makes her own wild yam cream which offers a “good” form of estrogen to the body so that the body isn’t as open to picking up the estrogen mimickers in the environment.

  17. Hi, I am 23 years old and have fibrocystic breasts. I had a fibroadenoma removed last year and I had really no other issues tenderness wasnt that big of a factor. Now, I am so sore and tender it even hurts to walk down stairs or give people hugs. My breasts have been this way for almost 3 weeks now. I have started taking vitamin E and vutamin B6 as my doctor recommended. This post is going to change my life. I have to make myself a healthier person and my body is screaming at me to do it. I had been searching all over the Internet for tips and this is by far the most informative. I’m very frightened this pain will never go away. But I am hopeful now that I have read this.

    • Hi Ellee!
      Yes, fibrocystic breast pain can absolutely clear up. Hang in there with the dietary changes and supplements. Make sure to eat plenty of dark leafy greens and 2 tbs flax seeds freshly ground every day. 🙂 Aviva

    • I am wondering what ended up happening. Did the vitamin A and B help? Did the pain stop? I am just starting to experience this and would like to know some follow up from people after trying these strategies please.

  18. I know this is an older post but I just came across it and I have a question.

    I have terrible anxiety and cannot bring myself to go to the doctor. I am so fearful it almost makes me want to vomit and I do cry. I tend to be irrational and I know this but cannot stop.

    Well, in June, at the age of 24, I developed breast pain about a week and a half before my period. I was convinced I had cancer or something (thanks google). But after my period it went away.

    Last month the same thing happened and it went away.

    This month it has started again.

    Is it normal or abnormal to develop this so late? I associated breast pain with being really young so I was worried.

    They get bigger, a little swollen, and more bumpy feeling. I just couldn’t go to the doctor but I am getting anxiety over this again.

    I might add the pain has beed mild to moderate and has decreased.

    Thanks and sorry for my rant. It’s been on my mind for awhile now.

    • If it’s cyclic, that’s very reassuring. Find a wonderful nurse practitioner or midwife if you are scared of doctors. NPs can provide primary care, there are many who are women, and this is a great choice! Be well, Aviva.

  19. I have been dealing with a sore lymph node in left underarm for over 6 years. Does not seem to be cyclical. I have had ultrasounds and mammograms and nothing was found. Lymph node is normal size. It is very painful. I have had 2 pregnancies and breastfed during this time period. During those times it did not hurt. What do you think would help me? Thank you!

    • i adrienne,
      if it’s stable for 6 years you might want to see someone local who can help with lymphatic drainage? maybe a naturopath? best luck, aviva

  20. Hi Aviva,

    Thanks for your wonderful post.
    I have a regular breast pain before periods along with some kind of itching on lower abdomen. I’m planning for a baby now but nothing actually happening and every passing month I’m getting more and more scared :(.

    Can you please suggest me what are the possible cause of my issue and how i can overcome it. I know coming out of depression of not conceiving is my hand and I’ll try best to come out of it.

    Please suggest me.

    Many Thanks
    Sweta

  21. I have spent the last 2-3 months with increased breast pain which is alleviated with the appearance of my period, lasts for a few days and then it is back to pain. I find it hard to hug my kids, particularly on the left side. This has caused my left shoulder to tense up, affecting my left arm and hand – even the osteopath can’t shift it. I am 43, train regularly, drink one coffee a day, non-smoker, an occasional drinker (1 glass every few days) and drink herbal tea.

    Following visits to my iridologist, I also take Maca, borage oil (1000mg capsules) and fish oil. I rarely have milk except in coffee and use almond or soya milk. I have also started taking Clinoptilolite, which has had fave reviews as a de-tox remedy – been taking it for 5 days.

    I had a mammogram in May which was clear although the breast inflammation was not so bad then.

    What do you suggest? Apart from more greens (I am not a veggie person), I don’t know what to do and it is getting me down. The stiff shoulder is affecting my quality of life too.

    Thanks for any other tips you can offer.

    Sharon

    • How did you finally find relief please ? I am currently experiencing this and would like to know any followup that was working. thanks so much.

    • I have the same symptoms as you! A friend challenged me to do the 21 day no bread no sugar challenge. I took it a little further and cut out all carbs and sugars completely. My symptoms disappeared completely and didn’t come back until I started carb bingeing and gained weight. Now I’m back to square one with sore swollen breasts for pretty much the whole month and not just when I’ve ovulated. Going to start the carb free no sugar diet again immediately! Give it a try, good luck x

      • Sounds like you’ve identified the plan that works best for you! No symptoms sounds more fun than carbs! 🙂 I love sweet potatoes and winter squashes as satisfying forms of carbs that keep me feeling great.

  22. I am 64 years old and have had this problem before (pain in my left breast). My doctor said I have fibrocystic breasts. I also regularly get mammograms. My pain has come back and I am wondering if it is due to the stress of being a caretaker to my mother. I use a natural progesterone cream. And also an herbal blend of fenugreek, wild yam, saw palmetto (575mg, 4 pills a day) which I used for breast enlargement but now just use to maintain my size. Should I stop either one?

    • Hi Carol,
      Supplements to enhance the breasts can definitely contribute to cystic breasts; progesterone can as well. So I’d stop all for a few months and see if the symptoms resolve…
      Best wishes!
      Aviva

  23. I found your article very interesting. I found it because I have recently developed what I am positive is cyclic breast tenderness. I am 43, am a D cup and I know I need to lose weight. This year I and my family have started going vegan whole foods. That is not to say we are completely vegan but each month we have used less and less milk based products. We still eat eggs but those we buy from a neighbor who has a few chickens. So the eggs are fresh, and organic and as vegetarian as free range chickens can be. I have always suffered a great deal from pms (headache, bloating, mood) and extreme cramps since I started having periods, but while I experienced some breast tenderness it was not bad. When I went from being a vegetarian who ate a lot of dairy to what I do now with very little dairy and eggs primarily for baking, my cramps vanished but now I have really very tender breast for about a week and a half before my period begans increasing in tenderness as my period gets closer. And not going away till about a week after my period is done. I have not started eating more soy products then I was before as a vegetarian. I don’t eat a lot of most beans except chickpeas because I am very allergic to most beans. I do consume chickpeas probably about three to four times most weeks. I eat most nuts and a wide variety of whole fruits and veggies and grains. Why do I now have such breast tenderness when I seem to be doing everything right? Please help.

    • hi donna
      you might want to find a naturopath or integrative family doc or gynecologist to chat over what’s going on and see about your individual situation. it’s always hard to know why from a distance — there are many contributing factors to high estrogens from plastics in our environment to difficulty clearing it on an individual basis. be well! aviva

  24. Thanks, I quite appreciate your post. I have been quite worried since the past three because of a pain in my right breast that has been on and off. Now its like the two breasts have decided to be paining me interchangeably. What baffles me most is that I have seriously changed my lifestyle I.e more serious exercise, very good diet of which fruits and nuts is major with plenty of flaxseed since the past five months. However, your post has enlightened me more that the age might also be a factor, I am post menopausal. Thanks, anyway.

  25. Excellent holistic advice! I noticed in my twenties how excess caffeine affected my PMS breasts. I cut back on coffee, took evening primrose oil and it eliminated the pain. I am obviously sensitive to too much caffeine. I do eat mostly organic, plant rich, gluten free, milk free – but not dairy free diet, exercise, drink filtered water, avoid plastic, have 1-3 8 oz glasses of organic wine/week, still take evening primrose oil, but, unfortunately love the taste of coffee. I drink half decaf coffee only in the am so equivalent to 1 full cup of coffee per day. Now that I am peri menopausal, I am having breast pain after sporadic phantom/missed periods. This has happened twice. I have skipped a period but had all the discomfort of cramps, breast pain, bloating and water retention. Although most of the symptoms go away after about a week the breast pain persists. I am seriously considering switching to green tea, although I do not enjoy the taste. If this isn’t enough I will eliminate dairy too. One question, I was taking a wild yam and chaste berry supplement and experienced excess progesterone symptoms (constant breast pain and swelling, waking up early AM, carb cravings, anxiety, achy joints). Do you think that one of these herbs taken on their own would be helpful to me or should I just avoid them both? Thanks again for all the info!

    • Hi Sandra,
      In all likelihood it was the vitex, but wild yam might have some estrogenic effects. I’d stop both and see if the symptoms stop. You can always add back in one or the other separately and see if a retrial brings a return of symptoms. Then you’d have a more definitely answer. Hope this answers your question!
      Aviva

  26. Hi Aviva,

    I am 23 yrs, I have a cyst in both my breast for past 6 to 7 years. I am worried if they are cancerous or not. I consulted the gyno also, she had given me some medicines…but the cyst is of same size… no improvement is seen…I have tried homeopathic as well as ayurveda, but the size of cyst is not reducing…Please suggest me something.

  27. Thank you for your post, is there any correlation between the intensity of breast tenderness (and other premenstrual symptoms) and the amount of sexual activity of a given month? more activity stronger symptoms?

  28. Thanks for the post. My breast change size frequently and fluctuate between a B & a D cup. It just doesn’t seem right to me. My breast are so large and swollen right now (PMS) & they are quite painful-not to mention it’s just hard to have a self-image that keeps changing so drastically! Is it common or normal to have breast change in size so drastically. I’m fit, active, not over weight..

    • while this can be normal, if it is causing you discomfort, then following a plan to improve your hormonal status might help you feel more comfortable. and make sure to have proper bras for adequate support! i can imagine that is quite challenging to self-image but if you are otherwise comfortable – well — you get to change your look on a regular basis! 🙂

    • Hi great information imparted doctor.
      I am 45 yrs and recently stopped having my regular periods , it’s been two months since they stopped but both my breasts are very sore for over twenty days now plus I have gained in inches all over I spoke to my gynace and she prescribed me mecgla but it is not working . I would be travelling for the whole of next month so I want you to suggest me if I can have vitex as the soreness has enlarged my breast and is painful please advice

      • Thank you for writing to me and valuing my opinion with your important question. I would so love to be able to answer. Unfortunately, I can’t answer each individual question AND I can do much better justice to health questions in an appointment…

        My NEW! Integrative TeleWellness Consultations may be a great option for you if you’d like to discuss your health and wellness concerns with an expert in Integrative and Functional Medicine for women and children, and you don’t have this option in your community, or if are unable to come to see me in NYC when my practice opens in late autumn (2015).

        Although I cannot diagnose you, order labs or prescriptions, or treat you without an initial in person appointment, I can provide a thorough discussion of your current health-related questions and concerns, including reviewing your health history and laboratory results, helping you to make sense of how you might bring an Integrative, Functional Wellness approach into your health and wellness goals.

        Based on our conversation and information you might provide ahead of time, I can offer a set of Integrative/Functional Medicine suggestions that you can discuss with your local doctors to see whether those would fit into your current health plan.

        If you would like more information, or to schedule an appointment, please go here:

        http://avivaromm.wpengine.com/integrative-telewellness-consultations

        If you would like to join my practice in the autumn, please check back on my website in late autumn for booking information.

        With warmest wishes

  29. Hello Aviva, i recently had pain on my left breast on the left side. I went to doctor and she said i dont feel any lumps stop drinking coffee and i insisted for a ultrasound so i went 2 weeks ago due to heavy pain on the left breast left side ultrasound was clear it said i had lots of cycsts lots of dense and there is 1 cm lump so she said come back in 6 months. But the pain doesnt stop that area is sore impossible for me to lay down on it. I am just worried also my mother is diagnosed with non-hodkings agressive lymphoma . So i seen another speacilist and she said no biopsy needed and some women have this pain due to fibrocystic breast. But the pain stays and it bothers me now i booked another ultrasound trying to find 3rd opinion just to be sure. 🙁 please help.. Thank you

    • hi deniz
      working on the hormonal approach via the suggestions in the blog might bring you great relief!
      and following up with the ultrasound will hopefully give you peace of mind.
      warm regards!
      aviva

    • I am recently experiencing the same thing. After doing some reading and research I believe at least part of my problem was a root canal (same side as breast pain) they are sooo Bad! I had that aweful thing removed by Holistic dentist trianed in Huggins Program (absolutely worth checking out if you Have root canals or possible cavitations where wisdom teeth were removed) and almost Immediately felt relief. I am doing some serious detoxing now and it is feeling a bit aggravated again but Hoping getting my lymph system up and running again will release the rest of the toxic sludge that drained down from the tooth. Root canals are highly associated with breast cancer! Hope you are feeling better:)

    • Try promeva breast health, it works wonders for me. No pain at all during and before period. It’s also hormone free. It REALLY works

  30. I have tried lots of natural remedies for pms breast pain and none of them helped. However when i had been doing WW diet for a few months, I ate clean (only allowed one junk food meal a week) , all my symptoms disappeared. I had never felt better. And a few years later,just a few months ago, i participated in a dietbet for 1 month only, and again I ate clean and cut back on chocolate, cakes & junk food, and I noticed the difference. I think in my case sugar caused the awful symptoms. Just wanted to share this, might help for some women 🙂

  31. This is really helpful. Im going to give all of the above a try. Im 26 I’ve been back and forth to my doctor in agony with tender breasts and all they want to offer me are contraceptive pills which I have tried my fair share of, I’ve also had a few examinations here and there as I do suffer from lumpy breasts. I get sore two weeks before I’m due on the pain has brought me to tears, 1 because its horrid and two it prevents me from running/exercising (which is my stress relief). I’ve tried evening primrose oil, ibuprofen gels, sleeping in sports bras, cutting out caffeine and alcohol. Any additional advice would be muchly appreciated.

  32. Thank you so much. I find this very helpful and useful in dealing with my problem.I have focal complex atypical hyperplasia. I am on medication. One of the side effects is breast tenderness.

  33. This worked! I feel so smug and happy. For several cycles my breasts got so big and sore I considered surgery. Felt depressed. I was at my wits end when I read this article. I used flaxseed, all-bran and evening primrose oil for 5 weeks and realised that many of my problems stemmed from not enough BM. I was previously only 2 times a week and now almost every day. Wow! I lost an inch or two from my waist just by using the loo more often. Now I’m due on and althought I’m a little bit bustier and tender than normal, nothing like what it used to be. husband not v happy ha ha but at least he doesn’t have to have the surgery chat any more. I couldn’t cut down the alcohol, caffeine and sugar unfortch but just these small tweaks made such a diff. Thank you.

  34. Great article! Thank you! I already do several of the things you mentioned to avoid excess environmental estrogens – but the flax seed is a new one for me and I plan to try it!

    I have a question for you. I am in my 40’s and have Galactorrhea. I had my prolactin levels tested several years ago and they were normal. The Galactorrhea is pretty mild, although in the one and only mammogram I ever had the woman who did it was kind of shocked to see ducts full of milk. Is there anything I can do for the Galactorrhea and is it something I should be concerned about?

    Thanks again for your article!
    Carol 🙂

    • hi carol
      great question — there are a number of reasons for galactorrhea — stress is one of these. if prolactin is normal i’d take a look at other causes and get to the root of those! often nothing needs to be done and it resolves in time.
      vitex (chaste berry) is used for this. sage also dries up excess milk secretions.
      good luck!
      aviva

  35. Hi, this is one of the most informative posts I have come across.
    Im 18 yrs old and have been having menstruation for almost 5 yrs now. I still don’t get the 28th day period. Is it due to my lifestyle? Also, I’ve intense breast pain approx 2 weeks before my period, what can I do about this? Im am 125lbs with 34 C cup, does this have to do anything with the pain? Expecting you advise.

  36. Hi Dr. Romm,

    I’ve had cyclic breast pain in my left breast for the past several years. About 10 days ago my left breast began to have a kind of phantom itch (in other words, not soothed by scratching, and not totally locate-able). The left breast is also feeling slightly tender. There’s no rash or discharge—no external sign of irritation. Found your site because I am wondering if I can do anything naturally to cure this. Thanks for any info you may be able to provide (including a referral to a San Francisco Bay Area practitioner, if one comes to mind and you have the time).

    Sincerely,
    Nora

    • Hi Nora,
      It’s so hard to know at a distance! I know a nurse midwife at UCSF named Cindy Bacon — she might be able to make a referral. Also, there’s a family doctor in SF named Daphne Miller who practices integrative medicine. In all likelihood this is just a transient symptom and maybe dry skin…
      Wishing you the best!
      Aviva

  37. Hi….thanx for the wonderful info…I would like to ask that I am having vert restless feelung in my right breast right arm n little portion of right back too…I was really worried as there was severe pain before menstrual cycle after that the pain was gone but the burning sensation still remains…
    I also met the doc she examined n said everything is alright but still the restlessness and burning sensation remains.
    I request you to please help me out with this problem
    Thankyou so much..

    • Great news that your doctor thinks everything is ok! IT’s likely just hormonally related since the sensation happens right before your period. The suggestions in this blog might be very helpful for you!

  38. Hi! Aviva
    I’ve had breast pain. Serious pain off and off for years as well as lumps and bumps. I’ve narrowed down the issue to caffeine after doing a series of elimination. Bc I realized I was drinking black tea everyday. Once I stopped it took a few weeks for the pain to go fully away. I know prob TMI 🙂
    But, now if I have any touch of caffenine even with juicing greens daily it makes my boobs in an uproar!!! Even a touch. So someone said my estrogen levels may be to high. Im34. But I said all this to ask if you have a good anti estrogen pill brand that could help with balancing out estrogen??? I know NOW herbs has one.
    Do you know much about them? Or can u suggest anti estrogen supplement.?
    Many thx!!!

    • Hi Yen
      Sounds like you know what the cause is! Listening to your body and checking out the recommendations in the blog will hopefully be all you need to get your hormones on track!
      Best, Aviva

  39. Thank you so much for your post! I have just come across your website and this article while searching ‘breast pain pms’, and it makes the most sense of any I have seen. I suffer from very painful breasts, so much so that it goes through to my upper arms and my back, as well as up my neck, which makes me feel as though I have the flu. Over the counter pain relievers only work so much, and I have always suspected that there are lifestyle changes I could make.

    I also suffer from rosacea and IBS, and I have also suspected that these three things are all related. I look forward to trying your suggestions and seeing if they make any difference to any of my long-term issues.

  40. Interesting article. I suffered from sever PMS symptoms including sever bloating and breast tenderness. People always asked me if I was pregnant when I was PMSing. I started by eliminating diary and meat from my diet, then added cabbage, broccoli and brussel sprouts to my diet. Also added seaweed and Chia seeds to my diet. Then eliminated sugars and processed foods. It is 3 years now, I have my periods, but no PMS, I still feel sad and anxious towards my period, but even these symptoms are much improved. These dietary changes can be very extreme, but worth trying. Once you see the benefits, it will make you feel and look so much better. Good luck to all. Avin- Toronto

  41. Hey aviva.
    I suffer from terrible breast pain almost all the time. I’m 22 and don’t have loads of money (I’m a student). I don’t want to go to the gyno every time I get sore boobs. I’m definitely going to try all of your advise. But wen do you think it’s time to go to see the doctor. I have never actually been diagnosed with anything but have had breast exams and they found no lumps and bumps. I’m also sick and tired doing pregnancy test after pregnancy test cus my boobs always hurt.

    • At your age I suffered the same results. More than 30 years have passed and doctorso-if you can see an actual doctor- haven’t changed their view of our pain one iota. That is sad and discouraging.

  42. Hi Aviva. I found your article on breast tenderness very helpful. I recently came off of the depo birth control shot after reading more and more research on how unhealthy it can be, which my dr.s never told me about. I have been struggled with extreme breast pain/tenderness/inflammation for the past 4-6 weeks. I was on the shot for nearly 9 years so I know my body is experiencing some serious changes. Do you have any suggestions for immediate relief? I have very small breast and have never experienced any kind of breast pain or problem. I maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet and have no other known health problems. Thanks so much for your time, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  43. My right breast has been very tender and swollen and inflamed for about 2 weeks now, and it’s just my right one.
    I’m only 19 and I haven’t had a period in two years due to my depo birth control shots every three months.
    I can feel a few thick knots within my right breast and my nipple seems swollen as well. This breast has increased in size also, making my left one an A cup and my right almost a B..
    I don’t know what to think because I don’t have a menstrual cycle and I’m not pregnant so nothing really applies directly towards me. I just need some answers and some help. Haha

  44. Asking questions are actually fastidious thing if you are not understanding anything entirely, but this post offers pleasant understanding yet.

  45. So glad to have found your blog…. I’ve suffered chronic breast cysts for a few years and have become well know by the consultant at the breast clinic to have very large cysts drained on a regular basis (I’m in my mid 30’s)… I’m so fed up as they have no advice in how I can help myself other than keep going to have them drained …. But they can fill up again within days of draining …. I know they are hormone related as I took the pill for a few months and cut out my period and I had none ( but it made me depressed ) as soon as I came of it they came back with a vengeance ….. I’ve started taking evening primrose oil and eat a paleo diet so pretty clean and healthy …. What things do you most recommend taking to get rid of these cysts and stop them forming I really appreciate your advice

  46. Can you talk about estrogen dominance in peri-menopausal women. I am 54 and I am peri-menopausal. I am 70 days since the start of my last period, but that is the longest I have gone without one. My breasts are very swollen, heavy and tender. I am up to date on yearly momograms and paps. I am going to try your ideas, but I’d like more info directly related to my age and time of life. Thank you.

  47. I recently began taking ortho tri cyclen. The next week, I had to start taking Cimetidine. Side effects of both are breast swelling and tenderness along with nausea and other symptoms. My breasts feel heavy and are so painful

  48. I really love your page after reading,Am Emmanuel,male and 24 years of age, i have a swoollen ball in my right breast and some times i feel pain in it i want to know if i can use the same remedy here,thanks

  49. I am 57 this year and have lived a life of breast sensitivity and pain. I am fairly well endowed at a 38D and I am considering breast reduction. I have severe arthritis and am beginning the neck/upper spine aches and pain to join the other arthritic pains.

    Mammograms have always been exceedingly painful and I try to avoid. These somewhat simple tests leave me in such gut-wrenching pain for days, I dread them.My doctor insists I have a mammogram and this dread of the test led me to search for help and hence, I landed here. I appreciate all the information and will faithfully adhere to the suggestions with hope this mammogram is less painful.

    Thank you for insight and direction.

    Panz

  50. Very informative blog. Like many other women am small chested and I have pain and discomfort days before my period an get regular mamo an ultra sound to check on a cyst in my left breast. Am 41 an very health conscious because my mom passed from breast cancer when she was 42. I will try your other suggestions that are new to me. Thanks.

  51. I am 38 and at a standstill on what may be going in with me and was hoping you may have some ideas.
    I have been having issues for the past three years, all started with hysterectomy. Then my family dr send me to an rheumatologist in which de said I have severe fibromyalgia (which I struggle with that daily mind and body) cause I feel it’s not a true ruling. But he also says I have the beginning stages of lupus.
    I have just recently went back to my family dr cause I feel there is some issue with my thyroid, seems like drs these days don’t listen just look at numbers. All my test were in normal ranges, (but I feel on lower part if ranges) and she’s not wanting to go further with that..
    Last week I finnaly went to her because of serious tenderness on left side of breast, she checked it out, sent me for mammogram/sonogram, they said all looked ok. Which is great, but why am I in so much pain then.
    To top all that before all this started three years ago I was active eating healthy and was in military early 2000. So I really don’t complain about alit and do overlook a lot but something is very off here…
    Any suggestions please :)))

    Thanks Leanne

    • Leanne,
      Thank you for writing. Unfortunately, not only or legal reasons, but because Dr. Romm wouldn’t be able to do justice to your concerns without a full consultation, she is unable to answer individual health and medical questions by email.

      I recommend looking on the website of the Institute for Functional Medicine for a practitioner in your community.

      If you are unable to find someone suitable, Dr.Romm and the doctors in her office at The UltraWellness Center see patients from all around the world in our Lenox, MA office. They do require a first visit on-site, but after visits can be by phone for most patients. Please see her website or The UltraWellness Center website to contact them for an appointment.

      Best wishes,
      Becca Sarich, CNM, a member of Aviva’s clinical team

  52. I was very pleased to have encountered your web site. I needed general information for soreness. I received much more. Very happy to learn1should continue to take soy & eat phytoestrogens due to fbrocystic breasts. Is dense breast tissue the same as fibrocystic tissue? Is dense tissue thick without lumpiness? Please answer both thank you.
    P.S. I’m health and natural conscious. Been reading, practicing & learning for years. The only way to go. I had forgotten this whole concept about the liver, estrogens, and elimination. Thank you once again for the continued education. By the way primrose oil works wonders for endometriosis. Abdominal spasms totally free. Taken daily for years
    1000mg 2 gel pills/day- 1 morm,1evening. Lets continue to educate. Judiann

  53. I have suffered from very bad cyclic breast pain for years. Normally I’m a DD but will blow up to a hot, very painful E who flinches when anyone comes near me! This is the best site/information I have found. Taking iodine made a huge and immediate impact. The flaxseeds were like an overnight miracle, but within another cycle or two had no effect, sadly. I have also found vitamin B6 to be fabulous – they really help a lot with the breast pain (for me a 50% reduction) and it has eliminated by PMS moods/crying/teariness bouts. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  54. I just stumbled across your site looking for information linking soy with breast pain. I am a 43 yr old AA woman with a strong family history of breast cancer ( mother, twice and sister). I have received mammograms yearly since I was 28. In my mid 30s my breasts started to hurt and swell. They continue to be very painful daily except during my cycle. I have found evening primrose to be effective and decreases the pain significantly. I currently take 2,000 mg am and pm. Over the years I’ve needed to increase the dose. I add flax seed to my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches :0) , you never notice the extra fiber, as well as sprinkled over salads. Thank you for the great information, will try some of the other recommendations.

  55. Tnx a lot for your post and its a big help for a women like us. I’ve already check with my doctor and undergo ultrasound and found 2 fairly cyst with my 2 breast one every each…. I appreciate any information and advice ….More Power and God Bless….

  56. Hi Aviva! I think you are wonderful! I have high estrogen levels and I am iodine deficient. I started taking iodine and now my breast soreness is worse than ever! Do you think this will improve with time?

    • Hi Amanda, Well, the estrogen is likely what’s causing your breast tenderness, but you might make sure that you are taking only the lowest iodine dose — for example, a couple of teaspoons of dulse flakes daily instead of a higher dose supplement and see if this helps. It’s super important to pay attention to your body and see what approach works best for you. The iodine can go either way with breast symptoms. Good luck finding that balance! Breast symptoms do clear up — that I know!!! 🙂

  57. Hi Aviva! I struggled with fibrocystic breasts for years. I started using natural deoderant (aluminum free) and my pain went away within a month or so. I wondered if you’ve ever heard that before? To this day I’m still using natural deoderant and am pain free!

    • Fantastic, Jessica! Yes, if you are having a sensitivity reaction to a chemical in the deodorant, this can make your lymph nodes in the area much more inflamed and they drain more poorly — so one gets increased tenderness. Glad you solved that problem! 🙂

        • Hi Helen,

          There are some really wonderful options on the Environmental Working Group site! The resources over there are amazing and Aviva uses them as a reference on a regular basis. We highly recommend checking them out!

          Warmly,
          Megan- Aviva Romm’s Executive Assistant and Online Nutrition Expert

  58. Thank you for your suggestions. I am hypothyroid and taking thyroxine supplements daily. Soya is not recommended when taking this medication. Are other phytoeostrogens such as sage safe to take with my condition? I have always had cyclical breast tenderness but in the last 6 months it is almost constant. I am 46 and probably peri-menopausal as I have other hormonal symptoms. Thank you !
    Eileen

  59. Thanks for your advise. Great article. Im 22 and my breast size is changing quite often not only before period sometimes they are D cup other times C cup however i realy hate the brest pain and i can feel something is not right in my body this year,my menstrual cycle is irregular and i have horrible mood swings :/ I tried taking vitex and it was the worst nightmare!!!! It might work for some a lot of people say it works but for me it was horrible,it made pms worse and my i was depressed. I think i should try yoga and meditation i really have no idea what else to do about my irregular periods and breast pain,i alredy eat healthy.

  60. I suffer from extreme breast pain. I’m only 33 and in pretty good health. Your blog is inspiring and I plan to begin using many of these methods immediately. Many friends have also recommended DIM-Plus and say it works wonders. Have you heard of this supplement and would you recommend it as well?

    • Yes — absolutely — Indole-3-carbinol DIM, and all of the vegetables in the brassica family (broccoli, kale, etc) where those supplements come from, are very helpful for elimination excess estrogen and breast pain. best! aviva

  61. Hi…
    I have breast tenderness in my tight breast for the last month. I find that taking evening primrose oil 3 times a day eliminates any pain and discomfort. Why would one have tenderness in only one breast?

    • hi maryna, this is very common with a cyst or blocked duct. check with your primary doc or a nurse midwife or nurse practitioner who does women’s health — an exam might put your mind at ease about it — along with the EPO you are taking. warmly aviva

  62. Hi Aviva,
    A really informative blog.
    You are doing a great job.
    more power to you
    I’ll definitely try these suggestions.
    I have a question though.
    I am a 21 year old woman and I have never experienced cyclic breast pain before, but its been 3-4 days and my right breast hurts. There are no as such lumps there. I went to the doctor yesterday and she said all is well for now and you need not worry. She said this might be cyclic breast pain since I am in the second half of my menstrual cycle and if it persists we’ll look into this matter further. Though the pain has lowered now and I hurts less.
    What’s your take on this?
    And this cyclic breast pain can suddenly happen out of no where?

    • hi kanika,
      yes, this can definitely happen due to diet, more than usual caffeine, a too tight bra or workout top — or just hormones. sounds like you doc gave you a clean bill of health so i’d try the suggestions in the article and have a recheck in a few months if still bothering you. and thank you for your kind note! 🙂 aviva

  63. a very informative blog i must say
    thanks s lot!!
    will definitely try these suggestions
    can you answer question please?
    i am 21, and have been experiencing breast pain in my right breast and the right one also seemed warmer than the left one.
    i checked for lumps but there are none as such.
    i went to see a gynecologist and she did the physical examination of my breasts and said that this might be the pre-menstrual breast pain since i am in my second half of menstrual cycle and asked me not to worry and gave me some medicines.
    i am really worried since i never had breast pain before.
    whats your take on this?
    and is it normal to have pre-menstrual breast pain in only one breast?
    please help!!

    i am really worried

    • hi jenny
      if you’re worried it’s a great time to see a nurse practitioner, family doctor, nurse midwife, or gynecologist for an evaluation. and if your exam turns out to be normal, try the recommendations in the article and see if you get relief! best wishes,
      aviva

  64. Hello, i am 24 years old and i am having this pain in my left breast from one and a half month. It usually circulates. Sometimes i feel it in my chest and sometimes in my breast. I have visited gynecologist and some tests like TSH, HB, MAMOGRAPHY N CHEST X RAY have been done. The reports are normal and my pain is also reduced. But it has not gone off completely and is affecting my well-being. I am so worried.

    • Hi! Sounds like your workup is normal so I’d follow the blog recommendations for 3 months and see how that goes. The tests and imaging all sound reassuring but let your doctor or nurse practitioner or nurse midwife know about your concerns so you can get support and the answers that will put your mind at ease. Best ~AR

      • Thank you for your response..My periods of august and September were very heavy, to an extent that i needed to use 8 pads a day. This pain in breast started in October. Can heavy periods be a reason for that? Else i have gained around four kgs of weight ( i am 5 ”1” and 51.5 kg. Earlier i used to be 47 Kgs). Can weight gain be another possible reason for that? Or is it something related with ageing?

  65. Thank you mam for your answer. The only time i felt similar pain was when i was 17 and got relief after medication. After seven years, it is reoccurring. Luckily, i never ever felt pain in my breast during or near periods. My periods of august and September were very heavy that i needed to use eight pads a day. After that this pain started in October. Can heavy periods be a cause of that? else i have gained around four and a half kg weight (i am 5 “1” and 51.5 kg..i was 47 kg from long time). Can weight gain be another possible reason? or is it a sign of bodily changes associated with ageing?

    • Yes, it is not uncommon for women diagnosed with PCOS to have a longer duration of breast tenderness due to the hormonal imbalances.

      Sincerely,
      Becca Sarich, CNM, member of Aviva’s clinical team

  66. Great article! Very helpful information. I’ve been having breast tenderness for the past couple weeks (more so than I usually do with my menstrual cycle) and was wondering if you have come across chlorella causing breast tenderness? I started taking chlorella tablets about 3 weeks ago and wonder if that has caused a hormonal shift or imbalance of sorts?

  67. Hi all,

    Great post! For me, the simplest solution worked…I stopped wearing a bra. My hypothesis is my lymph system could drain properly once I got rid of the thing. The first month I stopped wearing one, the pain was way less severe, and then 100% gone by the second month. It hasn’t returned. Hope everyone finds something that works for them 🙂

    Sarah

  68. I just wanted to let you know how much help this article has been to me. I was in despair with my breast pain, I only have it In my right breast and have been in constant discomfort for 6 months. The doctors just have me a booklet on how to cope and sent me on my way.

    I was so pleased and filled with new hope when I read this, some new things to try to try and ease my discomfort.

    I have given up 95% of my dairy intake, I haven’t eaten meat, I started taking evening primrose oil and stared using flax seed a lot more. I am now starting to feel on the up, and after feeling so horrible for so long it’s fantastic, I’m still in a little discomfort but nothing like I was and I have you to thank for that.

    Much love

    Sarah x

  69. I have had very bad breast pain for years and taken evening primrose and star flower oil which helps a bit but it’s still v bad. I went to the doctor and they said to take paracetamol!! I have recently (3weeks ago) started taking these multi vitamins which have vit b and d in and so far I’ve not had any pain or bloating. It’s still a week to my period but normally by now it would be quite bad. If this carries on to work I want to shout it from the hills to help others!!

    http://www.naturesbest.co.uk/premtis-p719/?src=gonato

  70. Hi I just read your blog and makes me happy.I am 21 year old.and I have lumps on my left breast its not hurting but in rare times it is.but I’m just worried because there is new lump growing.is it a big possible to turn to a cancer? Can you please suggests me and help me what to do?
    And one thing I want to know is Soy Milk a good one to take?

    Looking forward to hear from you.

    Thank you so much that I found this blog it really helps.

    Thanks and more power!

  71. Hello,thank you for sharing these useful information.i am 21 year old,i have a pain in my left breast,and i saw a doctor she said that there is unheartful lumps in my breast,and she prescripted (evening primrose oil) ,when i take it the pain goes,but when i stop taking them ,the pain comea back again…i do not know what to do…i am waiting for your answer
    thank you very much

  72. Hi! Thank you so much for this very informative blog. 🙂 I’m going to try these things right away. I am 30 years old and I have 3 cysts on both of my breast (2 on my right and 1 on the left) I’m really worried about it. I had some check-ups before but the doctor said these are not cancerous. I have these cysts maybe for almost 3 years or more already and honestly, I am scared. But now, i know i can do something about it. I am also thinking of having second opinion. Thank you really for these information. God bless you. 🙂

  73. Madam,
    Indeed very informative, simple and easy to implement.
    Please continue the good work for It is in giving that you receive.
    GOD BLESS & WARM REGARDS
    yazdi

  74. Yea I might have bc because this little child punched me in my breast and I can’t move my arm or anything I can’t even run because if I do my breast will move and be I
    n pain

  75. Hi aviva I have a question for you. Dh and I Ttc two and half years now 3 miscarriages first year none second. Gyno thought it could be due to pcos like symptoms other then the irregular period since mine has always been pretty regular and possible progesterone deficiency/estrogen dominance and possible insulin resistance. Have been taking vitex for two weeks started Cd 13 and I woke up yesterday with very sore nipples and worse today. Taking two 500 mg vitex extract a day as recommended for what my gyno thinks is going on with me but ive read too much progesterone can cause sore nipples I don’t know what to do at this point. Should I continue the vitex for a few months to see if it levels out or should I discontinue useing them? Period is estimated 9 days away and ive never had sore nipples or breasts this far ahead of my expected period. Thanks in advance for any help or advice you can provide.

  76. This was a wonderful, informative and comprehensive article! Over the last few cycles I was experiencing *intense* breast tenderness up to to 10 days before my period, which is unusual for me. An acupuncturist I was seeing told me this was a “good sign” (I’m trying to get pregnant) as it indicated I was producing progesterone. However, my intuition told me different.

    This month I’ve cut back on caffeine, have been drinking water with lemon (from a large glass mason jar!), taking evening primrose supplements, and making sure I’m getting plenty of greens — my period is due in a week, and I haven’t experienced any tenderness yet! So happy! This article has affirmed these choices, and I’m excited to implement other suggestions from the articles as well, such as adding flax seed to my diet and using herbs to detox the liver. So happy to have found this site and this article! Thank you, Aviva!

  77. Can Vitex shorten your monthly cycle? I have been taking it for last two months because of breast tenderness, which I has all my life, but got from bad to worse last 6-7 months. It has helped with the pain, but my cycle has been shorter than ever. I got my period twice within a month last month (two weeks apart). I am 45 and wondering if this is because of Vitex use. Maybe it is peri-menopausal changes?

  78. dear aviva..i have been having these shooting breast pains since months…i got a mammogram scan done..was diagnosedbilateral small cysts with ductal ectasia…my dr has put me on to a 5 day course of antibiotics…i am also taking a pyricontin morning evening..with a soya supplement…plz suggest me some remedy for these shooting pains..sometimes my breast go lumpy with knife like pains…can i take a primrose oil supplement along with the other vitamins..i am 47 years and still menstruating..

  79. Hi Aviva,

    Thanks for the post. Its really helpful.
    My Aunt age around 65 is having pain in her left breast and she recently got mamography and FNA (Fine needle test) done. She has been detected with Giant Fibroadenoma,
    She does not want to go for surgery reason has pace maker implanted.
    She has started following the dietary changes. Any thing that could be done to lower down her pain? Please suggest.
    I read on few sites NASCENT IODINE, helps to dissolve Fibroadenoma. Does it work?

    • Hi Swati,

      This is Megan from Dr. Aviva’s team. Thank you for your response and I am sorry to hear about your Aunt’s pain. Please see Dr. Aviva’s blog on pain — hopefully you can find some good supportive info that will be helpful for your Aunt.

      Megan- Dr. Aviva Romm Nutritionist

  80. Hi there, I know it’s probably not your expertise but my mom developed HPV which subsequently became Cervical Cancer. In this article you mention that smoking increases the likelihood of cervical cancer and my mom is what most would call a “chain smoker.” She is still battling the cancer and part of me thinks her smoking is part of the reason her cancer keeps coming back. Regretfully, though, all my efforts to stop her from smoking have fallen on deaf ears. Might you have any tips to help the transition out of smoking easier for her?

    • Hi Stephanie,

      This is Megan from Dr. Aviva’s team. Dr. Romm knows how difficult this can be, especially for those who are in your situation, when all you want to do is help those that you love. One tip for helping to quit smoking is peeling oranges. Anytime the urge for a cigarette comes up, peeling an orange instead seems to help get the physical fix that comes along with smoking. I hope this helps and best of luck.

      Megan-Dr. Aviva Romm Nutritionist

    • Hi Sailu,

      I know it can be confusing and we hear this question all the time. Photoestrogens actually competitively block more toxic forms of estrogens from binding to our cells, thus making them an extremely protective food. The estrogens you most want to avoid are xenoestrogens. Flax seeds actually help balance our hormones, as we are better able to effectively eliminate excess and toxic estrogens like those xenoestrogens, we then experience fewer women’s health problems like PMS, Fibroids, breast pain etc…. Here is an article that Aviva wrote on Flax seeds… http://avivaromm.wpengine.com/flax-seeds-super-food

      Megan, Aviva Romm Nutritionist

  81. I have breast tenderness almost whole month if i dont take any precautions.Now i started taking flex seeds everyday which helped me alot but the one worries me is that all over the internet they say to be very careful taking flexseed as this mimic estrogen ,and i noticed bleeding more during periods

    thesedays i get occasisonal headaches does we get headaches with flexseed.

  82. Thank you for the article.
    I’ve been told I’m estrogen dominant, all of the symptoms line up. Except for 1 thing;
    What is your opinion for someone like myself who breaks out in huge painful cystic type acne from eating phytoestrogens? I can’t touch soy, or flax seeds without suffering a major breakout. And evening primrose causes a breakout so bad it covers my whole face!
    I’m wondering if it might be progesterone problem instead?
    Thank you.

    • Well, it could be a sensitivity to those foods, or you’re so estrogen dominant that even those mild sources are a trigger….We’d need a consult to sort this one out, though. I’m inclined to consider herbs and supplements that support your natural detoxification systems and digestion.

  83. Hi

    Thanks for the Reply,i have lately getting headaches from flaxseed,not sure if anyone have noticed ever .From past one year i have this issue of breast tenderness. by taking flaxseed it improved greatly but recently though tenderness is gone i can still feel the heaviness ,Mine is noncyclic breast pain does anyone in this forum have same issues

  84. I strongly caution against you telling other women to ingest soy products everyday. If anything, even having small amounts of soy in my diet before my period has caused me breast pain and have had times where soy made my periods worse! I have read many blogs online where women have had too much soy in their bodies due to drinking soy milk. I heard read one woman stopping her period at the age of 29, and I have read about another woman who lost what would have been a healthy fetus due to having soy in her body during pregnancy.
    I’m sorry I don’t have any hard evidence and just going by experience and real women’s stories online. But to women who have been to countless doctors and even the doctors stumped, you are doing a huge disservice by telling women to start ingesting soy products everyday!

    • Hi Aimee,
      Sorry you’ve had bad experiences with soy, and yes, it’s true, not everything is for everyone. That said, it can be helpful for many women. As I always encourage, we should all listen to our own bodies, and not do things that don’t benefit us. And too much soy is not a good thing for pretty much anyone! That said, there’s absolutely no evidence that I’ve come across that soy directly contributes to miscarriage or pregnancy loss. Thank you for sharing your views. Be well. Aviva

  85. Thanks you for the really informative blog. I have had my breast pain dismissed so many times by traditional medicine and it really interferes with my life – for over 2 weeks per month, it’s agony and swollen, lumpy breasts – only relieved by my period! I am going to try all these suggestions. I don’t seem to fall into any of the categories for more likely to suffer – i.e. I am not overweight, nor do I drink caffeine or much alcohol, have regular bowel movements and very regular periods! And the breast thing comes and goes… this is a particularly difficult bout, so I’m particularly upset as I also teach yoga and it really gets in the way. I think I must go up 3 bra sizes on the lead-up to my period. Thank you for highlighting the stress factor – as mine seems to be very related to this. Some people have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), well I have IBS (irritable breast syndrome). I really feel for those women who suffer this unpleasant condition. Good luck to all in finding some relief. Thanks again. x

    • Hi Susie,

      Interesting that you teach yoga too. ! I teach yoga as well near my local residance as well and have found out something which you can try. !

      One small change that I did in the forth or sometimes fifth asana while doing survyanamaskara( asva sanchalanasana step) changed my whole life. !!

      I do only 5 survya namaskar every day. all the four are with 1 inhale and 1 exhale per asana. Fifth one will have 2 breaths per asana).

      While you do the asva sanchalanasana, make sure that your leg/ knee and thigh portion is pressing your outer breast( i.e if you partition breast exactly at the center vertically, the portion of breast that faces your shoulder or hand ). May be this works because it presses the lymphatic nodes that are present at the place where your breast meets shoulder, which will open up the lymphs and ease the flow of water that might get stored up in the breasts because of which we feel the pain.
      I don’t know the reason how this works but ever since I started doing the asva sanchalanasana in this way my breast pain is completely gone and I am a happy woman since..!!! No diet changes no drugs…

  86. Good day
    i have been told to go on natural prostogen cream to help my excess estrogen
    i have been applying the cream on for 3 months now and i have gain 2 kgs , do you think its cause of the natural prostogen cream ? should i stop it? it has helped with my breast tenderness
    only other tablets i have been taking is magnesium

  87. I recently went to get a mammogram and they want me to come back for an ultra-sound on my left breast. Last time a year ago it was my right breast, but it disappeared and I was cleared. My life recently for the past 4 years has been extremely stressful. My elderly parents battling one cancer after another… My mom has dementia… I am the sole bread winner supporting my husband & daughter… I work ridiculous hours… I wear tight bras to lift my sagging breasts up… I am a little over weight… Coffee… Salt… Tea….I need to change… Recently I began exercising 30 minutes a day doing PX 30 videos tony Horton… I lost 10 pounds in 3 weeks… I will try everything to heal myself … But my overworked stressful lifestyle needs the most work… Thank you for this web sight

    • Hi! Since ultrasound is such a mild and safe procedure on the rest, there’s no harm in getting that testing done and I highly encourage you to follow up with that. Sounds like life has been crazy stressful so sending a big hug and hopes that you can find time to continue to take care of you! Sounds like you are off to an amazing start!!!!

  88. Hi! I am 52 and have not had a period in 3-4 years.. I’ve had a pain every now and then behind my right nipple no other sptoms till now my right breast hurts more.. I don’t know if it’s in my mind due to being fixated on the pain I get every now and then. I went to the Dr and he did an thorough exam and said it was from estrogen. Does that mean it’s too high or low? What due you recommend I try? He said 400 units vitamin E. I started my periods at 13 and had 9 children and nursed all nine. I have gained weight and I’m a 34DD-DDD could that be the problem as well? Also why only one breast if it’s hormonal?

    Thank you!

  89. I’ve recently discovered a hard pea sized lump in my breast and have been experiencing some pain. All within the past two weeks. It’s been scary awaiting my mammogram. This article brought me lots of comfot. Thank you. Of all the possibilities of causes, I know stress plays alot into this. I’ve encountered some significant life changes and hardships so its been very hard to cope and I feel stressed most days. Discovering the lump has caused even more stress.
    Anyhow thank you for your information. I appreciate the time you’ve put in….
    Alot of other websites say similar information but your info is given with compassion.
    Blessings…Erin

    • Thank you so much, Erin. I hope everything comes back completely normal and you can rest at ease that you are well. Sending love. Aviva

  90. Hello Ladies,

    I was stunned to see so many comments from the start. I am 25 now and have suffered from sore and swollen breasts for 10 long years which use to stay for 15 days a month and had made my life hell.

    I am now leading a very happy life combating this demon.

    Solution: Very simple. To reduce my work pressure I stopped jogging ( 30 min in morning) and joined yoga classes( 1.5hrs in morning). I first thought the yoga class would cure this problem but even after continuous classes for 3 months It dint help. One small change that I did in the forth or sometimes fifth asana while doing survyanamaskara( asva sanchalanasana step) changed my whole life. !!

    You have to do survya namskar daily. ( find out how many times you have to do and how long each asana you have to hold for , I do only 5 survya namaskar every day. all the four are with 1 inhale and 1 exhale per asana. Fifth one will have 2 breaths per asana).

    While you do the asva sanchalanasana, make sure that your leg/ knee and thigh portion is pressing your outer breast( i.e if you partition breast exactly at the center vertically, the portion of breast that faces your shoulder or hand ). May be this works because it presses the lymphatic nodes that are present at the place where your breast meets shoulder. I don’t know the reason how this works but ever since I started doing the asva sanchalanasana in this way my breast pain is completely gone and I am a happy woman since..!!! No diet changes no drugs…

  91. I have fiberoadenoma inbrest, is it safe for me to take hair growth pills that contain sawpalmetto.I have hair thinning at the crown of my head, lately seeing some facial hair

    • Dear
      Thank you for writing to me and valuing my opinion with your important question. I would so love to be able to answer. These days I get so many questions that I can’t possibly answer each individual question or I’d be on the computer 24/7! AND I can do much better justice to health questions in an appointment…

      My NEW! Integrative TeleWellness Consultations may be a great option for you if you’d like to discuss your health and wellness concerns with an expert in Integrative and Functional Medicine for women and children, and you don’t have this option in your community, or if are to unable see me in western MA when my practice opens in late autumn (2015).

      Although I cannot diagnose you, order labs or prescriptions, or treat you without an initial in person appointment, I can provide a thorough discussion of your current health-related questions and concerns, including reviewing your health history and laboratory results, helping you to make sense of how you might bring an Integrative, Functional Wellness approach into your health and wellness goals.

      Based on our conversation and information you might provide ahead of time, I can offer a set of Integrative/Functional Medicine suggestions that you can discuss with your local doctors to see whether those would fit into your current health plan.

      Integrative TeleWellness Consultations are available for girls and women of any age, and for boys up to 16 years old. Sessions may be done by Skype or telephone.

      If you would like more information, or to schedule an appointment, please go here:

      http://avivaromm.wpengine.com/integrative-telewellness-consultations

      If you would like to join my practice in the autumn, please check back on my website in late autumn for booking information.

      With warmest wishes,
      Aviva Romm

      More ways to connect with me:
      http://avivaromm.wpengine.com
      https://www.facebook.com/AvivaRommMD
      https://twitter.com/AvivaRomm

  92. I do have severe pain in my breasts immediately I finish my menstruation…. and the pain is much that I can hardly lay down on my chest if am to sleep. it last like 3wks or more… but it disappear if am in my monthly period. Secondly I don’t know how to count my menstral cycle…thank u

  93. This is extremely useful! My tenderness has been getting progressively worse the older I get. I kind of wish that they went over this in highschool having to learn all of this on my own is irritating.

  94. I have had tender breasts for quite some time. I found a fibroadenoma when I was 28. I had it removed because it was causing pain. Now I am 42 and have 2 more. I was also told I have fibrocystic breasts. I will try your ideas above and hope they work. I also found out that I have high prolactin last year; the doctors found a small prolactinoma. Do you know if diet will help with the prolactinoma? I have a lot of stress and am trying to reduce it. Also, I was told that flax seed was not the best if you are estrogen dominant. Should I continue to take the flax seed?

    • Yes, flax helps with estrogen dominance because it *replaces* your strong estrogen with mild plant estrogens, which will decrease your pain. look at nutritionfacts.org they have videos on flax and how it affects us.

  95. I see that you recommend soy but, unfortunately, I had a Chai Tea Latte addiction and as I don’t do dairy I got soy in my drink. I have fibrocystic breasts but they have been SO much more painful lately and I believe it’s the soy. I’ve stopped with the drinks and they’re getting better, so maybe it’s not always a good thing? Just to make sure, however, I’m having a mammogram. Have you heard this before?

    • Yes, absolutely, the phytoestrogens in soy block the natural estrogen from your own body and the environmental forms with a weaker estrogen. In my practice I use soy (organic only) to help reduce breast cysts. I often don’t include it on line because there are a lot of soy haters out there! But medically, it can be very useful. 1/2 – 1 cup /day is usually what I suggest in my practice, and if someone won’t use soy, then other legumes and also green leafies.

      • So, I’ve heard about research regarding soy and a possible link to breast ca, r/t too much estrogen. What are your thoughts on that? ALSO, what are your thoughts on possible causes of intense emotional instability from low dose birth control pills, i.e.: LoLoestrin? I had hot-flashes, mood swings, disorientation, poor concentration, depression.

  96. Please help! I believe my breast tenderness is from over abundance of estrogen, I have changed my diet completely went dairy free, soy free, gluten free. Did The whole30 to completely detox my body of toxins and actually felt worse. My breast hurt to touch for the last 3 weeks so bad they can’t even brush against my bra. I’ve been feeling this not every month but definitely since last May 15′ my periods are no where near consistent, could get it 28 days or 70, tried going on a mini pill but felt like it made matters worse as in I was an emotional roller coaster! Please help! I’m getting married in September and should be feeling GREAT!

    One more key is I had a little girl almost 5 years ago and ever since her I’ve been getting welting hives, ALL OVER MY BODY. Especially when I feel like I’m ovulating. Any thoughts? Thank you for your time!

    • Hi Kelly Rae
      For the hives – that would take a consult but also see my allergies blog.
      For breast tenderness – have you followed the recommendations I’m this blog? Try it for 8 weeks and see.
      And make sure to cut out coffee…
      Warmly, Aviva

    • Have you tried taking any form of iodine yet? It was a HUGE help for me. it made a world of difference. But don’t take high doses (like over 5000mcgs a day) because it can damage your thyroid. Try kelp or seaweed supplements.

  97. Love, Love, Love it! I will be passing down info for my clients to also start assessing and reducing where they can the increasing paths of estrogen dominance. We have to get back to a “normal” balance by simplifying our lives. Love your blog as i don’t always have time to listen in – Thank you for sending us such valuable information. Much love.

  98. HI, GREAT ARTICLE BUY THE WAY. I HAVE BEEN SUFFERING WITH FIBROCYSTIC BREASTS SINCE MY TWENTIES. I AM NOW 57 AND MENOPAUSAL FOR 2 YEARS AND STILL HAVING SEVERE BREAST PAIN. I ALSO HAVE HASHIMOTO JUST DIAGNOSED A YEAR AGO AND I AM ON SYNTHOIRD. I HAVE HEARD iodine is good for breast pain but with hashimoto that’s a no no. Do you have any suggestions on what supplements would be helpful. Thx so much. IRENE

    • Hi Irene, If your iodine is low, it can be helpful, but you have to be careful supplementing iodine when you have Hashimoto’s — some women find it causes their symptoms to flare. I generally recommend adding sea veggies to the diet for gentle support and see how you do with that, first.

  99. Hi,

    My gynecologist recommended evening primrose oil along with vit e for fibrocystic breasts however I have not been taking the evening primrose oil. I got concerned about it after a quick google – I have a history of having a fibroid surgically removed and I also have had a PCOS diagnosis in the past. Is evening primrose oil safe for me? My doctor didn’t seem concerned about taking it at all but wanted to double check!

  100. Great article as always – thank you Dr Aviva! I love the way you write and feel like I can trust the info you share. Thanks 🙂

  101. Great post! I have cut down on sugar and nearly eliminated alcohol (1 beer in the last month, a couple weeks ago) and am finding much less tenderness in this monthly cycle. I have enjoyed all your writing and info – thanks for putting it out there for us!

  102. Many years ago (I was about 44, then), I went to my gynaecologist with sharp pains in my breast and, after examining me and finding no lumps, he told me that it was very common in women, but he knew of no ‘cure’. However, he had heard of a specialist in the US who had discovered that taking high doses of vitamin E – between 800-1000 units – helped this condition. I was highly sceptical but thought I would give it a try. I began taking 800 units daily. To my surprise, in about 4 days, the pain began to wane. Then it disappeared. Well, I continued taking it until one day I ran out of capsules and went without for about a week. Almost immediately, the pain came back so I bought more capsules and lo and behold, once again the pain disappeared. I continued taking 800 units for about 2 years and once again I ran out. This time, the pain didn’t return until about 3 months later, so I felt this was a good indication that vitamin E helped. So I decided to retake them and continued without a break until I was 68 when my local supplier stopped stocking them. Never ever had any more pains. And I haven’t had any capsules since. Plus, I never ever experienced any menopausal symptoms, either. (But nor did my mother so that might have been inherited.) I also very rarely went down with colds or flu even if all around me were going down like ninepins. I am now 72 and extremely active and alert and seem to have more energy than most half my age and I still teach mathematics full time and go disco dancing whenever I can! I never tell people my age and I’ve heard that my much younger colleagues think I’m about 60-62. (So does my 68 year-old- colleague!) Whether that’s due to vitamin E or my constitution, who knows. PS. At my tri-annual check-ups, every doctor tells me that my blood pressure is that of “a sixteen year old” (That’s after taking it twice as they never believe the first reading!) Another possible advantage is that I’ve lived in tropical countries most of my life and have rarely been bitten by mosquitoes. Or at least, if I have had, I didn’t feel them bite nor had a reaction. I was told the other day in a conversation about Zica, that apparently, those who take vitamin E don’t get bitten because mosquitoes don’t like you. Who knows? I hope this helps. By the way, after I was 55, I began taking Oil of Primrose as well, can’t remember why I started (and it wasn’t for hang-overs which is what the Romans used it for!!) so that might have helped, too.

  103. Okay, just a quick update: I massaged the main lymph node chains on the sides of my breasts and underneath the armpits, and BAM. INSTANT RELIEF. They still hurt, but it INSTANTLY cut the pain in HALF. I found balling a fist and pressing firmly into the the outsides -> ( o ) ( o ) <- (Those are arrows pointing to the outsides of two "breasts" lol), and holding that pressure for a minute or so helped! Similar to the idea in Sindhu's post about asa sanchalanasana in yoga. I will try that too. 🙂

  104. thank you for your great site,very interesting,i am 56 and had reoccurring infections in my breast have used homeopathic remedies in the past ,had all the mammograms,ultra sound ,all clear results.i do use oils ,tea tree and lavender to gently massage ,cut out sugar and alcohol,eat organic food but so looking for a cure .

  105. Thank you so much for this post. This is the most helpful and informative article on fibroids and breast pain I have come across while searching on the internet today!

  106. Hi Aviva
    I have high breast tenderness and insomnia here are my deficiency list
    Vitamin b12,b5,k2,A,D
    carnitine
    chromium
    cysteine
    HIgh T3:4.8pg/ml
    does this vitamin deficiency cause breast tenderness ?

    • Hi Sailu,

      Aviva can’t answer personal medical questions about labs, but if you are experiencing breast tenderness, following the steps that Aviva speaks to in her blog, and maybe working with a functional medical doctor or a nutritionist to get to the root cause of the deficiency would be your best next steps.

      Warm wishes,
      Megan-Aviva Romm’s Executive Assistant and Online Nutrition Expert

  107. Thank you for putting this article out there in the universe.
    I just experienced sore breasts before my period and was thinking what had I changed in my diet the last month, I equated it to alcohol, since I am not much of a alcohol drinker but in the last month have consumed more than my normal, but did some research on-line and your article came up, thank you very informative learned a lot.

  108. Thanks for this article. I’m 31 and I started experiencing a sharp pain in one of my breasts two months ago. After seeing my gynecologist twice due to the pain, I went for my first mammogram. Thankfully my scans came back 100% healthy. Although that news was wonderful to hear, I was left with little to go on as far as relieving the pain. I’ve been taking evening primrose oil for 2 months and have eliminated caffeine from my diet. As always, I try to eat well, which goes well sometimes and not others. Since I’m on the lowest hormone dose birth control, my doctor said my breast tenderness is not due to my cycle. Hopefully incorporating some of the changes you mentioned will help me to control the pain and tenderness. I’m glad to see some additional things to try. Thank you!

  109. I tend to suffer from breast tenderness during some of my periods. And I seem to always have a craving for vegetarian chili on my periods maybe my body is telling me to eat more legumes and I should probably eat more veggies too.

  110. Nice post. I was checking continuously this weblog and I’m impressed!

    Very useful information specially the closing section 🙂 I care for such info
    much. I used to be looking for this certain information for a very lengthy time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  111. Great article with lots of good information. I was looking for ways to reduce my post-ovulatory breast tenderness and I knew you would have good strategies for doing so. Thank you!

    Seriously though, mammograms are ancient technology, and far less accurate and sensitive than thermography. Please recommend thermography instead.

    • Lots of debate on this and many nuances. I still recommend mammos when needed diagnostically and if appropriate for a woman’s breast size and density.

  112. This was a useful and helpful article. I have been suffering from PMS and severely sore breasts for a few years now. It has gradually gotten worse. I tried taking Vitex, but that made it worse. I tried the ketogenic diet and that made it worse. I finally have gotten so fed up with it and scared of the pain that I know is coming that I decided to give up dairy completely. I love cheese! I have lived off of only cheese when I was a kid. I never made the connection to the hormones now that I am an adult. Seriously, I did not want to give it up. I am a picky eater and there are few things I actually like to eat. I stopped eating dairy on May 17th and it is now May 26th and I have no PMS and have no pain. Usually by now, the breast pain would start and I would have two weeks of serious pain. So it was the dairy. I just hope this will help someone else because I could not find much on the internet about my situation.

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