This is why your boobs are so sore before your period

Some of us have had our periods for decades, but are still mystified about what’s going on down there and why. In the new HelloGiggles series “Period Talk,” we’ll ask gynecologists our biggest questions about all things period-related and finally get the answers to what is really going on . . because everyone should be up-to-date on that time of the month!

First up, we have a question about an uncomfortable monthly reminder that Aunt Flo is on her way: tender breasts! 

Q: Why do my boobs get sore before my period?

Ever notice some serious tenderness in your chest in the days before and during your period? Like, as if periods aren’t enough to deal with on their own, our boobs gotta get sore, too?


While some people get slightly sore breasts around their period, others have considerable pain just putting on a bra. According to Dr. Lee Shulman, OB/GYN in Chicago and professor of OB/GYN at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, it’s all because of iodine deficiency.

“A combination of changing levels of the hormones estrogen and prolactin and a relative deficiency in iodine cause premenstrual breast discomfort, including tenderness, aches, swelling, and heaviness,” he said. “Much like a vitamin C deficiency can lead to rickets or a calcium deficiency can lead to weak bones, an iodine deficiency can lead to fibrocystic breast changes, which cause sore boobs.”

To try and avoid the pain of sore boobs every month, nosh on iodine-rich sea vegetables, like kelp and seaweed, or take an iodine supplement. But if the pain is really bad, it’s going to take more than vitamins to help your twins. “If the pain is severe, this is not normal, and you should speak with your doctor,” board-certified gynecologist Dr. Felice Gersh of Integrative Medical Group of Irvine told us. And remember to tell your partner, paws off for the time being!

If you have a question for Period Talk, email [email protected] for your chance at getting an answer.

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