During your menstrual period, estrogen and progesterone, the female reproductive hormones, are hard at work. Estrogen springs into action before a woman ovulates and progesterone levels rise around the time of ovulation. Progesterone causes water retention as it prepares the uterus for a possible pregnancy. This fluid can make your breasts sore and tender. The extra water weight stretches your breast tissue and this can be painful. Your nipples may be sore, too. Estrogen actually increases the amount of breast tissue so it, too, can cause larger breasts that are sensitive to the touch, according to Menopauselifestyle.com.
When a woman ovulates, an egg is released by a mature ovarian follicle. The follicle treks down the fallopian tube, finding its way to the uterus. The first stage of ovulation takes place beginning on the first day of a woman’s period and lasts until her next ovulation. This is referred to as the follicular phase. During this phase, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) are produced by the hypothalamus. These two hormones get the follicle ready and stimulate it so that it will release a mature egg. Once ovulation transpires, the process moves to the luteal phase, which goes on until menstruation occurs. Ovulation generally occurs exactly in the middle of a woman’s menstrual cycle although it can vary from woman to woman. In addition to experiencing breast soreness during ovulation, some women feel a pain in the area of the ovary. This is called mittelshmerz.
Estrogen and Progesterone
If you become pregnant, estrogen and progesterone levels will continue to rise, which means that your breast soreness will get worse. Home-remedies-for-you.com explains it further: If, during ovulation, conception takes place, the woman’s body releases hCG, which is human chorionic gonaotropin, a hormone that is only found in pregnant women. The woman’s body immediately begins to change, most noticeably her breasts, which start swelling and may become sore and tender.
Breast soreness is not at all unusual, according to Oasisserene.com, which notes that nearly 70 percent of women experience breast pain at one time or another. Breast pain is called mastalgia. Breast soreness can also include areas of thickness that have formed in the breasts; cysts, which are fluid-filled packets in the breasts; and lumpiness. This is called fibrocystic change. This change generally occurs right before the menstrual period starts.
Location of Pain and What It Means
If your breast pain is on the sides of your breasts, this indicates that ovulation has occurred, according to Dr. Jerilynn Prior, a Canadian clinician, researcher and professor of endocrinology at the University of British Columbia. If the pain is in the front of the breasts or over the nipples, this indicates that estrogen dominance has occurred, which may mean the lack of ovulation. If a woman experiences pain both on the sides and in the front of her breasts, this can mean that ovulation occurred but an inadequate amount of progesterone was produced after ovulation so estrogen dominance is still occurring.
Breast soreness is the first sign of a pregnancy; however, that symptom will not show up until the woman has missed her period, which can occur approximately two weeks after ovulation and conception. Breast soreness, aside from a pregnancy, can and does happen during ovulation for some women. In addition to soreness, the breasts may enlarge and nodules can appear, making the breasts feel lumpy.