You know how PMS (pre-menstrual stress) goes – everyone is annoying, your lower back hurts, you are getting lower body cramps while your breasts feel heavy, sore and uncomfortable!
Developing breasts is one of the first signs of puberty. You may have noticed some of the girls at school have started to wear bras. If so, chances are your breasts are about to start developing too. Growing breasts can be really painful – especially if somebody bumps them or hugs you too hard! So what’s it all about?
PAINFUL BREASTS COULD BE PMS
Right before your period starts, your ovary makes two important hormones called oestrogen and then progesterone. Oestrogen is very influential on your breasts, because oestrogen prepares your breasts for a pregnancy and – when you are pregnant one day – it will prepare your breasts for breastfeeding. Right now you don’t need any of this stuff…but your body does not know that.
The confusing part is that sometimes your breasts feel great and they make you feel good about your new figure – even sexy! This usually happens about 14 days after the first day of your period, which means that your body is about to go through ‘ovulation’ or release an egg. This is when your oestrogen is max and your body also starts to produce progesterone. These hormones make your body feel WONDERFUL!
Then, when the egg is not fertilised (and dies), your body prepares for a period and your hormones go down, down, down and so does your mood, and your boobs feel sore and uncomfortable – until your period begins and the cycle starts all over again.
TENDER BREASTS COULD BE GROWING PAINS
When your breasts start to grow, they have to make space and push chest tissue outwards and this makes them painful. Sometimes it looks as though one is growing faster than the other! But don’t stress, this soon corrects itself.
Here’s what to look out for when your breasts start growing:
- Your nipple is the first to change. It gets swollen with tiny ‘pimples’ that are not pimples at all. These are little lubricating glands that will come in very useful when you breastfeed your baby one day. Don’t squeeze them!
- Your breast skin may feel itchy and irritated because it’s stretching. Try to find a moisturiser that has Vitamin E or Aloe Vera to help soothe the irritation.
- It’s important to wear a bra when your breasts need support during the day. You should not wear a bra at night. Padded bras are useful when you wear a T-shirt – they hide ‘nipple-stands’ or ‘jelly tots’.
Support and comfort is important, so get your mom or your bestie to come with you for a bra shopping spree. Always try the bra on before you buy it!
WHAT ELSE COULD BE MAKING YOUR BREASTS SORE?
Pregnancy changes the shape and size of your breasts. Women who are pregnant for the second time often know that they are pregnant even before taking a pregnancy test because they recognise the ‘pregnant’ feeling of their breasts. Breasts only start to make colostrum or ‘first milk’ from 6 months of a pregnancy (when a premature baby can survive), and early milk when her baby suckles for the first time.
If you don’t wear a bra, your breasts could feel uncomfortable and sore especially if you play sport. Make sure your bra is well-fitting and comfortable. It’s too loose if the straps keep slipping off your shoulder and too tight if it leaves red marks on your skin when you take it off.
WHEN IS BREAST PAIN SOMETHING SERIOUS?
Many young girls worry about breast cancer if their breasts are sore or if they feel a lump. Breast lumps at this age are NOT CANCER – they’re called a ‘fibroadenoma’ or ‘breast mouse’ because it moves (but it’s NOT a mouse). Don’t stress!
It should be checked by a doctor if it is worrying you, and it should be removed if it gets to be bigger than 4 centimetres. This could leave a very small scar – but that’s all! Besides, these don’t happen very often.
If you have been using contraceptives, if you had an abortion or if you feel a lump, you should see a doctor.
WHAT CAN BE DONE FOR SORE BREASTS?
A proper-fitting bra will help. There are a wide variety of bra types, materials and sizes, so find one that fits perfectly. Bras with under-wires should only be worn for special occasions – not all the time! The wire against the skin and breast can cause skin irritation.