Menopause & sore breasts

Updated November 21, 2016

If a woman is experiencing shifts and fluctuations in hormones, which occurs during menopause, she may experience breast pain. Breast soreness, sensitivity and even swelling are one of the symptoms of menopause. If your breast soreness only occurs sporadically, this is considered cyclic pain. Remember how your breasts hurt when you first went through puberty? Menopause is a later-in-life version of that, but instead of starting your reproductive life you are ending it.


The Mayo Clinic notes that medical researchers haven't pinpointed the precise hormone abnormality that is responsible for cyclic breast pain, but most women experience it. Hormones make the glandular tissues in your breast swell. When your breasts enlarge, the fibrous tissues are stretched. When tissues are stretched, this can result in tenderness and soreness, according to Hormones are in full-throttle during peri-menopause and menopause, so you may experience even more severe breast soreness than you did when going through puberty or the first few months of pregnancy.


Erratic hormones, which are common in peri-menopausal and menopausal women, can cause lumpy, tender, noncancerous cysts to develop. These cysts are filled with fluid. If you are still menstruating, even if only sporadically, you may notice the lumps and the soreness more right before your menstrual period

Water Retention

Menopausal women tend to retain fluid, which is another outcome of hormonal fluctuations. Water retention can make breasts bigger and sorer. Some women report that this problem gets much worse during menopause; others report that it becomes less problematic. Dr. John Lee explains that too much oestrogen and insufficient amounts of progesterone can result in fibrocystic breasts. Lee suggests taking vitamin E and vitamin B6 to prevent breast tenderness, and he also recommends using natural progesterone.


Some medications, such as antidepressants Zoloft and Prozac, will make your breasts sore. If you are undergoing hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, this may cause breast sensitivity because you are introducing progesterone and oestrogen into your body. Oestrogen increases breast tissue, whereas progesterone causes water retention and the stretching of breast tissue and the resultant soreness.

Oestrogen Levels

If your oestrogen levels are skyrocketing during peri-menopause as you head for menopause, this is considered oestrogen dominance or overload and can really make your breasts sore. Make sure that you are wearing a brassiere that gives you good support. Some find relief by cutting back on caffeine, which also seems to help when it comes to preventing lumpy, fibrocystic breasts. Coffee, colas and tea contain methyl xanthines, which can cause breast tenderness, according to

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About the Author

Cindi Pearce is a graduate of Ohio University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She completed both the undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the Institute of Children’s Literature. Pearce has been writing professionally for over 30 years.