Why are my boobs sore before my period?

It’s often quite a discomfort for some women having tender, sore, swollen boobs before their period. It is definitely something you don’t need to put up with. Your body is trying to tell you something, so try not to shoot the messenger. Let’s talk about some reasons why this is happening to you, what you can do and what it means for your hormones and fertility.


For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Michelle Cooke, Period & Hormone Naturopath. I am the Founder & Director of Reproductive Wellness, a clinic located in Melbourne. I see patients online & face-to-face. 


Do you get sore boobs before your period? It’s the worst and all of a sudden your partner thinks ‘Oh wow, a new play thing’ and goes to reach for them, gives them a squeeze and you absolutely hit the roof. And that is it booty call finished, booty call is over, the party is over and nothing is going to eventuate out of that.

Why is it happening?

1. Progesterone deficiency

Low progesterone can occur due to:



  • Lack of ovulation

When we ovulate an egg is released from a little sac that surrounds the egg and is left behind it is called the corpus luteum. This is then responsible for producing progesterone. It plays a huge role post ovulation in progesterone production. If there is no ovulation, there is no corpus luteum and therefore no progesterone.



  • Low vitamin B6

    This can result in low progesterone as well

  • High Oestrogen

    Oestrogen and progesterone have to be a certain balance in relative proportions. So if there is high oestrogen this will generally mean that progesterone is going to be too low.

  • Stress

    When you are stressed the body uses the hormone pregnenolone to make cortisol to help you adapt to stress. This is known as the pregnenolone steal. Pregnenolone is also used to make progesterone. But only one pathway can be in operation at one time. So if your body is busy making cortisol which is a protective mechanism from danger, it is not an important time to be making progesterone for reproductive health and reproducing. So that pathway will be shut off.

What can you do to support healthy progesterone levels?

a) Foods – These contain B6 and B vitamins in general:

*Legumes (things like chickpeas, kidney beans, borlotti beans, lentils etc.)

*Leafy greens – spinach, kale, rocket, baby spinach, silverbeet etc.


*Nuts and seeds

*Fish and chicken

b) Lifestyle hack – Things to promote relaxation:

This will be important because otherwise if you are stressed your body will steal pregnenolone to make cortisol and then you won’t be able to produce progesterone as a result. You can only do one pathway at one time.



*Quiet stroll in nature

*Sitting down in reflection and journaling

*Nice hot bath with Epsom salts and essential oils (and candles of course 😉)

*Making yourself a nice cup of tea

Whatever it looks like for you, self-care and time out for you.


 2. Oestrogen dominance

This happens when there is too much oestrogen in the body or relative to progesterone it’s too high. If oestrogen is too high that will cause low progesterone levels and that can cause sore boobs. Important to have a stable balance between oestrogen and progesterone.

Make sure that you are supporting healthy detoxification of oestrogen from the body. Normally your body will use oestrogen and do what it needs to do, your liver will break it down and then it will go into your bowels and then it will be excreted via you doing a poo. Making sure that you are doing a poo at least once a day is extremely important for oestrogen balance.

If you are not doing a poo at least once per day it is basically viewed as constipation, so you need to be going at least once per day. What happens is  there is no where for that oestrogen to go so maybe the liver did break properly and then it gets dumped in the bowels and it is waiting for a “woosh exit” but it is not happening. That means that your body will reabsorb that oestrogen back into the body. You can see why it is extremely important for your liver and your bowels to be operating properly to excrete the oestrogen out. Otherwise, there is no where for it to go.

In terms of promoting healthy oestrogen detoxification and clearance from the body do this:

*Include cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, Bok choy – mostly heated rather than raw otherwise it acts  as a goitrogen and it can slow down your thyroid function which is important for fertility and hormone balance. Lightly steamed or boiled (preferably the first option).

*Liver foods: lemon, grapefruit, garlic, green tea, leafy greens

*Fibre – vegetables & legumes (beans)

*Water (30ml per kg of body weight is the main aim to make sure that you are drinking enough) – cells need to by hydrated for detoxification to happen



 3. Iodine Deficiency

This is a huge factor, I see it in the clinic all too often. We do a urine test to check for iodine, I very rarely see this not being deficient. The most common reason is that they are not eating it in their diet.

Your ovaries, uterus, breast and endometrium (uterine lining) need an abundance of iodine to function properly. Iodine is an antioxidant for the breast and is very protective. It can also be good if you are experiencing fibrocystic breasts or lumpy breasts. That can be an iodine deficiency as well.

Iodine is needed for:

  1. Ovulation to happen

  2. Progesterone production – if you don’t have enough iodine you are not going to be ovulation and if you are not ovulating you don’t have the corpus luteum producing progesterone

  3. Oestrogen metabolism – clearing excess oestrogen out of the body

  4. Thyroid hormones – crucial to make them. Needs iodine to make T4 (inactive hormone) body converts T4 to T3 (that is the active form your body needs to do things with).

I was reading some research before I came on today which revealed that there is a 46% lower odds of becoming pregnant, if you are iodine deficient. It is so crucial not only for fertility but also for your hormone balance as well regardless of whether you are trying to conceive or not.



You need to make sure that you are eating these iodine containing foods:

*Seafood – Fish like mackerel, sardines, salmon, herring

* Sea vegetables – Nori, wakame, arame, dulse – pop into soups, stews, casseroles, stir fry

*Seaweed snacks – nori sheets that are flavoured (Ceres Organics make some good ones)

You need to be eating something that contains iodine daily.

Note: Don’t go on iodine supplement unless you know you need it. Get a urinary iodine test done first to establish whether you are deficient. In the case of hyperthyroidism, when your thyroid is over functioning. Sometimes there can be an iodine excess, not always but sometimes and this can drive the thyroid into overdrive. If you have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis – is a condition where you have to go low and slow with iodine if required. Some patients will need iodine in that case, but it needs to topped up in a certain way so that you still protect the thyroid gland. I would suggest getting it assessed by a hormone and fertility Naturopath (like myself) to establish whether you are iodine deficient or not and how much you would need to take and whether you need other cofactors as well.



Also please note vitamin B6: don’t take the supplement of Vitamin B6 on it’s own because it will upset the balance of all the other B vitamins as well. You should actually take a B complex with all the B’s and then take vitamin B6 with it as well at the same time, so you are not pushing them out of balance.

Need help with your PMS symptoms? I would love to help you. I would like to invite you to a FREE discovery call. Click on the button below. 


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