Along with morning sickness, missing a period and having tender breasts are classic signs of pregnancy.1 Yet, it is possible for women who suffer from these symptoms to not be pregnant, and there is a variety of potential causes that could be behind both.
Continue reading to find out why one might have breast tenderness and missed periods while not pregnant as well as how to deal with both symptoms quickly and effectively.
Common Causes of Missed Periods and Tender Breasts
Because a woman's menstrual cycle is guided by hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone, when their levels fluctuate, periods often become less frequent or missed altogether.
Similarly, cyclical breast tenderness - which is the most common type of breast pain - generally appears during times of hormonal fluctuations throughout the month as well as a woman's reproductive stages.
The most common phase in a woman's life when breast tenderness and missed periods while not pregnant can appear due to hormonal shifts is perimenopause.2
Missed periods and breast tenderness may also be caused by other, less common causes, including:
Thyroid conditions. Uncontrolled thyroid disease can halt periods, while causing tender or painful breasts.
Excessive exercise. Intense exercise causes the release of stress hormones in the body, which interferes with the production of reproductive hormones.
Stress. High stress levels can interfere with progesterone production, thus lowering its levels and having an impact on the menstrual cycle.
Hormonal contraception. Birth control pills, implants, patches, injections, and more are often linked to breast tenderness within the first few weeks of use.
Fibrocystic breasts. Changes in breast tissue that often occur during a woman's reproductive years are commonly associated with breast tenderness.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This endocrine system disorder can be responsible for missed periods and breast tenderness as well.
Managing Missed Periods and Breast Tenderness
Following some simple lifestyle tips can alleviate the symptoms and balance hormone levels:
Consume foods rich in phytoestrogens. Loading up on estrogen-boosting foods, like soy, flaxseed, oats, and legume, can help balance hormones and relive pesky symptoms.
Monitor your nutrient intake. Ensure proper amounts of calcium, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet as these are important for hormone regulation.
Reduce stress. Partake in relaxation techniques like yoga, tai chi, or meditation to reduce the negative effects of accumulated stress on the menstrual cycle and breast health.
Apply warm compresses. Using warm pads or compresses on top of each breast at night can gently ease breast pain.
Wear proper bra. Purchasing a comfortable and supportive bra for breast pain can help women deal with pain or tenderness with more ease.
Consider herbal supplements. There are two types of herbal supplements worth considering: phytoestrogenic supplements, like red clover, or hormone-balancing supplements, like Macafem, which nourish the endocrine glands from within to regulate periods and relieve breast tenderness.
Although there is a variety of potential causes for women having breast tenderness and missed periods while not pregnant, the most probable one relates to hormonal imbalance during menopause. However, just because it is a natural part of women's life, it does not mean they have to accept it without seeking relief. Click on the following link to learn more about effective breast pain treatments that focus on restoring hormonal equilibrium and a symptom-free life!
- ACOG. (2018). The Menopause Years. Retrieved February 3, 2020 from https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/The-Menopause-Years?IsMobileSet=false
- Medline Plus. (2020). Absent menstrual periods- secondary. Retrieved February 27, 2019 from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001219.htm
- NHS. (2017). Stopped or missed periods. Retrieved February 27, 2019 from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stopped-or-missed-periods/
- USC Fertility. (n.d.). 5 Things You Need to Know About Exercise-Induced Amenorrhea. Retrieved February 27, 2019 from https://uscfertility.org/5-things-need-know-exercise-induced-amenorrhea/
- Mayo Clinic. (2019). Symptoms of pregnancy: What happens first. Retrieved February 3, 2020 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/symptoms-of-pregnancy/art-20043853
- Jean Hailes for Women's Health. (2017). Perimenopause: how to manage the change before 'The Change.' Retrieved February 3, 2020 from https://jeanhailes.org.au/news/perimenopause-how-to-manage-the-change-before-the-change