What the Yuck: Should my breasts get bigger during PMS?
January 28th, 2011
02:30 PM ET

What the Yuck: Should my breasts get bigger during PMS?

Too embarrassed to ask your doctor about sex, body quirks, or the latest celeb health fad? In a regular feature and a new book, "What the Yuck?!," Health magazine medical editor Dr. Roshini Raj tackles your most personal and provocative questions. Send 'em to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

Q: Is it normal for my boobs to get a whole cup-size bigger during PMS? It's such a dramatic change that I need two different sets of bras!

Yes, breast inflation is completely normal. During the premenstrual phase, we have higher levels of the hormones progesterone and prolactin, both of which can cause breast tissue to swell and milk glands to increase in size.

Plus, our bodies retain water during that premenstrual period. The change in boob size varies from woman to woman and sometimes from month to month. Some women won't notice much difference in their ta-tas, while others get a monthly (temporary) boob job.

Though you can't stop this hormonal process, there are things you can do to make your PMS breast makeover less pronounced. To keep water retention in check, cut back on your salt intake. Keep an eye out for hidden sodium in soup, vegetable juice, and fast food. If that doesn't help, water pills can help with the water retention.

If the change is dramatic and it really stresses you out, talk to your doctor about going on oral contraceptives. By regulating the hormonal fluctuation, the Pill can help keep you in one cup-size all month long.

Copyright Health Magazine 2011

soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. ummm

    HaHa– I am so disturbed by these posts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 28, 2011 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Edd

      What is the issue here, anything more than a handful is a waste ! !

      January 31, 2011 at 05:30 | Report abuse |
  2. Newyorker

    Too bad women get hotter just when they are about to have their periods. Not fair.

    January 28, 2011 at 16:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Valerie

      Right. Because we are all just here to please YOU.


      January 28, 2011 at 16:56 | Report abuse |
    • LEB

      Know what's even more unfair? Having those inflated boobs HURTS. Even walking up and down stairs is painful. I have to routinely explain to my husband that no, a "boob massage" does not help.

      January 28, 2011 at 23:20 | Report abuse |
    • JCizzle

      They ought to compensate for this unfairness by maybe cooking or cleaning more.

      January 29, 2011 at 02:36 | Report abuse |
    • Kat77

      I have also had to explain to my husband that a boob massage doesn't help. However, if he could just wait a few days, I would love one!

      January 29, 2011 at 12:40 | Report abuse |
    • C

      Hah, my significant other likes my breasts any size. Not sure if it's just that they are that great or if he's just wonderful?

      January 30, 2011 at 18:13 | Report abuse |
  3. Newyorker

    The posts here are ROTFL funny! Holy k-rap.

    January 28, 2011 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Thoughtful

    No need for the pill. Just eat more calcium- 2 to 3 servings a day of milk, yogurt, cheese. The trick is, in my experience, I can't miss more than a single meal's worth of calcium all month long, or I'll have the boob job effect at the end of the month. Helps with cramps, too.

    January 28, 2011 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ringo

      More calcium, less caffeine (including chocolate :-( )

      January 29, 2011 at 18:57 | Report abuse |
  5. meh

    Imagine if it was your buttcheeks instead.

    January 28, 2011 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SkekLach

      No, that one doesn't happen until marriage.

      January 31, 2011 at 08:43 | Report abuse |
  6. evoc

    Stupid headline "Would PMS make my boobs bigger?", or what? If I allowed myself to have it? If I got a prescription to get it?
    Who writes this stuff... -_-

    January 28, 2011 at 18:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. cHRIS

    I cant take this doctor seriously especially when she keeps referring to it as "boob"

    January 28, 2011 at 18:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark

      or ta-tas! Nice "scientific" name :(

      January 29, 2011 at 14:35 | Report abuse |
    • @justsomeguy

      Agree. It is so m0r0nic as to be distracting from the facts.

      January 29, 2011 at 15:34 | Report abuse |
    • scmaize

      Couldn't agree more! It is really offensive to have a doctor refer to "boobs" instead of breasts! Her editor should have intervened if the doctor is that unprofessional.

      January 29, 2011 at 18:40 | Report abuse |
    • Flora

      What's the big deal? It's probably just her trying to be humorous.

      January 30, 2011 at 11:32 | Report abuse |
    • Doctor Is Right

      The doctor is using the term boob because that was the term the questioner used. That is a smart way of answering questions.

      As to ta-tas, well, that is the doc apparently trying to be funny. Nothing wrong with being lighthearted when answering a question some find embarrassing. Saw a bumper sticker that said "save the tatas". This is a light-hearted way of marketing something serious. It is an organization that is collecting money for breast cancer research. While it is not my taste, you can't deny they successful in collecting money for that cause.

      I never will understand why every time something is not someone's taste they have to get on a high horse and talk about people intervening and being greatly offended.

      January 30, 2011 at 17:05 | Report abuse |
  8. Michael

    So they get bigger during PMS, when they're the worst to be around?

    Thanks a lot God.

    January 28, 2011 at 19:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sarah

      You must take the bad with the good, Michael!

      January 29, 2011 at 08:05 | Report abuse |
    • G from Illinois

      No pun intended... Package deal!

      January 29, 2011 at 15:15 | Report abuse |
    • perfusion

      Well, when a guy swells up, he gets super stupid and we gals live with that on a daily basis. Only way we can keep him decent is to keep him deflated.

      January 29, 2011 at 17:55 | Report abuse |
  9. ladylady

    oh i am so glad i saw this. This happens to me, and its finally good to know i am not the only one!!

    January 28, 2011 at 23:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. whyknow

    My boobs got bigger just reading this, and I'm no woman.

    January 28, 2011 at 23:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. sam

    what? ooooh i get it. because 'yuck' rhymes with

    January 29, 2011 at 03:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. no way

    Did you seriously just suggest someone go on the pill, a daily hormone that is not without some risks and side effects, to prevent a minor inconvenience that is normal part of a woman's monthly cycle.

    January 29, 2011 at 10:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • perfusion

      No way: some women swell up like Goodyear and it's obvious, embarrassing and painful. For that subset of women, investigating hormonal control is reasonable. If the symptoms were a part of "normal menstrual swelling", they wouldn't need to do anything about it. Don't raz people for seeking alternatives when their situation is very different from yours. Do you like being told what to do by someone who has no idea what you experience?

      January 29, 2011 at 18:00 | Report abuse |
    • Emmaleah

      You have NO idea. When just getting dressed leaves you in tears, you can't put your arms down at your sides, can't use a computer keyboard because you can't get your arms close enough together, can't walk up and down stairs without suffering, need a whole other set of expensive brassieres, can't exercise, can't sleep through the night, can't hug anyone.... yeah, the Pill is TOTALLY worth it.

      January 30, 2011 at 20:10 | Report abuse |
    • JQR77

      People should also know that birth control can make your breasts permanently bigger (at least until you go off of it). I went from a D to DD after going on the pill. Talk about annoying!

      January 31, 2011 at 04:30 | Report abuse |
  13. Billy

    I love big boobs.

    January 29, 2011 at 10:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Billy

    Actually, I love any woman's boobs.

    January 29, 2011 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Jack


    Know what's even more unfair? Having those inflated boobs HURTS. Even walking up and down stairs is painful. I have to routinely explain to my husband that no, a "boob massage" does not help.

    Typical Woman, Always thinking about them self, I bet it helps your husband!

    January 29, 2011 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TJ

      From your derogatory sweeping generalization it sounds like you dislike women, Jack. Maybe instead of complaining about women, you should switch teams and try out men. ;)

      August 22, 2012 at 01:45 | Report abuse |
  16. ApeHanger

    Just cut 'em off and they won't ever cause any problems again. Guys won't be pesterin' you. From a guy's standpoint, it would be good because it would be one less thing for women to complain about.

    January 29, 2011 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • @justsomeguy

      I'm sure you would give any women plenty of other things to complain about. Yeah, we should cut off our boobs so you don't have to hear a complaint. Since you can't stand complaining, I will complain about your inane comment.

      January 29, 2011 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
    • TJ


      You sound a lot like Jack. Once again, if you really dislike women so much, why don't you just switch teams and date men? Who knows... maybe in time websites that discuss breast swelling won't be nearly as tantalizing to read as websites that talk about erectile dysfunction and other heal concerns for male genitalia.

      If "all women" just complain and irritate you, buddy up to one your male friends... if you know what I mean. ;)

      August 22, 2012 at 01:53 | Report abuse |
  17. joe guy

    Ok. I'm a guy who in a moment of weakness was curious about the heading. After reading the article I was informed. After reading the comments I was entertained. To all the gals with the humorous quotes and poetic refrains. I say "thank you".

    You are awesome.

    January 29, 2011 at 15:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. HolyBoobBatwoman

    This has been happening to me recently, and I was starting to worried that my husband and I might of had an 'accident' since the only time my breast have enlarged or were overly tender was when I was pregnant.

    While it is bothersome, taking birth control makes me horribly sick.

    January 29, 2011 at 16:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • perfusion

      Vasectomy baby! You won't be sick, he won't be sick, he'll be ready for action 1 week after the on-chair procedure, NO accidents and you two can fuk like rabbits anytime, anywhere! It's reversible as well for those who feel the need to overpopulate later.

      January 29, 2011 at 18:04 | Report abuse |
    • FirstResponder

      Hi – You need to TRULY understand the health risks of taking Birth Control pills. Please educate yourself! Once you learn the harmful side effects, you might think twice about taking them. Your body RUNS on hormones, and just from a common sense perspective, doesn't it seem likely that introducing some new foreign hormones that weren't made by your own body is going to mess something up somewhere?

      January 30, 2011 at 12:49 | Report abuse |
    • Emmaleah

      Definitely try the suggestions about vitamins and reducing salt. Other than that, you might be less ill if you had the Mirena IUD, which is a hormonal implant that releases a very small amount of hormone. In fact, blood tests rarely show any hormonal chemical residue, but the hormones that are released reach the proper tissues in the uterus and ovaries which in turn affect the brain and the hormone cycle. It's a delicate system, no need to use a hammer on it like the Pill if it affects you badly.

      January 30, 2011 at 20:14 | Report abuse |
  19. perfusion

    We have a head so we can easily decide to say no to people like you.

    January 29, 2011 at 18:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Perilous

    I thought the headline read "Should my breasts get bigger during PBS." As a result I was sincerely intrigued, but once I clicked the article I realized my mistake.

    I am disappoint.

    January 30, 2011 at 03:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. All Girl

    Well I am proud to be a BUSTY girl, there are issues with being a bust girl like breasts sweating, under wire pinching, and scratchy elastic in the darn bra. But I use a Pambra's bra liner to help out. Other then that sometimes blouses are hard to find. and you people crack me up..thanks for the laugh..

    January 30, 2011 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Flora

    It's nice to see someone addressing this issue. I'm a busty gal to begin with, but when it's almost time for my period, I'm likely to shoot up an extra cup size or more! As you can imagine bra shopping is next to impossible.

    January 30, 2011 at 11:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Caila

    They're the same hormones a woman's body regularly produces just synthetic versions. I know the risks but still take birth control. Without it, I periodically get cramps that make me so sick I can't even sit up. I rather take my chances than be sick as a dog for two to three days every few months.

    January 30, 2011 at 13:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NA

      Exactly. There are risks, potential side effects which is why while on the pill one should pay attention to one's body, but technically the hormones given are simply hormones used to "convince" the body it is/it might be pregnant.

      January 31, 2011 at 01:32 | Report abuse |
    • NA

      Also, there seems to be some health benefits, a reduction in ovarian, endometrial, and colorectal cancers, decreases the risks of anemia, helps reduce symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis and has other postive results as well. There's def good and bad potential results if using BCP.

      January 31, 2011 at 01:36 | Report abuse |
  24. keith1952

    I put up with my wife swelling and complaining for 30 years. Then came the time of the change and she quit swelling she just kept complaining all the time. Now that is over and she isn't very interested when I start swelling anymore. I would take the swelling and complaining back.

    I am kidding. My lovely wife and I have been together for 38 years. We have gone through everything that a couple can go through but the one thing that remained constant through two kids, good times, and bad times, we wanted to be together. I am glad I read this article because I learned something. Some of you women are pretty funny, you must have lucky partners.

    January 30, 2011 at 14:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RJ

      Congratulations! It's so rare to find couples married for that long anymore. I love to hear about those that are still going strong together after that many years! Keep it up, and God bless!

      October 1, 2011 at 11:22 | Report abuse |
    • ValerieL

      Your comment made my day!

      May 12, 2012 at 17:16 | Report abuse |
  25. eliz

    reading this article then all the posts has been the best laugh i've had in a while... lol... I just wanna know how i can get the pms boobs to stick around... i love having big boobies... makes the men around me all giddy :) lol

    January 30, 2011 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. sweet hot mama

    coffee seems to make it worse...

    January 30, 2011 at 15:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Michelle

    Big boobs aren't everything. When I was fat I had big boobs and I got some attention from men because of them, but not a lot. Then I lost weight. My boobs got smaller but now guys won't leave me alone. I'm not flat chested by any means (small C cup), but the DD's are gone forever. That's ok though because I think that guys prefer average sized women with average sized breasts and who have a very pretty face.

    January 30, 2011 at 16:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ROCK

      If you put out like Snooki does for me, it makes it even better. And that little broad loves to toss hers around.

      January 31, 2011 at 09:01 | Report abuse |
  28. samara lynn

    How irresponsible of an article to advise women to take artificial, potentialyl toxic contraceptives in order to combat a very natural side-effect of menstruation....!

    January 30, 2011 at 19:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NA

      It's pretty clear that that advice was given specifically for women with severe cases of swelling etc. I know women who have so much pain they can barely move, have tried "natural" remedies without results and had to use BCP.

      January 31, 2011 at 01:42 | Report abuse |
  29. mikeomd

    it call distension, which is a bad sign for thing to come.

    January 30, 2011 at 22:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. DFWDelia

    Depo Provera has been amazing for me. After I got a boob job when I was almost 18 the monthly swelling sometimes made it painful to do routine things. The shot keeps me from swelling at all and has also more or less made it so I don't ever have to deal with a period.

    January 31, 2011 at 00:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Dreamer

    I see the doctor gave info to make the ' PMS breast makeover less pronounced. ' but what about more pronounced?

    January 31, 2011 at 01:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. LiBra29

    I thought it was weird that the doctor suggested that the woman go on birth control to fix this problem. I'm no doctor, but won't going on the pill just make the woman's breasts bigger all days of the month until she stops taking it? Maybe that's better than having them get bigger one week out of the month. You can definitely go up a cup size or more from the pill; I went from a D to DD from it. Not fun, especially since I'm not overweight so no clothes fit me properly now.

    January 31, 2011 at 04:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. amanda

    Don't rag on the pill unless you have an MD. I took it from the time I was 11 until almost 21. I had such severe bleeding and cramping that I became anemic, my potassium dropped too low, and I couldn't function because of the pain. I got off of them because I wanted to lose weight and they always made me gain a few extra pounds. My bleeding has more or less regulated itself, but now I get the bigger boobs at that time of the month. It almost makes the few extra pounds worth it. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one that suffers through this. But seriously people, don't talk about something unless you're fully informed, otherwise you're just spreading ignorance.

    January 31, 2011 at 06:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Red

    ILBT's from Joe Walsh – go look it up and listen to it if possible

    January 31, 2011 at 08:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. jenni

    Lol. These comments mildly entertaining. Anyways. So, boobs get bigger during PMS... I'm 25, started "PMSing" at 11... So in the 14 years of this I have know this specific boob swelling info for about.... 14 years! Lol. DUH!!! If it happens every month at that time you're an idiot if you haven't already figured it out.

    January 31, 2011 at 09:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. lessgetreal

    If it were so, my wife's would be so large that she couldn't get up. There is only a 15 minute window each month when she ISN'T on PMS.

    January 31, 2011 at 10:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. BioHzrd

    They may get bigger, but then they hurt like all hell. It's like a catch-22 for my husband. Enjoy from afar or feel my wrath.

    January 31, 2011 at 10:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Hard Working Man in DC

    1. The article was informative (although I knew the answer already), and I'm glad to see lighthearted advice and answers given.
    2. Some of you need to lighten up.

    and most importantly...

    3. Good morning to each..and every...single one of your boobs. *waving*

    January 31, 2011 at 11:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Hard Working Man in DC

    To those who are appalled that contraception was suggested by a doctor...why? Is it really "amazing" and "irresponsible" to inform a person of what their options are? There's a time and place to be an activist, and there's a time and a place to disseminate information. It's up to that person to choose what's right for them or what risks are worthwhile. Somewhere along the line, your parents gave you the keys to the car. You chose to drive it. Yet it's the leading cause of death among young teens. Are you offended and upset at your parents for being so "irresponsible"?
    Secondly, the article doesn't say that contraception will REDUCE the size of your breasts. It's basically to find CONSISTENCY in the varying bra cup sizes. Some women swell on the pill...some don't.
    Some people just find reasons to be angry. Blow it out please.

    January 31, 2011 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Charlotte

    Mine used to do that. It was really painful. But then they were too big (and often painful) to start with, PMS just made it ten times worse with respect to the pain. I finally had them surgically reduced and have been ecstatic with the results. No more pain, no more strain, no more having to custom-make my clothes. No more black eye when I go jogging :)

    January 31, 2011 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. mig

    I'm guessing all of the people freaking out about him suggesting oral contraceptives as an OPTION, have never dealt with any of the issues birth control can help treat.

    I used to have the breast swelling issue, and it's not just the swelling, but they would become incredibly tender and painful. But that was a secondary issue to the excruciating cramps I would get for at least a week every month. I would usually spend one at least one day in so much pain that I would vomit from the pain. Then for a few more days I would be doubled over in pain, unable to find a comfortable position, and unable to stand up straight or lie down without a terrible cramps.

    Then I started taking birth control pills, and within the first month my issues started to ease up significantly. After a few months and my body adjusted the terrible cramps completely gone away. Now I have maybe a day with mild cramps here and there, but there is no comparison to being to do anything for days at a time and being pain so severe I would vomit. The breast swelling, tenderness and size fluctuation completely went away as well. It wasn't until it had gone away that I realized how bad it really was. Like I said, that issue was secondary to the main issue.

    There are negative side effects to birth control, but for me it is worth the risk. There is a quality of life issue. Prescription pain killers to alleviate the pain are not free of side-effects either. I can't take off 3-5 days of work every month to deal with this, nor can I plan my life around it. I try to be healthy in other aspects of my life, I don't smoke, eat healthy, exercise, do not drink often, etc., this helps reduce the likelihood that I will experience severe side-effects.

    February 20, 2011 at 02:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. daniel

    I am a 12 year old boy that wants to get boobs by taking a pill what pill can i take to make that happen?

    July 25, 2011 at 03:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Marian

      sper ca nu am fost inteles gesrit. vream sa spun ca sper sa nu te molipsesti de comportamentul X (ca sa nu zic alte lucruri) al lui ion iliescu si al multor altora din clasa politica

      March 4, 2012 at 11:49 | Report abuse |
  43. Buy Breast Actives

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    July 4, 2012 at 02:33 | Report abuse | Reply
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  45. Kate

    Why are guys searching if boobs get bigger during PMS.. perverts

    October 17, 2012 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. yogalady

    Mine go up and down 2 full cup sizes every month- so i have a set of B bras, and a set of D bras. This just started happening when I switched to a low-dose bc pill from a high-dose pill after being on the high-dose pill for many years (at a consistent B cup). Maybe in some more months, this will taper off?

    It is nice having bigger boobs I never thought I'd have. However, they do hurt! Going up and downs stairs hurts, for sure.

    November 14, 2012 at 23:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. mercedes

    I agree with a lot of what is being said. I've had it happen to me already more than once. Breasts getting bigger every few months. Even without pms I've still gotten larger in the breast area. But I've a lot women my age and older tell me I was overdue for it in the breast area.Mercedes

    November 30, 2014 at 18:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Cathy

    Breasts can get larger even without pms. I know. I was an early developer at age 9 and I've had fluctuations periodically ranging from size 38, which I started with in childhood.to size 42 and sometimes in between 40 and 42. I also had the largest breasts of my in laws including my ex mother in law. She was glad I was more busty than the rest of the in laws including her. That was the best thing she liked about me was my breasts being larger than hers. She made light of it and had the in laws make sport of it. My breasts were my in laws entertainment.Cathy

    November 30, 2014 at 18:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Cathy

    I was the tis of my in laws. That was my mother in laws favorite sport. That was her favorite subject.Cathy

    November 30, 2014 at 18:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Newyorker

    Yes, please. :-D

    January 28, 2011 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply

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