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What the Yuck: Can PMS change your boob size?
August 5th, 2011
04:08 PM ET

What the Yuck: Can PMS change your boob size?

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!

Yep, 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.

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Copyright Health Magazine 2011


soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Liliangrae

    Dude, what are you even talking about? lol

    August 5, 2011 at 21:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. cruzanalien

    Great, they're only getting bigger and more for gravity to suck to the ground...9.81 meters per second squared....

    August 5, 2011 at 23:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Emelia Kanson

    What I want to know is if boobs ever STOP growing. These damn watermelons are getting on my last nerves. I've wasted three month's paychecks on bras that either shrink or simply aren't big enough. It's ridiculous.

    August 6, 2011 at 01:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LEB

      Mine mysteriously got bigger in my very late 20s. Not that I'm complaining, but it came outta nowhere!

      August 6, 2011 at 13:11 | Report abuse |
    • Jesus

      I think I love you.

      August 6, 2011 at 13:32 | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      Yeah I have the same problem. I guess you have to figure out how to get a breast reduction.

      August 6, 2011 at 14:44 | Report abuse |
    • teresa, ohio

      emelia: good news !!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, they dont stop growing. When theyre done growing .... they start to sag under all the weight of it.... then they sag and sag and sag.... your bra size will change in your 40s and then around 50... and it aint pretty ; ) If I win the lottery, I'm gonna use some pocket money to get a reduction.

      August 6, 2011 at 16:29 | Report abuse |
    • joe

      I can help you, call me.

      August 6, 2011 at 19:56 | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      finally a woman talking about a female topic.

      August 6, 2011 at 20:29 | Report abuse |
  4. marie adams

    My breasts always swell during that time very painful. Thet r already bif enuf. Lol!

    August 6, 2011 at 01:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. TaTa Tamer

    I wear a sport bra nght and day for two weeks leading up to my period. It helps keep the swelling down. It's like holding a sponge unerwater while keeping it squeezed; it can't absorb water if it is compressed. I've tried the pill, diet changes, and different exercise regimens for years and nothing worked. It's not an ideal solution, but after years of tender, sore breasts, it's worth the trouble.

    August 6, 2011 at 02:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Krista

      Evening primrose oil supplements seem to help too.

      August 6, 2011 at 11:25 | Report abuse |
  6. angelad

    I can't believe they suggest water pills (dangerous) and oral contraception (not healthy after a certain age) to correct such a minor problem. Yes, I have it too but I am much more worried about living a healthy life style, keeping my weight in check, getting enough sleep and not be an angry person :-)

    August 6, 2011 at 06:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Bob

    Yeah, Terry, we accept the sage advice from a two-time loser.

    August 6, 2011 at 08:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. WR2

    Bra size up = hat size down. Makes perfect sense. Is this phenomenon more prevalent with a certain lighter hair color by chance?
    WR2

    August 6, 2011 at 10:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Brian

    The question and the answers center around the woman and her body, NOT (repeat NOT) about pleasing you Terry.
    Alternate answers: a size-indifferent bra (ed jogbra) that holds the same regardless of a 1-size change in size; or a bra that's a platform, not a cup, so the breast is held up from sagging regardless of a 1-size change in size, but not "contained".

    August 6, 2011 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Guy

    Troll face – you know what i am going to say so you guys say it.

    August 6, 2011 at 12:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. LEB

    Maybe if you sympathized and remembered that a few mood swings and a shorter temper is the result of hormones and not a hatred of you, you'd still be married to your first wife. Hormones quite literally change how you view the world. 3 weeks out of the month, the typical woman won't get upset over running out of her favorite yogurt and having to get more, but during that 5-7 days when things are wonky it can feel like the worst problem in the world, and it really, really feels that way.

    Loving partners need to just try to sympathize and remember that the mood swings and temper aren't personal, and will be gone in a few days. Trust me, if you experienced the same sort of thing yourself, you'd get it.

    August 6, 2011 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. LEB

    It can also increase "my partner is a jerk for not even trying to understand that what I'm going through sucks and *I* don't like it either but it's beyond my control" factor.

    August 6, 2011 at 13:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. GetReal

    Very rude, Terry, but unfortunately true. I am most fortunate to be menopausal and on hormones, so I can afford to laugh. The question should not be about bra size, but about those chemical changes in a woman's body, and how the hell to control them.

    August 6, 2011 at 13:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Jesus

    My wife's shoe size increased, her nose hairs flourished, and her voice deepened.

    August 6, 2011 at 13:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Jesus

    That's exactly why marriages should have a 10 year time commitment. Afterwards they should expire.

    August 6, 2011 at 13:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. me

    i need a doctor to explain why before my wife's "friend" comes to visit i notice i starting.getting more headaches and my ulcer starts to flare up.

    August 6, 2011 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • teresa, ohio

      well, the saying goes: two become one... so wouldnt it be fitting that you, too feel the affects of her/ yer bodies hormonal cycle. you must love your wife very much : )

      August 6, 2011 at 16:26 | Report abuse |
  17. Mitch

    Never helped my first wife. She had things backward. She was PMSing for most of the month and had one good weekend. Her bra size never got bigger.

    August 6, 2011 at 15:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. OKLady

    Whether men will admit it or not they also have a "menstrual time" every month where their hormones are out of wack and it has nothing to do with a woman. Maybe they need to feel what it's like for women while on their cycle.

    August 6, 2011 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. teresa, ohio

    of course breast sizes change.... I have the DD bras in my drawer just for that occasion... and if i may say so, it's quite painful at that time : (

    August 6, 2011 at 16:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JackTaraz

      They just need a good hot oil massage. I charge $20.00, plus tip. Tip can be anything, even cash!!!!

      August 8, 2011 at 00:40 | Report abuse |
  20. teresa, ohio

    we c karl... you just wear the same size all month cuz youre that big of an azz hole all the time, yes? your poor wife.... you are so insulting.

    August 6, 2011 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. avhaas

    The answer is yes, of course. It can be associated with Cyclical Mystalgia.,

    August 6, 2011 at 16:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Ian

    I don't see how a bodily cycle could change your bra size. A tailor could do it, I guess.

    August 6, 2011 at 18:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. 2bits

    Oh I have seen a lot of guys suffer from this too........sickening ha.

    August 6, 2011 at 22:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. William

    If any of the ladies need support on this issue, I will be glad to lend two helping hands!

    August 7, 2011 at 01:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Amer99

    My wife used to have severe behavior change with her PMS, to the point where I thought I couldn't live with her. The short answer is an inexpensive supplement called Borage Oil which worked wonders in evening out her hormones. I see another comment where evening primrose was also mentioned.

    Long answer – Borage oil and evening primrose are rich in a specifc critical Omega 6 fatty acid called gamma linoeic acid or GLA for short. GLA is used in the formation of a beneficial hormone called PGE1. GLA supplementation supposedly has a 90% success rate in reducing the severity of PMS symptoms. People in general do not get enough Omega 3's, but this specific Omega 6 is also generally not high enough because many factors prevent a critical enzyme (delta 6 desaturase) from creating GLA from the base linoleic acid in our diets, and if you don't have GLA you don't make PGE1. Zinc, Vitamin C and B vitamins are also critical in enabling the production of PGE1. It's too bad the article's authors couldn't do any better than recommend cutting out salt and pushing birth control pills.

    Men – get your ladies to try taking an Omega 3 and GLA supplement along with a basic multi-vitamin and see if that improves things. It might take a few months for it to kick in, but what do you have to lose – Hope this helps save a few marriages...

    August 7, 2011 at 02:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Loralee

    so funny! i thought i was the only person with this problem. i have AA boobs, and i get like a full B for a wk each month, it's almost ridiculous how dramatic the changes are! haha

    August 7, 2011 at 11:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hodad_McRasta

      AA sounds perfect! What are you wearing?

      August 8, 2011 at 03:13 | Report abuse |
  27. marie adams

    I hate big boobs unattractive and in the way. U have to pay more money for the bra. I just wish I had average size boobs instead of these monsters

    August 7, 2011 at 17:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. DoTheMath

    After being married for 10 yrs, following 35 years of blissful bachelorhood, and now having survived around 112 episodes of my wife's PMS mood swings, which, with her, can be dangerously exaggerated by such things as alcohol, coffee, weather, children, anything said, not said, implied, or forgotten, all I can say is, if I had a choice and could do it all over, I wish I'd have been born gay. For those of you younger married men whose wives are not heading towards "the change", and disagree with that, all I can say is, just wait for perimenopause. Seriously, it can last 10 years. She sometimes gets her period every other week, and it's like the elevator scene in "The Shining". PMS is really anytime she's not bleeding. When you reach this point, go buy yourself a rope. It's reassuring, even if you never need it, to know that there is a way to find peace. J/K...well....kinda'....shhh!....hiding in the laundry room....she'll never look for me here!

    August 8, 2011 at 03:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Me

      Oh man, this is my current phase in life however, when I relay the cycle news to the hubby, he's the own that gets mood swings to get out intiamacy. Says I'm making it up. Um, it's fairly obvious in a married household when the lady is having her period.

      August 8, 2011 at 18:15 | Report abuse |
  29. Hummmm

    does that mean your shoe size also changes, or is that just a guy thing?? ;)

    August 8, 2011 at 07:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Me

    My hubby swears if he hangs on to them each night, they'll stay the same size.

    August 8, 2011 at 17:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Me

    I know I'll get grief for saying this but I feel I need to. When I was a girl, females had finally convinced men and society that we were sane in that time of the month and could handle better jobs, political office, sports, etc. Then not a mere 10-15 years later, PMS became the condition for us to say we had and frankly, to act *itchy during that tome. I think we set ourselves back. We're better than this.

    August 8, 2011 at 18:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Ginger

    Mine always get bigger and so does my husband's you-know-what!

    August 9, 2011 at 10:31 | Report abuse | Reply
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