The Ever-Changing Boobs
Why are they constantly changing size?
Leading up to your period, your breasts can get tender, lumpy and uneven. This can be very uncomfortable. It is totally normal and happens to most females. Milk glands are enlarged because your body is preparing for natural hormonal changes. Sexy, right? Those pesky hormones lead us to be extra emotional at times as well.
Towards the end of the menstrual cycle, your boobs reduce back down and your body normalizes. Your period is not the only time your body and breasts will fluctuate. It happens on a regular basis.
This is also the somewhat scientific explanation of why certain shirts, bras and dresses fit better from day to day. Once estrogen levels increase closer to ovulation (around day 12-15), breasts enlarge. For women sized DDD or larger, the increase can be a full cup! 90% of the weight falls onto the band in a bra or sports bra leading to those awful red marks.
During the second week of your cycle, you acquire that joie de vivre. Regardless if you’re aware of it, you’re felling flirty and fine. Energy levels are high. And then you take a glance at yourself in the mirror and think: “Huh, is that one bigger than the other?” Most of us are not symmetrical. The culprit is low estrogen. Once your period arrives, they will even out according to research published in the journal Ethology and Sociobiology.
That knowledge can be comforting: According to doctors at Johns Hopkins University, high progesterone during the second half of your cycle is responsible for swelling, pain and tenderness in the breasts. These symptoms usually occur right before your period. Then the monthly cycle starts again. Ah, the fairer sex.
So, let’s recap: you get lumpier, smaller, fuller, and then lopsided. It’s a lot of shape-shifting. Don’t let it deter you from being active. Exercise is an important part of being healthy, and it helps you feel better when on your period. During exercise, your body releases endorphins that distract you from discomfort. Also, sweating relieves bloating. Simply walking helps take the edge off even the most intense cramps. Stacy Sims, PhD, an exercise physiologist for USA Cycling Women’s Track Endurance Program says “The more active you are [overall] and more regular you are with your activity, the better your periods end up being—less cramping, less heavy flow”.
Sims recommends high-intensity training during the first half of your cycle. Surprised? Because your hormone levels are at their lowest, pain endurance and muscle recovery are at their highest. It seems counter-intuitive, but even though you feel uncomfortable, you are likely at your strongest. See what you can accomplish in your workout.
During the time of the month, you should avoid inverted yoga poses such as shoulder stands, head stands, and the plough pose. These poses can make you bleed more and increase cramps. Practice gentler poses. Yoga’s relaxation is welcome anytime.
You might be wondering: what if I’m on the pill? Birth control can make periods lighter and less painful, eventually eliminating them. Even so, your body goes through the same cycles. When it comes to boobs and going on the pill, there is one caveat: your chest may enlarge for the first few months. Make sure you have that adjustable bra handy!
Take your body’s rhythms into account when deciding how much to push yourself. We are not suggesting laying on the couch with fries and ice cream – although we do not judge. But find exercises that will not add to discomfort.
Consider this: researchers at the Institute of Sport Sciences, in Germany, observed two groups of women. The first group lifted weights every third day of the month, regardless of the part of their cycle. The second group lifted weights every other day during the low-hormone phase, but only once a week during the high-hormone phase. The women in the second group’s strength increased 32.6 percent compared with their counterpart’s 13 percent gain.
This proves working smart beats working hard. Make sure you give your boobs the loving support they deserve. Share your stories of working out when on your period with team Bloom Bras!
Written by Diana Zabalovici