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Missed Periods and Tender Breasts While Not Pregnant

Along with morning sickness, missing a period and having tender breasts are classic signs of pregnancy. Yet, it is possible for women who suffer from these symptoms to not being pregnant, and there is a variety of potential causes that could be behind both.

Continue reading to find out why one might have missed periods and tender breasts while not pregnant as well as how to deal with both symptoms quickly and effectively.

Missed periods and tender breasts are most often caused by hormonal imbalance

Common Causes

Several factors can cause missed or irregular periods and breast pain or tenderness at any time, but the most likely cause is hormonal imbalance.

Because a woman's menstrual cycle is guided by hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone, when hormone levels fluctuate and drop (as is the case during menopause), periods often become less frequent or missed altogether.

On the other hand, cyclical breast tenderness - which is more common than noncyclical breast pain - generally comes within the week or two leading up to a woman's expected period, ranging from mild to severe, due to hormonal fluctuations as well.

Other Causes

Less commonly, the causes of missed periods may include:

  • Eating disorders. Since they can cause sudden weight loss or gain, eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia may affect the endocrine system and, subsequently, the menstrual cycle.

  • 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.

There are other factors and health conditions that can cause tender breasts, including:

  • 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, balance hormone levels, or both:

  • Consume foods rich in phytoestrogens. Dietary estrogen can help with hormonal imbalance and prevent these symptoms. Main food sources of phytoestrogens are soybeans; flaxseed; legumes like lentils and chickpeas; and more.

  • Monitor your nutrient intake. Ensure you are getting the recommended daily amounts of calcium, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids as these are important for helping with hormone regulation. Sardines, leafy greens, and low-fat dairy can all be helpful for this.

  • Reduce stress. As aforementioned, excessive stress can easily disrupt progesterone production and healthy menstrual cycle patterns, leading to both missed periods and breast tenderness. Consider partaking in relaxation techniques like yoga, tai chi, or meditation.

  • Warm compresses. Using warm (never hot) pads or compresses on top of each breast at night can help relieve tenderness. This method can be used for pelvic pain from severe menstrual cramping as well.

Alternative Treatments

There is a variety of potential causes that could be behind missed periods and tender breasts, though an imbalance in hormone levels is the most common reason for both of these symptoms while not pregnant. Click on the following link to learn more about breast pain treatments that focus on hormonal equilibrium.

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  • NHS. (2017). Stopped or missed periods. Retrieved February 27, 2019, from
  • USC Fertility. (n.d.). 5 Things You Need to Know About Exercise-Induced Amenorrhea. Retrieved February 27, 2019, from