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Birth Control and Breast Size

Medically Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on August 10, 2020

When you start using hormonal birth control, your breasts might feel a little swollen or look a little bigger. This is usually temporary and goes away within a few months.

Why Do Breasts Change?

These changes are similar to breast changes that usually happen around your period. That’s because hormonal birth control methods, like pills, patches, rings, shots, implants, and intrauterine devices (IUDs), put human-made versions of the hormones estrogen and progestin into your body to prevent pregnancy.

These hormones can also cause your body to retain fluids. That means extra water gets trapped in your breast tissues and they feel or look a little bigger.

Other Side Effects From Birth Control

Birth control can also cause breast tenderness or pain. This is normal around your period, but the hormones can make the pain stronger.

Breast tenderness is a heavy or sore feeling that may spread to your armpit or upper arm. It happens in both breasts and is usually at its worst right before your period.

The hormones in birth control can affect other parts of your body, too. These side effects are usually not serious and will go away after your system adjusts to the medication. You may have:

Over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen can ease the pain.

When to Talk to Your Doctor

Speak to your doctor if you want to go on hormonal birth control. They can help you decide which option is best. If you don’t want your breasts to change, ask your doctor about the best option to prevent pregnancies without hormones or with very little hormones.

Tell the doctor right away if you have:

These symptoms aren’t normal for hormonal birth control. You may have another health issue.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

Columbia University: “Does taking the pill increase the size of your breasts.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine: “Normal Breast Development and Changes.”

American Family Physician: “Side Effects of Hormonal Contraceptives.”

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “Combined Hormonal Birth Control: Pill, Patch, and Ring.”

Mayo Clinic: “Breast pain,” “Combination Birth Control Pills,” “Edema,” “Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).”

Health Link BC: “Breast Pain (Mastalgia).”

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