Sore boobs are simply part of being a woman, unfortunately. Of course, sore breasts can also be a symptom of breast cancer, but there are numerous other reasons why your boobs hurt. So, don’t go jumping to conclusions!

Here are eight possible reasons why your boobs hurt:

1.  Your bra isn’t the right size.

Wearing the wrong bra size makes your boobs sore or uncomfortable. If the bra is too small, it squeezes your breast tissue. This makes your boobs feel tired and sore to touch when you remove the bra.

If your bra is too big, it can’t provide you with optimal support. Bigger busts will feel sore if a bra isn’t lifting and supporting them properly. Check our list of signs you’re wearing the wrong bra size. If any apply to you, get a bra fitting and buy a new bra.

2.  Your period is coming.

Lots of changes take place in your boobs as you transition through your cycle. Your boobs go from soft and small, to full and firm. If your period is around the corner, it could be the culprit for your sore boobs.

3.  Your boobs don’t get enough support during exercise.

Without an appropriate fitting sports bra, your boobs will bounce around during exercise. This movement puts pressure on your breast ligaments and tissue and can cause soreness. If you suspect your sports bra may not be providing enough support, a bra fitter can help you determine which sports bra is best for you.

4.  You went too hard in your workout.

It’s possible you overdid it in your workout and pulled a muscle. Minimize your upper body workouts for a few days and do plenty of stretching to see if that alleviates the soreness.

5.  You’re pregnant.

Sore breasts are one of the earliest signs of pregnancy because of increasing hormone levels. Of course, this is also a symptom of your period, so it can be difficult to tell the difference.

6.  You’re breastfeeding, and something is off.

According to lactation consultant Sandra Yates, breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful, and if it is, there’s usually something wrong. If you’re nursing and experiencing pain, it could be due to an infection, clogged milk duct, mastitis, latch issues, etc. It’s always a good idea to visit your health care provider to get help if experiencing pain with breastfeeding.

7.  You changed your birth control.

A change in birth control could be the reason why your boobs are sore. Birth control affects your hormones, which directly impacts your breasts. Typically, breast soreness resolves after a few weeks of starting a new pill. If not, you’ll want to consult your doctor.

8.  You need to chat with your doctor.

If you can’t pinpoint any other reason for your sore boobs, go ahead and make an appointment with your physician. She or he can discuss other reasons behind your sore boobs or perform a clinical breast exam to check for any abnormalities.

If you are mindful of recent lifestyle changes or activities, you can usually resolve breast soreness yourself within a few days. But never feel hesitant to visit your doctor if you feel like the soreness is prolonged or you can’t determine a reason for the soreness.