Self breast exams can be tricky, as the breast tissue won’t always feel exactly the same (especially during different phases of your menstrual cycle.) However, if you do them monthly, Mysore says you will become familiar with your own breasts and better be able to detect when something feels out of the ordinary.
Generally what you’re feeling for, according to OB/GYN Wendie Trubow, M.D., is a pebble or frozen pea-like lump. “It’s usually on the harder side, and either mobile (moves around) or can also be fixed in place,” she once told mbg.
“Your breast tissue can definitely feel more ‘lumpy’ right before your period, and this is hormonally driven,” she notes. To avoid unnecessary panic, “the best thing to do is examine your breasts a few days after your period ends when you are least tender, lumpy, and bumpy,” OB/GYN Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz, M.D. once recommended.
If you do happen to check them during your period and are concerned about what you find, Mysore recommends reaching out to your primary care provider.