Fibrocystic Breasts

Most doctors no longer call the pain and lumpiness of fibrocystic breasts a disease because this condition affects virtually half of all women under age 50. Selected supplements and a shift in diet may help diminish the symptoms of this disorder.

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Breast lumps or nodules that may be tender or not painful at all.
An increase in the size of lumps or in breast discomfort a week or so before a menstrual period.

When to Call Your Doctor
If a new lump develops, especially if you have not always had lumpy breasts.
If a lump grows larger, hardens, or does not diminish after your menstrual period ends.
If you have any discharge from either nipple.
If your breast pain is severe.
Reminder: If you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor before taking supplements.
What It Is
Such premenstrual changes have long been labeled fibrocystic breast disease. But this condition is not a disease, and it doesn’t increase your risk of breast cancer (though having lumpy breasts may make identifying a cancerous growth more difficult if one develops). Normal lumps can usually be distinguished from cancerous ones because they move freely in the breast, changing with the menstrual cycle.

What Causes It
Fibrocystic changes in the breast are linked to the rise and fall of hormones associated with the menstrual cycle. Women who produce a particularly high level of estrogen in conjunction with a low level of progesterone after ovulation may suffer more. This combination can cause the body to produce too much prolactin, a hormone that triggers milk production in new mothers but increases breast tenderness in women who are not breast-feeding. Many experts think caffeine stimulates the growth of lumps or fluid-filled breast cysts (and some women showed improvement when they eliminate caffeine), but other researchers maintain there’s no firm evidence of any connection between caffeine and breast tenderness.

How Supplements Can Help
All the supplements listed can be used together and as needed; you should see improvement in a month or two. Many women report relief from breast pain after taking vitamin E. Just how it works is unknown, but some experts believe this vitamin blocks the changes in breast tissue possibly caused by caffeine.

What Else You Can Do
Eliminate caffeine and see if that helps. Besides coffee and tea, caffeine is found in chocolate, colas, and some over-the-counter medications. Be patient: Six months may pass before you notice any improvement.
Wear a bra with good support when your breasts are tender.

Supplement Recommendations
Vitamin E
Essential Fatty Acids
Vitamin B6

Vitamin E
Dosage: 400 IU twice a day.
Comments: Check with your doctor if taking anticoagulant drugs.

Dosage: 225 mg standardized extract each morning.
Comments: Also called vitex. Should contain 0.5% agnuside.

Essential Fatty Acids
Dosage: 1,000 mg evening primrose oil 3 times a day; 1 tbsp. (14 grams) flaxseed oil a day.
Comments: Or use 1,000 mg borage oil once a day for primrose oil.

Dosage: 600 mg a day.
Comments: Take with food; reduce dose if diarrhea develops.

Vitamin B6
Dosage: 100 mg twice a day for 1 week.
Comments: Take this amount only the week before menstruation; this dose can cause nerve damage if taken daily over the long term.

Source:Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs(Reader’s Digest)

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.

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