With the fear of breast cancer so prominent today, breast lumps are a concern for many women. Fibrocystic breast disease (FBD), also called cystic mastitis, is a common, non-cancerous condition. It can be mildly uncomfortable to severely painful, especially when breasts become swollen. Fluid that has not been drained via the lymphatic system fills in small spaces within the breast. The fluid is then encapsulated by fibrous tissue and thickens like scar tissue. The cysts may swell before and during menstruation. Although it does not increase your risk of cancer, it may make detecting cancerous tumors difficult through breast self-exams.
Twenty to forty percent of women who are pre-menopausal (between the ages of 35 and 50) experience FBD, with the symptoms generally disappearing after menopause. FBD is affected by the rise and fall of monthly female hormones.
Breasts are a mixture of fat, glands and connective tissue so their texture will always be irregular. Breast tissues are affected by a woman’s monthly hormonal cycle. During the cycle, milk-secreting glands enlarge with fluid and their cells multiply. Most of the excess fluid is reabsorbed or drained by the lymphatic system. This occurs month after month and year after year. In some women this process causes fibrous tissue to develop into lumps. Symptoms include breast tenderness and swelling, and a lumpy feeling to the breast.
It can be very distressing to feel these lumps. Monthly breast self-exams, infrared breast scans and/or ultrasound can help lay your fears of breast cancer to rest. If a breast lump is discovered, have your physician assess it and don’t worry – most lumps are benign. Lumps that suddenly grow larger and don’t change with your menstrual cycle; discharge from your nipple; severe, unrelenting pain or puckered or dimpled skin on your breast should be reported to your physician immediately.
FBD occurs when there is excess estrogen or an imbalance in the ratio of estrogen to progesterone in the body due to stress, estrogen replacement therapy or xenoestrogens. FBD is also seen in young women with irregular periods. Lumps may come and go, with symptoms often disappearing after menstruation has passed and hormone levels return to normal. Because of its timing, it is considered a symptom of PMS. It is now considered a risk factor for or precursor to breast cancer.
Heavy coffee consumption has been linked to FBD, along with a diet high in bad fats. Being overweight is also a risk factor for FBD.
PRESCRIPTION FOR HEALTH
|ESTROsmart||4 capsules daily with food until remission||
Stops abnormal cell growth, detoxifies excess estrogens
Stops healthy estrogen from converting into cancer-causing forms
Important for healthy metabolism of estrogen; supports normal cell growth
|Borage Oil / GLA Skin Oil||2000 mg borage oil daily||
Anti-inflammatory; controls negative prostaglandins involved in pain and inflammation
|MULTIsmart||6 capsules or 2 packets daily||
Ensures adequate nutrient status
|MAGsmart||1 scoop daily||Stops inflammation|
HEALTH TIPS TO ENHANCE HEALING
- To reduce estrogen levels, follow an organic, predominantly vegetarian diet and increase your fiber intake. Fiber carries estrogen out of the body.
- Detoxification and elimination of waste is very important. Eat liver-friendly foods such as lemons, onions, garlic, leeks, kale, carrots, beets, artichokes and members of the cabbage family (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower).
- Avoid caffeine, chocolate, tea and cola drinks as they contain methyl-xanthines that cause FBD.
- Treat constipation to ensure elimination of toxins (See Constipation).
- Exercise regularly to improve circulation and help to detoxify and manage weight.
- Rule out low thyroid. Take THYROsmart if thyroid is low
- Natural Progesterone Cream (prescription drug) - Use 6% natural progesterone 1/4-1/2 tsp morning and night on days 5-28 (or whenever your normal cycle ends) Restores progesterone levels and alleviates estrogen-dominant symptoms
- Do self-exams monthly to familiarize yourself with your breasts so that you are able to detect subtle changes, such as thickening, lumps, etc., and when they occur or disappear.
- Avoid antiperspirants; they clog up drainage from the sweat glands and the toxins have to drain back into the breast. Also they contain parabens, which are linked to breast cancer.
- Massaging your breasts in a circular motion will improve lymph flow and circulation, while at the same time familiarizing you with their architecture. Make it a daily ritual, either during your morning shower or before you go to bed.
- To control pain, use castor oil packs (See Endometriosis for how-to information).