Do you know that the most common cause of breast lumps is a benign condition called fibrocystic breast disease? Do you also know that diet and lifestyle changes can be of great help for dealing with this common and painful condition? Fibrocystic breast disease is also called, cyclic mastalgia and fibroadenosis. It is estimated to affect as many as 60 percent of women between the ages of 30 and 50.
What is Fibrocystic Breast Disease?
Fibrocystic breast disease is a benign condition characterized by the formation of fluid-filled masses or cysts in one or both breasts and usually cause breast pain and tenderness especially before menstruation. Breast cysts are often linked to premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Although fibrocystic lumps are benign, they can make diagnosing breast cancer more difficult because of the dense fibrous tissue and lumps. Unlike breast cancer lumps which are usually painless, immovable and don’t grow smaller, fibrocystic breast lumps are movable and fluctuate in size during the menstrual cycle. If you discover a breast lump it’s important to consult with you doctor.
Causes of Fibrocystic Breast Disease
What causes breast cysts to develop is not fully understood although a number of factors can contribute. Hormonal imbalances result in increase in milk-producing glands, an enlargement of cells and scarring of breast tissue. The hormones estrogen, progesterone and prolactin are all partly responsible for breast cysts especially an increase in estrogen or fall in progesterone levels.
An increase in estrogen is often due to poorly functional liver that is unable to break down excess estrogen in the body quickly enough. Excess estrogen or estrogen dominance in women has many causes and is a condition known as estrogen dominance.
Wearing constricting bras especially underwire bras for long hours can also restrict circulation in the lymph vessels thus hindering waste removal. It is suggested that constricting bras make women more susceptible to developing breast cysts.
Methylxanthines found in coffee, black tea, chocolate and colas have been linked to the development of breast cysts.
A lack of iodine which can cause symptoms of under-active thyroid can also be the cause of breast cysts.
Top 5 Diet Tips for Fibrocystic Breasts by a Holistic Nutritionist
Methylxanthines in caffeine can worsen your symptoms so try to avoid them. These stimulants include coffee, black tea, chocolate and cocoa, caffeinated soft drinks and some over the counter medications.
2-Reduce Saturated Fat
Studies show that saturated fat (in red meat and dairy products) can worsen fibrocystic breast disease.
3-Increase Fiber Intake
Fiber helps the body eliminate excess hormones and toxins which can worsen fibrocystic breast disease. Good sources of fiber include whole grains, vegetables, fruits and seeds such as flaxseeds.
4-Eat More Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables include cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, arugula and kale. These vegetables contain a natural compound called indole-3-carbinol that helps in estrogen excretion by the liver and inhibit tumor growth.
5-Add Flaxseeds to Your Diet
Flaxseeds are a source of omega 3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation. They are also a source of fiber and contain lignans that act as a phytoestrogen (natural plant estrogen) which help to block the effect of bad estrogen on breast tissue. Ground flaxseeds and cold-pressed flaxseed oil are a very beneficial to your daily diet.
As a holistic nutritionist with a medical background, I highly recommend regular follow ups with your doctor together with a personalized holistic nutrition approach to deal with fibrocystic breast disease. Unfortunately, medical treatments for this condition are very limited and usually non-effective. Dietary, supplement and lifestyle changes can help correct nutritional deficiencies, re-balance the female hormones and support proper elimination of toxins and excess hormones by the liver and lymphatic system.
Back To You
Fibrocytic breast disease is a benign condition that can cause a lot of pain and worry for many women especially those with a family history of breast cancer. If you or any of your loved ones or friends is struggling with this painful heath condition, a holistic nutrition approach that gets to the root cause of the problem can be an effective and natural way to help you relieve your pains.