There have been a lot of articles recently in the press about the effectiveness of calcium and vitamin supplements in generally reducing the risks of breast cancer. Breast cancer is a serious condition that occurs in less than 0.2% of the population in America; the risk of contracting breast cancer is estimated as possibly being as high as 12% or as low as 6%. However, it is quite common for women up to the age of 50 to develop breast pains and lumps, that are not cancerous, which seem to increase in there intensity before the menstrual period. Medically known as Fibrocystic Breasts – a change of diet accompanied with selected health supplements can help to diminish the symptoms of this condition.
What causes these breast pains and lumps?
Normal breasts, or rather the tissue from which they are composed, varies from one person to another in terms of the density and texture of the tissue. Prior to the onset of the menopause women have larger amounts of breast tissue, making the breasts firmer and, in some cases, feel lumpy. Also, in their younger years, a woman’s breasts will have less fat in them than in later years. Dependant on the density and texture of the breast tissue and the amount of fat in the breast(s) fluid filled cysts (fibrous areas) can develop which will be tender prior to menstruation. Unlike a cancerous lump, these fibrocystic lumps will move freely and change according to the stage in the menstrual cycle. The development and changes in these lumps is due to high levels of estrogen and low levels of progesterone immediately after ovulation. This combination of hormone levels instigates the production of another hormone – prolactin; which is the hormone that stimulates milk production in nursing mothers. Therefore, if a woman isn’t breast-feeding she can experience discomfort and even pain due to the breast lumps.
Supplements that can help breast lumps and discomfort.
Being closely associated with the menstrual cycle it will probably come as little surprise that a vitamin E supplement can often bring about relief from the pain being endured by having breast lumps. Taking a vitamin E supplement is particularly important if you don’t eliminate caffeine from your diet (see below), as vitamin E helps to block changes to breast tissue. Another recommended vitamin supplement is Vitamin B6 that helps the liver to process estrogen in your body. If taking a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement doesn’t appeal to you, alongside those two vitamins you should also take a Magnesium supplement – as the mineral magnesium is well known for its ability to reduce inflammation and pain. An essential fatty acids supplement will also act as an anti-inflammatory as well as help to absorb iodine, which has also been associated with the development of fibrocystic breasts. Finally the herb Chaste Berry, also known as Monk’s Pepper, will help to restore a natural balance to your hormone levels, reducing he levels of prolactin in particular.
Other things to help reduce breast pain and lumps.
Alongside taking the recommended supplements, making one or two changes to your diet could also help to alleviate the discomfort you’re experiencing. First of all eat plenty of whole grain cereals, fruits and vegetables to keep your vitamin and mineral levels high; whilst also helping you to reduce your intake of fatty foods. Secondly, although there is only one anecdotal evidence to support this, women who have eliminated caffeine from their diet report a lowering in their levels of discomfort. Researchers have yet to formally ratify this, but it is known that caffeine will stimulate the growth of lumps in general. By the way girls, that includes cutting out the chocolate and it can take up to 6 months before you feel the benefit – so maybe the vitamin E supplement would be better! Finally, if your breasts are tender – wear a bra that gives you good support.
See you doctor if …
Tender and painful breasts are one thing but discovering a lump in your breast is definitely something not to be ignored. Although the chances are you won’t have a serious problem you should have any breast pain and lumps checked professionally by your medical advisor. So, if a breast lump develops suddenly, whereas you haven’t previously had lumpy breasts – see your doctor. Also, if the pain becomes severe, or you have a discharge from the nipple or a lump hardens or grows larger – again consult your doctor. Finally, you have a pre-existing condition you should always consult your doctor before taking any supplements.