Fibrocystic breasts commonly concern women... but are a common breast tissue structure

"Fibrocystic breast changes and fibroadenomas occur in 60% to 90% of all women"

Women lumpy breast texture often have what we call "fibrocystic breasts." It's not abnormal or a problem, per se, but if this is your breast texture, you may encounter a few concerns:

1. Fear about whether a lump is cystic or cancerous, leading to many women with fibrocystic texture not wanting to do personal breast exams

2. Tenderness throughout the cycle

3. Engorgement of cysts within the breast, causing mastalgia, or when pregnant, clogged ducts and mastitis

There is little cancer concern for cysts

We don't get very concerned about soft, movable cystic lumps within breasts. When biopsied, 95% of the time there is no atypical hyperplasia risk (cancer)... so unless you feel a harder calcified ball of tissue, like a pea, it's unlikely to need urgent cancer screen. Clinically, we like to watch and observe most soft lumps in the breast, especially if they respond to hormonal fluctuations. 

Try some of these natural measures to see if it reduces the lumps or cyst. If not, and it persists, grows, or there is redness and hardness, get a screening ultrasound or mammo. 

Things to help with hormones causing cystic breast issues:

Since the symptom of fibrocystic breasts-- swelling and tenderness in the breast- tend to increase with estrogen dominance, it would make sense that balancing hormones and helping the body metabolize out estrogen would reduce cystic complaints.

  • DIM
  • Broccoli "sulphuraphane'
  • Milk thistle and liver support
  • Calcium d-glucarate
  • Improving bowel elimination
  • NAC, ALA and other detox support supplements
  • Progesterone support, if you seem to have low progesterone or short, irregular cycles (basically, get the cycle and hormones balanced)
  • Remove xenoestrogen exposure

Dietary recommendation to improve breast pain:

  • Eliminate or reduce caffeine
  • Decreased dietary fat to 20% of calories
  • Increase dietary fiber
  • Increase soy foods (non-gmo)
  • Increase iodine sources, eat seaweed
  • Add flax seeds

Other things that have been proven to help reduce breast pain:

  • Vitamin E 400-800 IU daily, or larger dose weekly
  • Omega 6 fatty acids high in GLA- Evening Primrose oil 1500mg twice daily
  • Vitamin A, Beta-Caroten 50,000-150,0000 IU daiy
  • Thyroid balancing, ensuring correct iodine levels
  • Castor oil  warm compress on breast area for 1 hr, up to 5 days per week
  • Lymph flow support- exercise, rebounders, lymph massage

Botanicals that reduce fibrocystic breast problems:

  • If you have swelling symptoms with second half of cycle (from progesterone) try adding in diuretics like dandelion leaf, cleavers, yarrow, and uva ursi
  • Poke root oil can be rubbed on problems area (this is a remedy for mastitis in pregnancy too)- apply to breasts nightly for 2 weeks, then reduce to 3 times per week
  • If you have mid-cycle worsening, then estrogens and liver function need supported so you could try burdock root, dandelion root, milk thistle, celadine, fringe tree, beet root
  • Chaste berry (Vitex) reduces breast pains after 2-3 months of use
  • Red clover improved mastalgia in study

As you can see, there are many things to try to improve the reasons breast tissue may get inflamed, engorged and cystic. Although you should skip on recommend diagnostic breast screening or clinical breast exam assessment, you should address some of these root issues and see if your breast lumpiness and pains improve. 

Link to supplement protocol below will take you to Fullscript, where I picked out good brands and dosages that match the research interventions.

Written by Crystal Bailey APRN


Book: Women's Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by Tori Hudson ND

Book: Botanical Medicine for Women's Health by Aviva Romm MD

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