The pain: Swollen, tender, lumpy breasts that make movement painful. The condition usually occurs just prior to menstruation.
In 30 to 40 percent of women, fluid and extra breast cells that should be reabsorbed at the end of the menstrual period is retained in the breasts, creating cysts. You’ll feel this as lumpiness. Cysts aren’t the only problem. If the fluid isn’t reabsorbed, or the breasts over-prepare for pregnancy, the swelling that results can be downright severe. (Swelling causes the nerve fibers to stretch, which can create significant pain.) Eight percent of women suffer from monthly breast changes so disabling it disrupts their lives.
See a doctor if:
you try dietary or lifestyle changes for three months and your breasts still hurt. … your breasts become tender and swollen over the course of a day or two. … your breasts become painful after taking oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy. you have persistent tenderness accompanied by redness and you feel a mass, … you have these three symptoms occurring at the same time: the breast is hot, hard and hurting. * .. you have a bloody discharge from your nipple. **. You notice anything unusual during your monthly breast self-examination.
Slip into a support bra. It will take you half a minute to change bras at heirs sign of breast pain. The extra support can prevent the breasts from moving around, helping to reduce stretching of nerve fibers that can produce pain messages.
Holding a warm compress such as a heated towel or heating pad against the breast for 10 to 15 minutes can give some relief from breast tenderness.
Compress with castor oil.
Hot soaked compresses in castor oil can be helpful. Soak a place of wool flannel with castor oil. Wrap one side in plastic wrap, then in a towel, and hold the pack against your breast so that the oil-soaked flannel touches your skin. Finally, cover the pack with a heating pad or hot water bottle. Warning: castor oil is toxic if ingested and this could harm a nursing infant. So, don’t rely on this remedy if you’re nursing.
Have some hydrotherapy.
Frequent water treatments can soothe tender. Lumpy breasts, says MD, a medical pathologist. She suggests applying a hot, moist compress to each breast for three to five minutes every time you shower. Follow each hot application with a cool sponging, she says. Soak in a bathtub filled with comfortably hot water for at least 20 minutes. Settle back into the tub so that your chest is submerged. The water soothes your breasts and relaxes your entire body.
As an alternative to heat,
apply a cold pack to sore breasts for up to 20 minutes whenever you need relief. Use either crushed ice or a bag of frozen peas, since either will conform to the shape of your breasts. And remember to wrap the ice or bag of peas in a towel so that the extreme cold doesn’t injure your skin.
Go the over – the – counter.
If you prefer to go with an over – the – counter pain reliever, look for one containing the active ingredient Pamabron. advises. Pamabron acts as a mild diuretic.
Nutritional Remedies: Cut back on meat.
“The more animal proteins you eat, the slower your body will excrete estrogen. This excess estrogen often winds up in breast tissue, which is particularly sensitive to hormones.
Dehydrogenate your menu.
Besides reducing meat and poultry, eliminate or drastically cut back on your intake of margarine and other hydrogenated fats. Hydrogenated fats interfere with your body’s ability to convert essential fatty acids from the diet into gamma linoleic acid (GLA). Since your body needs GLA to help prevent breast pain, you may be asking for discomfort if you overdo hydrogenated fats and suppress the production of GLA.
Drink at least eight – ounce glasses of water a day Paradoxically, the more water you drink, the less likely your breasts are to swell before your period. Water flushes salt out of your body, so you retain less fluid.
Cut back on salt.
Salt makes your entire body retain fluid – including your breasts, which can swell up like water balloons. “Lots of women crave salty foods such as potato chips and pickles right before their periods.
Serve up some soy.
In societies where soybeans are a routine part of the diet, women have fewer breast problems. Soybeans, and foods made from soy. contain is flavones – naturally occurring substances that are converted to hormone like substances and may block certain unwanted effects of estrogen in the body, thus mitigating breast discomfort. So, the next time you order Chinese food, order an entrée with tofu instead of meat. Pour soy milk on your cereal. Or pick up some soy products in health food stores. burgers for your next cookout. You can find soy milk, soy burgers and other.
Switch to sorbet.
It has less fat than ice cream. And choose skim milk over whole, skinless poultry over beef, and low – fat salad dressing over the heavy stuff. In a Canadian study of 21 women who had persistent and severe cyclical breast discomfort, 6 of the 10 who cut their fat calories to 15 percent of total calories (they made up for the lost calories by increasing carbohydrates) found “significant relief from pain, swelling, and lumpiness within six months. The remaining women in the study did not cut back on fat, and only 2 of them showed any improvement after six months. The body makes different forms of estrogen, and one of them, estradiol, may be A high-fat diet may cause the ovaries to produce more estradiol than is good for the body, leading to an overproduction of breast cells and thus, lumpiness.
Can the caffeine.
The results of a Duke University study of 138 women with persistent monthly pain who made significant cuts in caffeine showed a decrease or total loss of pain within a year.
Reducing fat is not the only way to lower estrogen levels in your body. more fruits and vegetables not only reduce fat but also provides more fiber in your diet. “Fiber can help reduce swelling and tenderness of the breasts by absorbing excess estrogen and carrying it out of the body. The daily value for fiber is 25 grams. That should be enough to reduce the estrogen and help ease the pain of fibrocystic breast. One of the easiest ways to get more fiber is to eat bran containing cereals at breakfast. Eating vegetables. fruits, legumes and grains will also add fiber to your diet.
Helpful vitamins and supplements: Get your vitamins.
A good multivitamin / mineral supplement and a diet with plenty of foods rich in calcium, magnesium, vitamin C and B – complex vitamins are effective weapons against breast tenderness. Most of these Vitamins indirectly affect the production of a hormone that can cause breast pain.
Ease with E.
Another helpful nutrient is vitamin E. There is not solid scientific evidence to prove that it works, but some women and their doctors say that getting more vitamin E can help reduce the pain of fibrocystic breasts. Since vitamin E helps stabilize fluctuations in a woman’s hormones, it makes sense that it might help. “Many women find relief when they take a vitamin E supplement of 200 to 400 international units a day, particularly when they’re experiencing pain. If you plan to take more than 600 IU of vitamin E a day, you should talk to your doctor first.
Everyday prevention: Exercise daily
Women who exercise at least 30 minutes of aerobe exercise every day (the kind that elevates your heart and breathing rate) are less likely to have premenstrual symptoms. If exercise seems to aggravate premenstrual breast pain, switch to a low – impact activity (swimming, walking or biking).
Nurse your baby.
Mothers who decide to nurse notice a softening of the breasts. Nursing cleans out the ducts system, so that whatever partial blockages are in the breast are washed out.
Massage away the pain.
Daily massages can help ease breast pain. Place your hands on your breasts with your fingers spread and your nipples in your palms. Squeeze and release your fingers as you massage the circus reface of your breasts. Stop smoking. Smoking seems to be related to breast pain and the formation of cysts.
Herbal help: Ease with evening primrose.
“Though there is no scientific explanation of it, taking evening primrose oil relieves breast pain in about 30% of the women I see Hospital. Health food stores sell evening primrose oil in tablet form. Take three tablets nightly before bed when you experience breast discomfort.
Try pain – relieving tea.
In Herbal Healing for Women, herbalist Rosemary Glad star, author of several other herb books, offers this recipe for Immune Cleanser Tea, which she recommends as part of an overall health care program to treat fibrocystic breasts. You can find all of the ingredients freshly dried herbs and powders- in most health food stores or by mail order. Glad star says to mix the ingredients in these proportions: one-part yellow dock root, three parts dandelion root, two parts burdock roots One parts ginger powder, one-part doing quay, one-part astragals, one-part licorice root, one-part chaste berry and four parts Plutarch. To make the tea, says Glad star, use four to six tablespoons of this combination per quart of water.
Simmer over low heat in a tightly covered pot for 20 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the herbs sit in the covered pot for another 20 minutes. Strain the tea so that no dried herb remains and let the tea cool to a drinkable temperature. Glad star suggests drinking three to four cups of the tea daily for five days, then going off it for two days. Continue this treatment for a maximum of three months