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Breast: Questions, Answers and Support

Breast: Questions, Answers and Support

By Dr Marilyn Glenville, PhD. (Excerpts)

Up to 70 percent of women in the West experience breast changes that fluctuate with their menstrual cycles. Their breasts can feel so tender, swollen and/or lumpy that the discomfort is unbearable. Some women complain that they cannot bear to be hugged and find sleeping very difficult because they cannot get comfortable.

Finding out if there is a reason for your breast discomfort is particularly important and should be discussed with your doctor. Generally, if your discomfort varies with your cycle, and it improves when your period begins or soon afterwards, then there is unlikely to be anything sinister at the root. However, even if you can dismiss your pain as being cyclical, you should continue to check your breasts regularly. If your doctor finds anything suspicious during a physical breast check, then he/she will probably refer you for a mammogram.

What are your choices?
The natural approach is to look at breast discomfort from a multi-perspective approach. Breast tenderness is not really a medical illness, so why treat it medically with strong drugs, given all the risks involved? The natural approach involves giving your body the tools it needs to heal itself, using healthy food, supplements, and herbs to correct any imbalances with female hormones. What you eat and drink can make an enormous difference to the breast problems you experience during your cycle.

Multivitamin and Mineral
A good quality multi-vitamin and mineral is recommended to ensure that your body is receiving the basic nutrients. You then add in those nutrients in slightly higher amounts which are known to be helpful for breast problems.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E, found in foods such as almonds, leafy green vegetables, oats, soya, sunflower seeds and oil, wheatgerm and whole grains, helps reduce breast pain and tenderness.

B Vitamins
If there is a deficiency of B vitamins in your body, your liver will be unable to process estrogen properly and can play havoc with your menstrual cycle. Taking a B-complex tablet can help to reduce breast symptoms due to a hormone imbalance.

Lactobacillus acidophilus
Cyclical breast changes may be due to an imbalance in the levels of estrogen and progesterone. A healthy intestinal environment, which promotes regular bowel movements, can help balance these hormones. Acidophilus increases the levels of enzymes and helps to maintain regular bowel movements, easing breast discomfort due to unhealthy bacteria in the gut.

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)
Essential fatty acids are not only an important part of a healthy diet, but they can make a big difference to problems associated with hormones. Supplementing with evening primrose oil which contains GLA (gamma linolenic acid) can have a significantly positive effect on breast discomfort and maintain essential fatty acids.  

HOWEVER, if you have a history of epilepsy, you should check with your doctor before taking any supplements which contain GLA.

A common question women ask:  Will I be more susceptible to breast cancer if I have breast problems during my cycle?
First and foremost, it is important to establish that being prone to breast problems throughout your cycle does not mean that you are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. What breast pain, tenderness and lumps do tell you, however, is that your hormones are not functioning correctly. By achieving optimum health, through diet, and by addressing any vitamin and mineral deficiencies, your body will be given the opportunity and the tools it needs to correct any imbalances you may be suffering. The key word in natural medicine is prevention. It is a great deal easier to prevent a problem than it is to try to correct the problem once it has appeared. Furthermore, by adopting a healthier lifestyle you will be more likely to maintain overall good health.


Selected herbal remedies for healthy liver functioning can help to balance your hormones. Both milk thistle and dandelion are excellent herbs for optimizing liver function.


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