woman with fibrocystic breast disease lumpy dense fibrous breasts

Fibrocystic Breasts or Lumpy, Dense, Tender Breasts

how a naturopath helps fibrocystic breasts

What are fibrocystic breasts and what symptoms would I have?

Fibrocystic breasts are lumpy, dense, fibrous breasts that have been determined to be non-cancerous or benign by your doctor.

Symptoms include:

  • breast lumps or fibrous tissue that blends into the tissue around it
  • painful or tender breasts
  • breast lumps that vary in size
  • lumpiness or tenderness that varies throughout your menstrual cycle, particularly bad from mid-cycle to just before your period starts

Is it dangerous to have fibrocystic breasts?

Fibrocystic breasts themselves are not hazardous to your health.  They are a problem though because:

  1. They can make proper imaging of the breasts more difficult which can mask more serious issues like breast cancer.
  2. They are a symptom of a need for better hormone balance.
  3. The hormonal imbalance that causes them can also increase your risk for breast cancer.

What causes lumpy breasts?

The causes of fibrocystic breasts aren’t one hundred per cent clear, however, higher caffeine intake, and hormonal imbalance, often estrogen dominance (relatively speaking higher estrogen and lower progesterone) seem to play a role.  Higher blood levels of insulin may also play a role since an insulin-lowering drug seems to help.  The best way to lower your insulin level without drugs is through a healthy diet and regular exercise.  Higher male hormone levels in women with PCOS seem to help protect the breasts by moderating the effects of estrogen.  Ensuring a proper balance of all of the sex hormones is part of naturopathic treatment for fibrocystic breasts.

What is the natural treatment for dense, lumpy or painful breasts?

  1. Enhancing liver metabolism of hormones can help address the hormone imbalance that may be contributing to fibrocystic breast development.
  2. Reduce caffeine intake to once per day.
  3. Eat a healthy, whole foods, high fiber, low glycemic index diet.

Any lump in your breast should be examined by your medical doctor, who can then order an ultrasound or mammogram to determine whether it is just fibrocystic breast tissue.

For help with this or any other health problem, book an appointment here or call the office for more information at 416-481-0222.

by Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND

Fibrocystic Breast Disease Research

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The evaluation of the effect of metformin on breast fibrocystic disease.
Talaei A, Moradi A, Rafiei F.

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1986 Jan;154(1):161-79.
Fibrocystic breast disease: pathophysiology, pathomorphology, clinical picture, and management.
Vorherr H.

Gynecol Endocrinol. 2012 Jun;28(6):468-71. doi: 10.3109/09513590.2011.633658. Epub 2011 Nov 21.
Is hyperandrogenemia protective for fibrocystic breast disease in PCOS?
Ozkaya E1, Cakir E, Cinar M, Kara F, Baser E, Cakir C, Kucukozkan T.