Breast cysts are benign sacs of fluid which present as small, firm lumps in the breast tissue. They most often form in the days between ovulation and menstruation. Although non-cancerous, they are often tender or painful to the touch. When discovered for the first time, they can be very alarming. Though relatively small, they can expand to the size of a walnut.
Who Is Affected by Breast Cysts?
Women over the age of 35, or perimenopausal, are the most prone to cysts. However, they can affect any woman who is between puberty and menopause. Also, women undergoing estrogen replacement therapy are especially at risk – many experts believe that high estrogen levels are the primary cause of cysts. Those women who have heavy menstruation and/or suffer from PMS also tend to be susceptible. Some studies have shown that as many as half of all women will be affected by breast cysts at some point in their life.
Consumption of caffeine in any form should be avoided. This includes caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks. Alcohol should be consumed in moderation. Instead, you should drink several large glasses of water every day. Not surprisingly, smoking or taking drugs of any kind is greatly discouraged, unless otherwise prescribed by a health professional.
Consume a healthy, nutrition-rich diet to avoid breast cysts. A high-fiber, low-fat diet consisting of vegetables, whole grains, and fruit will help keep your estrogen levels balanced if you are prone to breast cysts. Conversely, fat and carbohydrate consumption increases estrogen levels which can contribute to breast cysts and pain. It is also recommended to avoid red meat, dairy products, saturated fat and processed sugars.
Take Nutritional Supplements
Take vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements. Cysts can be caused by one or more nutritional deficiencies. Take multivitamins daily, as well as extra doses of vitamins A, C, and E. Take B-complex vitamins high in B6. In addition, take calcium in lieu of dairy products. Essential fatty acids such as flaxseed oil and evening primrose oil are recommended. Other helpful supplements are selenium, coenzyme Q10, iodine, dandelion root, and milk thistle.
Exercise and Be Active
Get aerobic exercise regularly. Engage in as many physical activities as possible. If you have low physical stamina, try yoga. Yoga is a great stress-reducer and contributes to an overall sense of well-being and physical comfort. Stress hinders your ability to manage pain effectively, and can initiate or exacerbate symptoms in any condition. Generally speaking, women who are active have increased breast movement, which encourages the secretion of toxins through lymph glands. Clinically overweight women are encouraged to lose weight to minimize cystic activity, and improve overall health. This is especially true for obese women. Stored fat tends to produce additional estrogen.
Give Breasts a Massage
Massaging breasts using olive oil or other natural lubricant can help prevent cysts, and also reduce the discomfort of current cysts. This works because the massaging motion removes excess fluid from the cysts where it is eventually expelled from the body, secreted through lymph and sweat glands. However, antiperspirants should be avoided since they will prevent this release and instead force fluids and toxins back into the breast tissue.
Don’t Wear Restrictive Clothing
Wear comfortable-fitting bras made of cotton so you skin can breathe, and not synthetic materials. If necessary, go braless during the days when cysts are most likely to occur. There has been at least theory put forth that wearing a bra compresses the lymphatic system and could hinder the release of toxins. In a nutshell, put your comfort ahead of fashion. Note: If you are very large-breasted, this may not be in your best interest – you are the judge. Do whatever you have to do to make yourself as comfortable as possible.
All in the all, the best way to avoid breast cysts is to consume a healthy, nutritious diet and engage in an active, low-stress lifestyle. Bodies with a high-functioning immune system are not as prone to disease, illness and pain. Notice that special attention should be paid to the lymphatic system. The expulsion of excess fluids and toxins from the breast tissue is critical to overall breast health. Simply put, take good care of yourself, and your breasts will thank you!