BREASTS!! (Again)

Cyclic Breast Tenderness with PMS

It is common among  woman to experience breast tenderness before or during the onset of menses. Many woman also notice tissue changes in thier breasts with hormonal fluctuations. Movable, soft cysts in the breast that begin up to two weeks before the onset of menses and resolve once your flow stops is reffered to as fibrocystic breast disease (Kaur, Sat Dharam, 2003)

It is thought that this is due to the effect of more prominant estrogen compared to progesterone on the breast during this time of the cycle (Hudson, Tori 2008).  However, some researchers think it may also be due to an underactive thyroid or change in the ratio of your endogenous estrogens. 

Mastalgia is any breast pain that disrupts a womans quality of life and, if severe enough, causes her to seek treatment (Hudson, Tori 2008).  Pain may be present because of old trauma, acute infection, nodules or unwanted growths.  If pain or swellings do not change during your cycle please seek the care of your doctor. 



A diet rich in fruits and vegetables and lower in inflammatory foods such as tomatoes, eggplants, tobacco and potatoes may help reduce the pain.  Other high fiber foods (including fruits and vegetables)  oat bran, split peas, lentils, beans can help eliminate excess estrogens from the body, potentially lessening the negative effect on the breast tissue. 


Caffeine (Methylxanthine)

Methylxanthine is found in black tea, green tea, cola, chocolate and coffee. There is a postive correlation between consumption of methylxanthines and fibrocystic breasts. 

Try to avoid these, espeically around the time of your menses.  Allow at least 3 months of little to no consumption of these before you may notice a difference. 


Nutritional Defciencies

Deficiences of Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, iodine or coenzyme Q10 may be atrriuted to painful, cystic breasts.  Talk to your Naturopathic Doctor about supplementing with these nutrients. 


Practice Breast Massage

Breast massage can help increase lymphatic drainage and keep breasts healthy. For instructions click here:



Hudson, Tori 2008. Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine: Alternative Thereapies and Integrative Medicine for Total Health and Wellness. McGraw Hill, USA

Kaur, Sat Dharam, 2003. The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Breast Cancer, Robert Rose Inc. Ontario Canada.



MELATONIN is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in your brain.  During sleep the amount of melatonin increases, and during the day the amount of melatonin falls.  This is because melatonin is influenced by the light/dark cycle and regulates our biological clock(1). Research has shown an inverse relationship between breast cancer size and nighttime levels of melatonin (Front Horn Res 1997; 23:132-36).  And another study found that women who worked 3 or more night shifts for 3 years or less were 40% more likely to have breast cancer than women who did not work night shifts (Health facts, Nov 2001, 26 (11):3-4).  Around the mid- forties the reduction in pineal gland becomes noticeable, and sleep patterns change.  Supplementing with melatonin can increase your night sleep time, help treat jet-lag, and may help reverse the signs of aging (2).  To naturally increase your melatonin you can:
1.Eat foods high in tryptophan
2.Supplement with vitamins B3 and B6
3.Sleep in a dark room
4.Expose yourself to 20 minutes of natural sunlight in the morning
5.Do not turn on bright lights when waking at night- this stops the melatonin production.  Instead, use a night light in the bathroom/ hallway.

(1)Kaur, Sat Dharam, ND 2010
(2)Pettle, A., MD 2003

Breast Massage

Lymph Drainage is an important element to keep breasts healthy.  To help drain the lymph tissue of the breasts try this self massage at least once a month:

1. Stroke neck, moving skin back and down towards the collarbone (15 times, each side).
2. Gently pump armpit with palm underarm (15 times each side)
3. Using 4 fingers, make small circles around the outside of each breast, working inwardly to the nipple
4. Lean forward and cup each breast in your hands and grently pull the breast away from the chest wall while moving the breast around in a circular movement

If you find a lump do not put pressure on it or massage it but please consult with your health care professional.

Adapted from Sat Dharam Kaur, ND, 2010

Healthy Breast Tips

(1) a baby at her breast mammary gland, mamma; (breasts) bosom(s), bust, chest; informal boobs, knockers, bazooms, hooters.
(2) feelings of frustration were rising up in his breast heart, bosom, soul, core.

Today, in Canada, 1/9 woman will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her life (1). As the incidence of this disease is rising every year we must increase our awareness and use preventative strategies to help protect ourselves, daughters, mothers and sisters.

10 Lifestyles Tips to help decrease the risk of acquiring breast cancer:

1. Exercise at least 40 minutes a day
2. Switch to using non-toxic cleaning products, like vinegar, lemon and baking soda
3. Use glass instead of plastics to store your food and liquids (included your water bottle!)
4. Avoid tight bras and consider a looser cotton bra instead of an under wire bra.
5. Check your cosmetics on before purchasing to make sure it is free of toxic dyes and chemicals.
6. Meditate everyday
7. Use a sauna as often as possible to eliminate chemicals and toxins stored in your fat cells.
8. Eat organic whenever possible
9. Eat at least 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day
10. Consume 45 grams of fiber each day (you should be having AT LEAST 2 bowel movements a day!) for proper elimination.

1. Kaur, Sat Dharam. 2011. The Healthy Breast Program