Fibrocystic Breast Disease: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

Understanding Fibrocystic Breast Disease

Fibrocystic breast disease, like fibroids, PMS, and menstrual irregularities are all parts of the continuum of estrogen excess in your body. Fibrocystic breast disease tends to be one of the first symptoms of estrogen dominance. It can affect women of 20 to 50 years and even teenagers.

Let’s take a step back so that we can understand the concept of fibrocystic breast disease. When you are growing, estrogen is very necessary. It is most of the time balanced with progesterone. When your body produces estrogen in excess, it flows into different tissues of your body, including the breast, and then the fibrocystic breast disease can become an issue. Fibrocystic breast disease is a type of condition that causes breast pain, non-cancerous breast lumps, and cysts.

READ:   Fibrosis and Simple Cysts in the Breast

Most young girls begin their menstruation at the age of 10 nowadays even though historically, the menstruation period began between ages 14 and 16 as recently as one generation ago. Menopause occurs around age 50. This unprecedented extension of the menstrual lifetime can have a devastating effect on women. This is especially especially true for areas sensitive to high estrogen such as the breast and ovaries. The fluctuating estrogen level accounts for inflammatory tendencies with cysts and swelling common in women suffering from PMS.

Cysts are fluid-filled sacs found in the breast. The often feel soft and oval shaped, but a cyst which is deep within the breast may feel hard. A woman who has a cyst in her breast may experience pain, particularly if the cyst increases in size ahead of the menstrual cycle.

READ:   Fibrocystic breasts: Symptoms and causes

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Fibrocystic Breast Disease?

If you are experiencing fibrocystic breast disease, you may experience the following:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Lumps in one or both breasts
  • Thickening of tissue
  • Increased swelling or lumps in one of your breasts compared to the other
  • Pain under your arms
  • A dark brown or green discharge from the nipple
  • Aching or sharp pain
  • Itching
  • Burning

Other symptoms may include:

  • Wandering tension
  • Irritability
  • Brain fog
  • Period pain and heavy bleeding

The symptoms are not static and can vary during your menstrual cycle as fluid changes in the breast are driven by hormone fluctuations. Changes in the breast as a result of hormone fluctuations also may appear during pregnancy

READ:   Fibrocystic breasts

Types of Fibrocystic Breast Disease

Most fibrocystic breast diseases are the outcome of monthly hormonal changes. There are two types of fibrocystic breast changes:

Fibrosis: Fibrosis is fibrous tissue that is similar to a scar tissue. It may be hard to the touch and feel rubbery or firm.

Cysts: These are fluid-filled sacs. They may enlarge to the point that you can feel them. The cyst may enlarge and become tender before your period. It may be difficult to differentiate between a solid mass and a cyst because they tend to be movable and round.

Getting to the Root of Fibrocystic Breast Disease

When you are suffering from fibrocystic breast disease your breast feels enlarged and it can often become lumpy. Ultrasound can show multiple cysts, and this can be very uncomfortable. These cysts are often made worse during the menstrual cycle.

READ:   Fibrosis and Simple Cysts in the Breast

Fibrocystic breast disease is one of the signs of a body in hormonal imbalance. Most health professional, conventional doctors especially, will attempt to resolve this with the use of birth control pills. There are benefits to this, but at the same time it really just suppresses the symptoms and does not address the real, underlying cause of the fibrocystic breast disease.

If you have the symptoms mentioned above, check with your doctor to make sure that everything is fine. However, if you also have other symptoms, including possibly wandering tension, irritability, brain fog, as well as period pain and heavy bleeding, you need to think about what is really going on in your body that is causing these symptoms. These are not normal signs from your body. These are behaviors that your body is trying to send you a message, and the message is do not put more estrogen in the system.

READ:   Fibrocystic breasts

Estrogen Dominance and Adrenal Fatigue

As mentioned earlier, fibrocystic breast disease is part of the estrogen dominance continuum. Estrogen dominance is the result of excessive estrogen over time. Symptoms of estrogen dominance also include PMS, fibroids, endometriosis, and cancer. Estrogen dominance is very serious in that it can start at an early age, even as a teenager, but often goes unnoticed. One possible cause of estrogen dominance is the intake of estrogenic compounds which are structurally similar to estrogen. Estrogen is very prevalent in the modern world. It exists in our food, from hormones in meat; it can even come from our garden. Xenoestrogens, compounds that act like estrogen, are present in chemicals that exist in many products including shampoo and plastic containers. So there is a host of places where we get estrogen.

READ:   Fibrocystic breasts: Symptoms and causes

Not only can estrogen dominance encourage fibrocystic breast disease, but it can also stimulate the tissue of the breast and can lead to breast cancer. Estrogen is largely secreted from the ovaries, adipose tissue(fat cells), and the adrenal glands.

Adrenal Fatigue and Fibrocystic Breast Disease

When the body is stressed and low on energy, the adrenal glands can shunt production of progesterone towards cortisol, the anti-stress hormone. When this occurs, progesterone levels drop as its building blocks are instead converted into cortisol. One of progesterone’s function in the body is to help balance estrogen function. Accordingly, a drop in progesterone leads to a rise in estrogen on a relative basis. This does not result in an absolute increase in the estrogen levels in your blood, but estrogen dominance is still present as the ratio of estrogen to progesterone is skewed, leading to estrogen dominance. If you have are overweight, then the increase in fat tissue also boosts estrogen levels. This increased estrogen can lead to fibrocystic breast disease, so look at fibrocystic breast disease as a symptom.

READ:   Fibrocystic breasts: Symptoms and causes

Remedies for the Fibrocystic Breast Disease

In many cases of fibrocystic breast disease, you need a breast examination to be able to ascertain the proper remedy. Your doctor may be able to help you remove the fluid to relieve the pain, but the fluid will likely return later. You can also try the following to assist you with mild discomfort:

  • Reduce the amount of stimulants and caffeine you are consuming, such as coffee, which stimulates adrenal gland function.
  • Reduce stress and physical overexertion.
  • Use a supportive bra to avoid physical trauma to the cysts that can increase inflammation.
  • Stop or reduce taking synthetic hormone therapy. Bioidentical hormone replacement needs to be carefully considered to weigh the risk and benefits.
  • Use warm water or heating pad for any pain or discomfort.
  • Wear a sport bra while sleeping or during exercise for extra support.
READ:   Fibrocystic breasts

Supplement Consideration:

  • Iodine supplementation (12-50 mg daily): fibrocystic breast disease and iodine deficiency are strongly associated. Iodine supplementation has been shown to improve fibrocystic breast disease.
  • Natural progesterone cream (20 mg topically): natural progesterone can help offset estrogen dominance and relieve fibrocystic breast pain.
  • Calcium D glucurate (200-800 mg daily): Calcium D glucarate helps eliminate excess estrogen in the body, thereby decreasing estrogen dominance and improving fibrocystic breasts.
Fibrosis and Simple Cysts in the Breast Many breast lumps turn out to be caused by fibrosis and/or cysts, which are non-cancerous (benign) changes in breast tissue that happen in many women at some time in their lives. These changes are sometimes called fibrocystic changes, and used to be called fibrocystic disease. Fibrosis and/or cysts are most common in women of child-bearing age, but they can affect women of any age. They may be found in different parts of the breast and in both breasts at the same time. Fibrosis Fibrosis refers to a large amount of fibrous tissue, the same tissue that ligaments and scar tissue are made of. Areas of fibrosis feel rubbery, firm, or hard to the touch. Cysts A round, movable lump, which might also be tender to the touch, suggests a cyst. Cysts are fluid-filled, round or oval sacs within the breasts. They are most often found in women in their 40s, but they can occur in women of any age. Monthly hormone changes often cause cysts to get bigger and become painful and sometimes more noti...
Fibrocystic breasts ICD-9: 610.1 Description Fibrocystic breasts are breasts with palpable lumps or cysts that fluctuate in size with the menstrual cycle. The condition is seen more frequently in women ages 30 to 55 and rarely after menopause. Fibrocystic breast tissue exhibits fluid-filled round or oval cysts, fibrosis, and hyperplasia of the cells lining the milk ducts or lobules of the breast. Fibrocystic breasts are fairly common; more than half of women experience fibrocystic breast changes at some point in their lives. Medical professionals stopped using the term fibrocystic breast disease because fibrocystic breasts are not considered a disease. FIGURE. Fibrocystic breast illustrating fibroadenoma. Etiology The causes of fibrocystic breasts are not well understood, but they are linked to the hormonal changes associated with ovarian activity. There is a tendency for fibrocystic breasts to run in families. Signs and Symptoms There may be widespread lumpiness or a localized mass, us...
Fibrocystic breasts: Symptoms and causes Overview Fibrocystic breast changes. Fibrocystic breast changes lead to the development of fluid-filled round or oval sacs (cysts) and more prominent scar-like (fibrous) tissue, which can make breasts feel tender, lumpy or ropy. Fibrocystic breasts are composed of tissue that feels lumpy or rope-like in texture. Doctors call this nodular or glandular breast tissue. It's not at all uncommon to have fibrocystic breasts. More than half of women experience fibrocystic breast changes at some point in their lives. In fact, medical professionals have stopped using the term "fibrocystic breast disease" and now simply refer to "fibrocystic breasts" or "fibrocystic breast changes" because having fibrocystic breasts isn't really a disease. Breast changes categorized as fibrocystic are considered normal. Although many women with fibrocystic breasts don't have symptoms, some women experience breast pain, tenderness and lumpiness — especially in the upper, outer area of the breasts. Breast...