Fibrocystic disease of the breast is the result of many physiological changes that take place in a woman’s breast over a long period of time. These changes include fibrosis or scar tissue formation, cystic changes (fluid filled vesicles or sacs within the breast) and inflammatory changes including the accumulation of fluid within the breast. This process starts at puberty with the onset of menarche and more or less ends with menopause. Much research has gone into the causes of fibrocystic breast disease and its prevention. As the changes that take place in the breast are a part of the menstrual cycle, there is only a limited use of medication in this condition. In fact, medicines can only control some of the severe symptoms of this condition. However, there are a number of preventive measures, advised by experts in this field. These preventive steps and natural remedies may have some measure of effectiveness in controlling the progress and symptoms of the disease but certainly don’t represent a cure. Indeed, it is advisable for women to consult a physician before attempting some of the more drastic methods described below. However, many women have found these remedies effective over time.
The reduction in consumption of dietary fats is one of the commonly advocated preventive measures for fibrocystic breast disease. The mechanism of this mode of diet control is poorly understood. Studies show that reduced fat intake causes general improvement in the symptoms of fibrocystic breast disease. Another important factor that helps relieve breast pain and lumpiness is consuming large amounts of water or fluids daily. This may reduce inflammatory processes and accumulation of toxic material within the breast. Reduction of salt intake is also recommended by many experts in the field. The exact mode of action of salt intake reduction is unknown. Others advise avoiding sweets, and chocolates in particular.
There is much interest in the reduction of acidic foods in the diet of a patient of fibrocystic breast disease. It is found that acidic foods provoke stronger inflammatory responses within a woman’s body and in the fibrocystic breasts too. Hence, it is advisable to consume less or little animal products and more of fresh fruits and vegetables. This simple change in eating habits creates a more neutral pH in the blood (reduction of acidity in the blood). Another important point of note is to avoid use of alcohol and tobacco related products. The total avoidance of caffeine from the diet can also help reduce the blood acidity. Thus fibrocystic breast patients should avoid tea and coffee in their diet. The consumption of fishes like salmon, mackerel and herring are also found to be useful in improving the pH of the blood. It has been found that omega-3 fatty oils in these fishes have a favorable impact on the woman’s breast, possibly having an anti-inflammatory effect. It has also been found that flavonoids and foods containing these substances are useful in reducing breast inflammation.
For further information see Fibrocystic Breast Disease.