Breast Care

Breasts usually undergo several changes on a regular basis. As a woman, you can see the differences in your breasts during various phases of life, such as the onset of a menstrual cycle, menopause, pregnancy, breast feeding, and so on. Unfortunately, some of these changes could have an adverse impact on your breasts. To reduce the risks of any such problems, it is important for you to follow a proper breast care routine as early as possible.

Data shows that there is a significant rise in the number of breast cancer cases reported each year. Studies also indicate that around 1 of 8 women in the U.S. develops invasive breast cancer at some point during her life. This means that this disease is prevalent in around 12% of all the women in the country. The worst part is that around 70% to 80% of all the breast cancer instances occur in those women who have no family history of this disease. However, breast cancer is not the only disease that women need to worry about, though it is probably the most serious. Several other breast-related problems are quite critical too and should be treated immediately. Waste no time in consulting your health care provider in case you notice any abnormal changes in your breasts like the appearance of cysts and lumps, bleeding or discharge from the nipples, dimpling or puckering, hardening or thickening of the skin and pulling in of the nipple to name a few.

Most health experts advise women to go in for mammograms and physical checkups on a regular basis, once they cross the age of 35. If your results are clear, you can repeat the test once every two years. However, if the test reports indicate that you are indeed at a high risk for breast cancer or other breast-related diseases, you need to take these tests more frequently.

Undergoing regular breast checkups is only one part or a breast care regime. Apart from that, you also need to follow other important breast-care steps like wearing a proper bra, washing your undergarment every day and engaging in certain breast exercises.

Symptoms of Breast Disorder

There are a few signs that are indicative of breast problems. Given below are a few symptoms of breast related problems that should never be ignored:

  • The appearance of a lump in the breast or the underarm, which does not go away even upon completion of the menstrual cycle. The lumps may be quite painless, but could lead to a prickly sensation in the breast.
  • A swelling that is seen in the armpit
  • The presence of soreness and tenderness in the breast
  • An indentation or flattening in the breast, which is quite noticeable. This could be an indication of a tumor that is neither seen nor felt.
  • Changes in the breast, which could pertain to size, texture, temperature or even the contour. The texture of the skin may turn pitted and can resemble the peel of an orange. The skin also turns a bit reddish in color.
  • Alterations in the appearance of the nipple, where it gets an indrawn, or a dimpled look.
  • Severe discomfort in the breast area, caused by burning sensation, itchiness or ulcerations
  • Scaling of the skin that surrounds the nipples (only in case of Paget’s disease)
  • The appearance of an unusual discharge from the nipples. This discharge could be clear or bloody.
  • The presence of a marble-like area just below the skin, which is quite different from the skin on either side of the breast.

It is not necessary that all these symptoms appear in case of breast problems. Some women may not even see any of these signs or symptoms, till the problem reaches an advanced stage. Also do note that these symptoms are not always an indication of breast cancer. Some of them could be a result of other, simpler breast problems.

Causes of Breast Disorder

It is difficult to determine what the exact causes for breast problems could be, especially when it comes to breast cancer. This is because breast cancer is quite common even in those women who have no family history of this problem. Nevertheless, women who are at a high risk for any breast related problem should start following more stringent breast care routines. However, breast cancer is not the only problem that can affect a woman’s breast. Given below are some of the other common breast problems that should be avoided through an effective breast care routine:

  • Fibroid Adenoma: Lumps in younger girls and women, who are between the ages of 15 and 30, could be caused by a fibroid adenoma. These are solid lumps that comprise of fibrous tissue swirls and compressed breast ducts. They are usually painless and can occur because of hormonal changes.
  • Breast Cysts: In most cases, discreet lumps on the breasts are caused by cysts. On several occasions, these cysts do not cause any problems; in fact many women do not even realize that they have cysts, till they go in for an ultrasound. Several types of cysts do not need to be treated. However, in case your cyst is too uncomfortable or large, you can ask your doctor to withdraw the fluid with a needle.
  • Mastalgia (Pain in the Breasts): This can be quite an annoying problem, but fortunately, it is not usually a serious one. Many women undergo mastalgia for a couple of days every month, just before a menstrual period. Breast tissues are quite sensitive because of hormonal changes at this time and breast pain on such occasions is quite normal. However, if the pain continues even after the menstrual period finishes, then it could be an indication of a major problem and should not be left unchecked or untreated.

Some of the other common breast problems also include nipple inversion or discharge, as well as breast infections.

Remedies for Breast Disorder

It is absolutely essential to ensure that breast problems are not addressed in any way, without first undergoing a physical exam and identifying what the possible causes could be. Only once the doctor confirms that the breast related problems are not a major cause of concern can they be treated, using home and natural remedies. In fact, it is important to consult a doctor before using any of the remedies, or else they could have an adverse effect on the body. Given below are some of the most widely recommended natural remedies for breast problems:

  • Gingko Biloba: This herb is believed to increase circulation of the blood to all parts of the body, including the breast area. Therefore, this herb is quite useful in reducing breast swelling and heaviness.
  • Angus Castus: Also known as chaste-tree berry, this herb is said to have a positive impact on the breast. Angus castus can help balance female hormones and that is why it is recommended in the treatment of breast tenderness.
  • Evening Primrose Oil: It is said that the application of this oil can help elevate breast pain to a great extent.

While some of these herbs are recommended by herbalists and holistic healers, there are no clinical studies to prove the effectiveness of these natural remedies in the treatment of breast related problems. In fact some of them could have an adverse effect on the body, if they are used incorrectly. It is also suggested that the use of these herbs should be avoided by those women who are on the pill, are taking fertility drugs, are undergoing Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), or are on any form of hormone treatment and medication.

Diet for Breast Disorder

A healthy diet has a positive impact on the overall health of your entire body, which can also include the breasts. There is no specific diet for breast care, but it is important to follow a healthy and nutritious diet at all times. Given below are some of the dietary recommendations for good breast health:

  • Increasing the intake of foods that are high in Vitamin E, like almonds, oatmeal, soybean, leafy greens and wheat germ, to name a few
  • Eating a higher amount of foods that are rich in Vitamin B, such as salmon, trout, cod, beef, pork, turkey, milk, cheese, muesli, bran flakes, beans, whole grains and many varieties of fruits and vegetables.

Follow a diet that is high in fiber, which means that you need to eat foods like brown rice, corn, oats, whole wheat, peppers, dry herbs, spices, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, almonds, pistachios and beans, to name a few.

It is also best to avoid high-fat and salty foods, along with alcohol and caffeine, for best breast health.

Suggestion for Breast Dsiorder

There are several tips and suggestions for breast care that can help prevent breast problems. Given below are a few suggestions for good breast health:

  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day each day
  • Maintain a healthy weight at all times
  • Wear a proper bra, which supports your breast properly.
  • Schedule regular checkups and doctor’s visits and go through tests regularly.
  • Limit the consumption of alcohol and other unhealthy food
  • Quit unhealthy practices like cigarette smoking or taking illegal drugs

In case you are on any medications for the treatment of any condition, you should let your doctor know about it, as some of these medicines can trigger off breast problems. Never change or alter your medication without getting a doctor’s approval first.

Breast Care Treatments - more information
Breast Care - Frequently asked questions