Fibrocystic breast is a benign breast condition that affects 60-90% of women. Fibrocystic breast tissue changes cyclically in response to hormonal fluctuations associated with the menstrual cycle.
About eight years ago I had a golf ball sized lump on my right breast. My doctor did a breast ultrasound and wanted to follow up with a biopsy within two weeks. I decided to give myself three months to do self-care first to see if I could make a change. I’m not recommending that anyone should postpone a prescribed biopsy. With breast lumps, it’s always best to get a diagnosis before moving on to a treatment plan! The decision for me to wait on the biopsy is what felt right to me personally at the time. The biopsy recommendation was a wake-up call and it felt right to do the self-care before moving forward with the biopsy procedure.
After doing the following self-care for three months, I returned for another ultrasound. The doctor told me “it looks like a totally different breast, the lump is no longer there!”
Here’s a summary of what I did.
My heart’s desire: I feel this was the most important step for me. I always look at the mind-body connection when dealing with my physical ailments. If we consistently deny our deepest desires and inner knowing, the body will eventually speak up.
Breasts are symbolic of nurturance and symbolize protection of our heart space. At the time of my breast lump, I was in a relationship where I was over nurturing others and receiving little nurturance myself. I also knew I was putting my heart at risk by being with a man who couldn’t be trusted. The relationship wasn’t healthy, but I stayed in it for too long and ignored my heart’s desire to leave. Finally, when I got up the courage to leave, it felt like “a weight was lifted off my chest.”
But, the physical body takes longer to catch up to emotional and energetic shifts, so I also incorporated the following supportive care.
The oil that heals: a palm full (about 1T) of castor oil mixed with a 1 tsp of poke root oil and 1 tsp of calendula oil. I applied the oil to my breast as soon as I stepped out of the shower five days a week for 2 months. I then put a camisole on that I didn’t mind staining (castor oil will stain clothes). When I had time I also applied a castor oil pack over my breasts at night with the above combination.
Poke Root: actions: “Poke root has been traditionally used to stimulate the immune system, relieve lymph congestion, and resolve lumps and cysts, and by extension, has been widely applied topically for the treatment of fibrocystic breasts.” Dr. Aviva Romm, MD, herbalist, and midwife. Botanical Medicine for Women’s Heath
Caution: Poke Root is toxic and can lead to contact dermatitis if handled in large amounts and should not be taken internally, unless under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider.
Calendula is anti-inflammatory and is used as a lymphatic. Calendula salve or infused oil (not essential oil) is great for areas “where the sun doesn’t shine”.
Ginger poultices would also be nice to stimulate flow through the breasts.
According to Chinese Medicine, the Liver controls all flows in the body and how we flow through life. I think of fibrocystic breasts or fibroids in general as a lack of flow. The liver is responsible for processing all the hormones in the body including estrogen. So, in my opinion, what’s good for the liver is good for the breasts. Read more about Liver Chi Nei Tsang here.
I also did the Qigong in the Medical Qigong For Treating Breast Disease DVD.
There are dietary considerations worth looking at, so do your research and talk to a Functional Nutrition Practitioner.
Some studies say there is a correlation between methylxanthine intake (caffeine, theobromine and theophylline) and some say there isn’t (go figure). However, many women report significant improvement in their symptoms when they eliminate caffeinated beverages and chocolate.
The same goes for Evening Primrose Oil and Vitamin E studies have not been consistent, but some women report significant improvement after taking.
Indications supported by clinical trials suggest Vitex has been useful in treating Fibrocystic Breast. Source 1-Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine, 2e by Simon Mills & Kerry Bone
You may also want to check out Pooping For Hormonal Health. Enhance the clearance of estrogen by optimizing bowel and liver function! “Get this, the liver inactivates estrogen by a process called conjugation, but if you have a gut flora imbalance, the nasty buggers can deconjugate the estrogen making then active again and cause estrogen excess!”
Conventional medicine may recommend eliminating caffeine and cigarette smoking. As well as hormonal modulation and analgesics.
Breast Health and Movement: