Warning: mysqli_select_db() expects exactly 2 parameters, 1 given in /home/healths/public_html/makeconn.php on line 6

Deprecated: mysql_query(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/healths/public_html/includes/qa_check.php on line 23

Warning: mysql_query(): Access denied for user ''@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /home/healths/public_html/includes/qa_check.php on line 23

Warning: mysql_query(): A link to the server could not be established in /home/healths/public_html/includes/qa_check.php on line 23

Warning: mysql_num_rows() expects parameter 1 to be resource, boolean given in /home/healths/public_html/includes/qa_check.php on line 24
Fibrocystic Disease of the Breast

 Categories of Q&A
Genetics & Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer in Men
Signs & Symptoms
Breast Cancer Screening
Side Effects
Side Effects on Sex & Intimacy
Integrative & Alternative Medicine
Health for Women
Q&A for Survivors
 The magazine on:

  • Women's health
  • Breast health
  • Breast cancer
Read for free.
Click here.

Fibrocystic Disease of the Breast  

What is fibrocystic disease of the breast?

An estimated 30% of women in the U.S. have fibrocystic (also called non-proliferative) disease of the breast.[1] When a duct in the breast enlarges and fills with fluid, the collagen-rich tissue around the duct thickens, resulting in fibrocystic disease.[2]

Typically, fibrocystic changes of the breast are soft and mobile, benign (i.e., non-cancerous) lumps, which can make the breasts feel lumpy or bumpy in many pre-menopausal women and many post-menopausal women taking hormone replacement therapy.[3] Also, some pre-menopausal women with fibrocystic disease of the breast experience swelling, tenderness, or pain in their breasts during certain parts of their menstrual cycle. Some women with fibrocystic disease of the breast experience discharge from the nipples.

The following changes in diet, nutritional supplementation, hormonal balancing, and medications have helped some women to prevent, experience a reduction in, and reduce the symptoms of fibrocystic breast disease:[1, 3 - 5]

• Eating an anti-inflammatory diet. Consuming foods that are less acidic can help to make the bloodstream less acidic and more neutral (i.e., in pH), thereby preventing inflammation or reducing the amount of inflammation occurring in the body. Eliminating or reducing alcohol intake and reducing consumption of animal products also can prevent or reduce inflammation. In addition, completely avoiding caffeine can lower inflammation and reduce tenderness and pain associated with fibrocystic breast disease. Furthermore, regularly eating lots of salmon, mackerel, herring, and other cold-water fish that are abundant in omega 3 fish oils; regularly eating flaxseed; and regularly eating foods containing flavonoids can help reduce inflammation.
• Eliminating or reducing consumption of chocolate, which otherwise can aggravate the pain of fibrocystic breast disease
• Reducing intake of salt in the diet
• Reducing intake of dietary fats
• Drinking lots of water
• Regularly taking supplements containing omega 3 fish oils, which can help reduce inflammation
• Regularly taking supplements containing flavonoids, which can help reduce inflammation
• Taking vitamin E supplements daily
• Taking thiamine supplements daily
• Increasing dietary iodine intake by eating more seafood and sea vegetables
• Taking daily oral iodine supplements (e.g., molecular iodine) or daily oral iodide supplements (e.g., potassium iodide)
• Taking supplements containing evening primrose, black currant, or borage oil
• Taking a homeopathic remedy (a dilute solution of a substance from a botanical, mineral, or animal source), such as calcarea carbonica, conium maculatum, or lachesis mutus. See a homeopath, a healthcare professional with experience in homeopathy, for guidance on selection of the proper remedy and the appropriate dose for you.
• Although taking aspirin or ibuprofen can reduce inflammation and relieve the pain of fibrocystic breast disease, first trying nutritional methods to reduce inflammation in the body is recommended.
• For pre-menopausal women experiencing irregular periods, peri-menopausal women, and post-menopausal women, exploring hormonal balancing with guidance from an integrative medical physician or gynecologist experienced in the use of bio-identical hormones and alternative therapies can help reduce the symptoms of fibrocystic breast disease. Natural progesterone cream may be helpful for some women.

A small clinical trial showed that the majority of the women with fibrocystic disease who received daily oral doses of molecular (i.e., diatomic elemental) iodine for 9 months experienced both complete relief from fibrocystic breast pain and less fibrocystic disease of the breast.[4, 5]

Oral iodine used in various clinical studies of prevention and treatment of fibrocystic breast disease include:[4, 5]

• Molecular iodine
• Other oral pharmaceutical preparations of iodine or iodides
• Food-grade iodine

Molecular iodine may be obtained from a compounding pharmacy.[5] Mere use of iodized salt in the diet however, does not constitute appropriate prevention or treatment of fibrocystic breast disease.[1]

Scientists believe that the protective and therapeutic effects of oral iodine and iodides on fibrocystic disease of the breast involve the following mechanisms:[1, 4, 5]

• Preventing or treating iodine deficiency
• Normalizing function of the thyroid
• Making breast cells less sensitive to the effects of estrogen

Larger clinical studies, however, show that treatment with molecular iodine may be associated with certain (and typically minor) side effects, including:[4, 5]

• Temporary increase in pain of the breast
• Headache
• Acne
• Skin rash
• Thinning of the hair
• Nausea
• Diarrhea
• Hyperthyroidism
• Hypothyroidism

Furthermore, the following possible side effects have been reported in people taking pharmaceutical doses of iodine or iodides:[5]

• Skin rash
• Runny nose
• Excess production of saliva
• Metallic taste in the mouth

For guidance on prevention or treatment of fibrocystic disease of the breast, consult your integrative medical physician and gynecologist. Before taking any nutritional supplements or pharmaceuticals for prevention or treatment of fibrocystic breast disease, discuss your medical history with your integrative medical physician, your gynecologist, and your other healthcare professionals.

It is important to note that fibrocystic changes in women who lack strong family histories of breast cancer generally do not increase the women’s chances of getting breast cancer.[2] A few women with fibrocystic breast disease, however, have a relatively rare condition in which these patients are at higher risk for developing breast cancer.[3] Clinical, radiology (e.g., ultrasound and mammography), and laboratory evaluation (i.e., fine needle aspiration biopsy) by a physician can distinguish between the usual type of fibrocystic changes of the breast and rare conditions associated with fibrocystic breast disease.

If you are a pre-menopausal woman, be aware that the feeling of your breasts change during your menstrual cycle. You need to become familiar with how your breasts feel during the various parts of your cycle, so that you recognize what is normal for you.

If you are a post-menopausal woman, you need to become familiar with how your breasts usually feel, so that you recognize what is normal for you.

Regardless of your age as an adult woman, when you become familiar with the normal feeling of your breasts, you will be able to recognize changes when and if they occur. If you are concerned whether any symptoms you are experiencing are due to fibrocystic disease of the breast or other causes, consult your physician for a clinical breast examination and a diagnosis.


1. D. Williams. Other thyroid trouble. Alternatives. 10(24):190.

2. G. Emery. Correction: Benign breast disease, history studied. Reuters. 07/20/05. Accessed at www.reuters.com.

3. C. Scott-Connor. Fibrocystic breast disease: Frequently asked questions. Virtual Hospital. Accessed at www.vh.org/adult/patient/surgery/faq/fibrocysticbreastdisease.html.

4. W.R. Ghent. Iodine replacement in fibrocystic disease of the breast. Canadian Journal of Surgery. 1993; 36:453-460.

5. A.R. Gaby. Iodine treatment of fibrocystic breast disease. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients. 11/04.

Questions Related to Fibrocystic Disease of the Breast
Recently I finished my treatment for breast cancer. When should I get a bone scan?
What are the signs and symptoms of breast cancer?
I found a lump in my breast. What should I do?
What is breast cancer?
What is a breast mass?
Will I die if I get breast cancer?
What percentages of mammograms uncover cancer?
Why do I need a biopsy, if a mammogram has located a mass?
What is a biopsy? What do the results of biopsies mean?
What are the different types of biopsies?
What is a benign tumor?
What is the sentinel lymph node?
What is a sentinel lymph node biopsy?
What is a pathologist?
What are the different categories of mammograms? What do the categories mean?
Which categories of mammogram results should I be concerned about?
What are intra-mammary lymph nodes?
What are calcifications?
What are microcalcifications?
What are macrocalcifications?
What is the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BIRADS)?
What is DCIS?
How is DCIS different from invasive breast cancer?
What is Paget’s disease?
What is inflammatory breast cancer? Why is it so difficult to diagnose?
What are the stages of breast cancer?
What are terms other than the numerical staging categories used for assessing how far the cancer has spread?
What is peau d’orange?
What is ploidy?
What is oncogene overexpression?
What are the characteristics of breast cancers that determine treatment options?
What is HER-2 status?
What are hormone receptors?
What are estrogen receptors? What do they have to do with breast cancer?
My cancer is ER-positive. Is this a good thing?
What is the difference between invasive, infiltrating, and non-invasive breast cancer?
What is meant by a tumor’s margins?
What is LCIS?
What is sclerosing adenosis?
What are the different types of breast cancer?
I have been diagnosed with breast cancer. What questions should I ask my doctor?
I have been diagnosed with breast cancer and am planning to have a mastectomy. I would rather not have to take chemotherapy after the surgery. I heard that there is some sort of a diagnostic test that will show whether or not I need to have chemo. What is this test, and can I take it?
What is nodular adenosis?
What is nodular density in a mammogram?
What is a carcinoma?
What is fibrosis?
What is a malignant tumor?
What is a metastasis? What is a metastatic tumor? What are metastases?
What is a tumor?
What is a fibroadenoma?

Page 1 of 4
   | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Next


is a trademark of HC Search Corporation.