Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Breasts,Hormones and Menopause

Did you know that your breasts have a monthly cycle too? Not only do our uteruses slough off old cells every month, but the ducts and glands in our breasts are also going through a monthly flux, according to this article written by the doctors at

I find it fascinating that we know so little about our own bodies, and am grateful to the dedicated scientists who are doing research to discover how we can maintain optimal health for all our parts.

I have been going to get yearly mamograms since the age of 45, because of a maternal aunt who had breast cancer. It's a special clinic in Montreal with high quality thermograph machines as well as the 'breast squishing' radiation.

While I want to care about my health, and have yearly check-ups with a GP, this past year I cancelled the mammogram. Every two years will give me less radiation exposure, and I will continue with the monthly self-exam.

Plus, in the above linked article, I discovered some self-care tips that I can do at home to take care of 'the girls'.

First of all, get to know them, their lumps and bumps, and if you have fibrocystic breasts, know that you can even give them a nice massage to help with the cleansing and circulation of lymph in the body.

At menopause the hormones are stabilizing, and so you may have fewer symptoms of bloating and swelling with pain.

But if you have breast pain, evening primorose oil has been shown to be helpful.
A diet lower in animal fat and processed meats, with no trans fats, and organic dairy, eggs and meat will promote good breast health.

Things to avoid: salt, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, (tea also). White sugar and flour, natch.
Things to increase: veggies, fruit, fiber from whole grains, beans and seeds.
Natural diuretics: cucumbers, celery and parsley.
Multi-vitamins, and daily exercise to keep the lymph circulating in the body.

Most of this is well-known and common sense.

One thing the article brings up is the role of iodine in our diets - and since our thyroids are acting up sometimes at menopause, it may be a good idea to get your iodine levels tested as well. (read the article for a full explanation).

Most of all, love your breasts and treat them tenderly, not with fear, as you check them each month. Soon there may be a blood test for breast cancer, so we won't need this ritual, which is sometimes a bit fear inducing.

take good care,

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