Natural home remedies: Breast tenderness

As sure as the moon has phases, breast discomfort waxes and wanes. Try these natural home remedies to help relieve breast tenderness

Natural home remedies: Breast tenderness

Natural home remedies for breast tenderness

Here are some home-based approaches to ease the unpleasantness hatched by your hormones. Vitamins, herbs and oils keep fluid retention in check and coax your hormones into a breast-friendly balance (more progesterone, less estrogen). And a few dietary changes will help you get some bothers off your chest.

What you can do for breast tenderness

  • When you’re in the shower, soap your breasts and gently massage them from the centre of your chest out to your armpits. This improves blood circulation and the drainage of lymph, the clear fluid that carries infection-fighting agents through your body.
  • Wrap a towel around a bag of ice cubes or frozen vegetables and apply it to each breast for about 10 minutes. The cold-pack treatment reduces swelling and dulls the pain.
  • Consider wearing support bras instead of underwire bras when your breasts are tender. You may want to wear your bra to bed to reduce nighttime jostling. When you try on a new bra, make sure it cups your breasts without pinching. Once you have new, more comfortable bras, throw away the stretched-out old ones that just don’t provide the right support anymore.
  • Eat more soybeans and other soy foods. Soy contains hormonelike compounds called phytoestrogens that can influence hormonal fluctuations related to menstruation and menopause. Try some soy-based meat substitutes, or add tofu or soy nuts to your meals. Soy milk is another excellent source; try it in fruit smoothies.
  • Consume plenty of fibre, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes (like lentils and black beans) and whole grains. A study at Tufts University School of Medicine found that women on a higher-fibre diet excreted more estrogen, which helps with breast tenderness.
  • Aim to get less than 30 percent of your calories from fat. Women who live in cultures where low-fat diets are the norm generally have a lower incidence of breast pain.
  • Cut back your intake of hydrogenated oils, found in margarine, packaged baked goods and snack products. When you eat these oils, your body loses some of its ability to convert the fatty acids in your diet (essential to your health) into gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)—a necessary link in a chain reaction that prevents breast tissue from becoming painful.
  • Reduce your consumption of methylxanthine, a component of many common foods, including coffee, cola, tea, wine, beer, bananas, chocolate, cheese, peanut butter, mushrooms and pickles. Most women who endure painful lumps on a cyclical basis will improve if they cut way back on, or eliminate, foods that are high in this compound.
  • Watch your intake of sodium. Sodium increases water retention, which causes your breasts to swell. Be especially careful to keep a cap on your salt consumption starting about two weeks before your period.

A natural boost for treatment of breast tenderness

  • Dandelion is a natural diuretic. Take the herb in capsule form, or make a tea using powdered dandelion root. Simmer two to three teaspoons of the powder in a cup of water for 15 minutes. Drink three cups a day.
  • Try evening primrose oil, a traditional herbal remedy for premenstrual symptoms. It contains an essential fatty acid GLA that may help balance a woman’s hormones and seems to ease cyclical breast tenderness.
  • Vitamins E and B6 may also work together to help prevent breast tenderness. While you may have to use supplements, you can boost the vitamins in your diet by eating nuts, barley and wheat germ for more vitamin E, and avocados, lean meats and spinach for plenty of B6.
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Adapted from 1,801 Home Remedies, Reader's Digest

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