15 Aug Naturopathic Tips for Improving Overall Breast Health at Menopause
Breast Changes and Menopause
As you transition through menopause, you may experience a variety of related symptoms. Some may occur infrequently, and others daily. The intensity of your symptoms can also fluctuate from mild or moderate, to severe.
All of these symptoms occur because of hormone imbalance. Approximately 10-25 percent of women will continue to have significant symptoms beyond menopause.
Noticing changes in your breasts?
As you age, you expect gravity to affect your breasts. But did you know that hormone imbalances play a role as well? High levels of estrogen can make your breasts feel sore and may lead to lumps and cysts.
That’s why it’s especially important that have annual clinical breast exams and schedule your screening mammograms according to your risk profile. You should know your breasts best, so get in the habit of performing monthly self-exams. A good tip is to do your own exam right after you’ve seen your health care provider, so you can feel what is normal for you. If you notice a change, don’t panic. Bring it to the attention of your health care provider right away. Early detection of breast cancer can mean a better outcome.
Solutions: What you can do to ease your midlife symptoms
Be sure to schedule an exam with me or your health care provider to discuss changes in your breasts. You may also want to try some of these helpful tips for improving your overall health and restoring hormone balance. More specific remedies can be discussed at your appointment.
- Eat a healthier diet, free of processed foods. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, where the most nutritious foods are found. Check the labels and avoid foods that are loaded with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), refined carbohydrates and sodium (salt). All can contribute to more imbalance symptoms.
- Practice portion control. Honor your cravings, but do so in moderation.
- Eat at least five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit each day. The more colorful ones are packed with valuable nutrients. Dark green and leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and collards have been shown to help in memory recall and other mental functions.
- Choose organic whenever possible to avoid preservatives, pesticides, hormones and other substances that disrupt hormone balance.
- Whole foods are healthiest, so pick the orange instead of the orange juice. You will get more hormone rebalancing nutrients and fiber to keep you healthy.
- Limit your caffeine intake; drink less coffee and soda.
- Drink more pure water and green tea.
- Load up on berries that packed with anti-oxidants blueberries, blackberries, cranberries and strawberries. Fresh or frozen, they reduce oxidative stress which assaults the cells of the body. So, “berry up” to reduce inflammation and improve your brain cell signaling.
- Avoid saturated and trans fats and choose olive oil, unadulterated nuts and seeds, and avocados.
- Choose foods high in Vitamin C red peppers, oranges, pine nuts, sunflower seeds. Great for skin protection, leading to fewer wrinkles and less skin dryness overall.
- Boost your omega-3s a beneficial fatty acid found in oily fishes, walnuts and flaxseed oils.
- Spice up your diet with herbs that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties turmeric (also known as curcumin), garlic, rosemary, and cayenne.
- Go for a walk, take the stairs and park farther away. Exercise gets your endorphins moving and helps alleviate symptoms associated with menopause.
- If you’re a smoker, seek the support you need to quit. On average, women who smoke experience menopause symptoms two years earlier than non-smokers. And smokers’ symptoms are often stronger and more troublesome.
- Chemical disruptors can also throw off your balance, so avoid perfumes and go fragrance-free.
- Make time to do the things you love, whether it’s relaxing with a good book or pursuing a favorite hobby.
- Get your life in order; getting rid of clutter can reduce your overall stress and help you manage midlife challenges.
- Reduce your stress with massage therapy, join a yoga class or meditate.
- Get more rest and a better night’s sleep.
- Speak with me about herbal therapy and topical lymphagogue ointments.
- Ask about black cohosh, and other herbs that have helped women with breast tenderness and other symptoms of menopause. If you’re interested in trying herbs, you can learn more about the MenoBalance formula in the Supplement section.
- See me or your health care provider for a comprehensive exam and full assessment of your overall physical, mental and emotional health.
- Ask me about evaluating your hormone levels, thyroid and adrenals.
- Increasing your intake of B, particularly vitamins B6 can be very helpful.
You are unique, so your provider should create an individualized plan for you detailing the type, timing and dosage of your therapy.
If you or someone you know is looking for support with managing hormone or breast changes, drop me a line on the “contact us” page on this site. I treat patients locally at my Naturopathic practice in Vancouver, B.C. and worldwide via phone or Skype.
To your best health!
Dr Tasnim Adatya
Naturopathic Physician, Menopause Clinician, Acupuncturist, and Health Educator