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Breast Health and Concerns

Some of the problems women experience with their breasts.

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As with the rest of the body, breasts are susceptible to changes and health problems. Therefore every woman needs to know about her breasts so as to be able to appreciate how they change and to know when to get advice.

Common problems include:

  • Fibrocystic breast changes are the most common, these include lumpiness, thickening and swelling which often occurs in the days before her period.
  • Cysts; these are fluid-filled lumps which may come and go, but need to be monitored for changes.
  • Fibroadenomas feel like solid, round, rubbery lumps that move easily when pushed. These occur commonly in younger women and need to be monitored for changes.
  • Ingrown nipples; these rarely pose a health risk but need to be cleaned carefully.
  • Intraductal papillomas; these are growths similar to warts occurring near the nipples.
  • Blocked milk ducts
  • Milk production when a woman is not breastfeeding
  • Cancer
  • Nipple hair which is normal but you may not like it.
  • Uneven breasts - that is breasts of differing size 

Fibrocystic breast changes
Many women experience breast tenderness, lumpiness, thickening and swelling to some degree during during the second half of their menstrual cycle and discomfort is often attributed to PMS.  Fibrocystic changes are painful, lumpy breasts. Fibrocystic breast changes do not increase your risk of breast cancer. Symptoms are usually worse right before your menstrual period, and then improve after your period starts.

But for some women breast pain can be debilitating and it may also be symptomatic of:

  • Body and life imbalance
  • PMS - PMS is symptomatic of poor heath
  • Malnutrition
  • Excess caffeine, alcohol or drugs
  • Bra wearing - or a badly fitting bra
  • Stress
  • Injury
  • Infection

Treating and preventing breast pain
Breast pain is often symptomatic of a life style imbalance and it's a signal that you need to stop and have a rest.

  • Avoid caffeine and all processed foods
  • Eat a healthy organic diet
  • Stop wearing a bra
  • Exercise and massage your breasts regularly - 2 x daily
  • If self treatment does not help within a few days, see your medical practitioner.

Cysts and lumps
A breast lump is a swelling, unusual growth, or lump in the breast. Breast lumps in both men and women raise concern for breast cancer, even though most lumps are not cancer.  Lumps in a woman are often caused by fibrocystic changes, fibroadenomas, and cysts.

  • Fibroadenomas are noncancerous lumps that feel rubbery. They move easily inside the breast tissue. Like fibrocystic changes, they occur most often during the reproductive years. Usually, they are not tender. Except in rare cases, they do not become cancerous later. A doctor can feel during an exam whether a lump is a fibroadenoma. The only way to be sure, however, is to remove or biopsy the lump. Some lumps may be cysts Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that often feel like soft grapes. These can sometimes be tender, especially just before your menstrual period.

Other causes of breast lumps include:

  • Breast cancer
  • Injury -- sometimes if your breast is badly bruised, there will be a collection of blood that feels like a lump. These lumps tend to get better on their own in a few days or weeks. If they do not improve, your doctor may have to drain the blood.
  • Lipoma -- a collection of fatty tissue
  • Milk cysts (sacs filled with milk) and infections (mastitis), which may turn into an abscess. These typically occur if you are breastfeeding or have recently given birth.

Treating and preventing breast cysts and lumps:

  • Clearly define if it's a lump or a cyst. Both can be cancerous.
  • Avoid caffeine and processed foods
  • Eat a healthy organic diet
  • Don't wear a bra
  • Exercise and massage your breasts regularly
    • If you find any abnormality in your breasts or if you suspect that you are likely to get or have breast cancer, see your medical practitioner. Breast massage

Infections
A breast infection is any infection in the tissue of the breast, usually bacterial. Breast infections usually occur in women who are breastfeeding and any breast infections not related to breastfeeding may be a rare form of breast cancer.

  • Causes may stem from poor hygiene.

Treating and preventing infections
Infections can come from a soiled bra or the things your baby puts in its mouth and the bacterium enters via the milk ducts.

  • Follow a good diet to boost your immune system
  • Practise good hygiene, when nursing, change clothing that contacts your breasts more frequently
  • Completely expel your milk when your child has finished suckling
  • Don't wear a bra
  • Exercise and massage your breasts regularly
  • See your medical practitioner who will likely prescribe antibiotics
  • Continue to breastfeed or to pump to relieve breast engorgement from milk production while receiving treatment
  • Where infections are the result of nipple piercing, you will need to see a doctor and get medication.

In-grown nipples
A condition where the nipple, instead of pointing outward, is retracted or points into the breast. In some cases, the nipple will be temporarily protruded if stimulated, but in others, the inversion remains regardless of stimulus. Women and men can have inverted nipples.

  • Born this way
  • Breast feeding
  • Trauma
  • Breast sagging
  • Infections
  • Major weightloss

Treating ingrown nipples
Either massage or surgery may help. Women with inverted nipples may find that their nipples protract (come out) temporarily or permanently during pregnancy, or as a result of breastfeeding. Most women with inverted nipples who give birth are able to breastfeed without complication, but inexperienced mothers may experience higher than average pain and soreness when initially attempting to breastfeed.

  • In some cases, the nipple will be temporarily protruded if stimulated.
    This would require regular but gentle daily massage over a considerable period of time.
  • In some cases, the nipple may get gooy or smelly, here extra careful and regular cleaning is required.

Fibroadenomas
Fibroadenomas of the breast are lumps composed of fibrous and glandular tissue. Because breast cancer can also appear as a lump, doctors may recommend a tissue sample (biopsy) to rule out cancer in older patients. Unlike typical lumps from breast cancer, fibroadenomas are easy to move, with clearly defined edges.

  • There is no known cause, but a typical case is the presence of a painless, firm, solitary, mobile, slowly growing lump in the breast.

Treating Fibroadenomas
Most doctors would leave such lumps alone unless they are causing any physical or emotional discomfort, however they should be monitored and can be helped by.

  • Not wearing a bra
  • Exercising and massaging your breasts regularly.  Sometimes with massage, small lumps can be reduced and eliminated, but a professional massage therapist should be consulted.

Blocked milk ducts (lactiferous ducts)
Milk ducts are the structures that carry milk toward the nipple in a lactating female and many breast diseases either originate in the milk ducts or are closely related. The first sign of a plugged duct may be a small, hard lump that's sore to the touch or a very tender spot in your breast. Some women also notice redness on their breast. The area may feel hot or swollen, but may feel better after nursing.
Causes include:

  • Injury
  • If you're making milk faster than it's getting expressed, it can get backed up and the tissue around the duct may become  inflamed or swollen.
  • Stress which lowers your body's production of oxytocin, the hormone that causes your breasts to release milk.
  • If your breasts are not getting completely drained of milk on a regular basis.

Treating Blocked milk ducts

  • Don't wear a bra
  • Completely expel your milk when your child has finished suckling
  • Exercise your whole body and massage your breasts regularly.
  • Relax.

Milk production when not breast feeding
It's normal so try not to worry about it. While feeding the stimulation of the nipples by the suckling baby increases the level of prolactin (the milk producing hormone) and keeps the production of milk going.  Once a woman has stopped feeding and her breasts are no longer being stimulated, the prolactin level in the blood falls, and milk production ceases. However, it is not uncommon for women to continue to notice milk from the nipples at various times. While some women lactate only for months, some lactate for years beyond their children's needs.

Causes:

  • Maternal instinct
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Stimulation by the man in your life

Treating milk over production after your child has been weaned

  • Relax
  • See your GP to ascertain your hormone levels are okay
  • Become a wet nurse.
Can I please have reduction surgery?

Can I please have reduction surgery?

Nipple hair
This is not a health issue, it's hereditary. It can be removed with regular plucking, shaving or a hair removal product.

  • Too big - Body sculpting massage combined with diet and exercise can help to reduce bust size; Breast massage.
  • Too small
    Body sculpting massage combined with natural growth stimulants can work wonders to increase bust size.
  • Wrong shape
    massage can affect breast shape; Breast massage.

While there are many health conditions that may affect your breasts, there are times when someone anomalies self correct or will correct with an adjustment to lifestyle and self-care practices.

However it is vitally important that any irregularities that do not self correct within a few days and any problems that seem to be getting worse that you see your health practitioner as soon as possible.

Cancer
This is one of the biggest killers of Western women and there is no one cause or cure. Scientists have identified that the disease may be inherited which means that if other women in your family have or have had breast cancer, there's a chance you may get it too  Treatments include radiation therapy, surgical breast cancer removal and breast removal. Cancers may be caused by:

  • Body and life imbalance
  • Injuries
  • Malnutrition
  • Toxic chemicals in foods and personal care products
  • Excess caffeine, alcohol or drugs
  • Bra wearing - or a badly fitting bra
  • Environmental poisons

Treating and preventing breast cancer
Breast cancer has no known cause and many see it as symptomatic of a serious life imbalance. As a prevention:

  • Avoid caffeine, processed foods
  • Eat a healthy vegetarian, organic diet as vegetarians are less likely to get any cancers
  • Don't wear a bra
  • Exercise and massage your breasts regularly
  • If you find any abnormality in your breasts or if you suspect that you are likely to get or have breast cancer, see your medical practitioner. Medical treatments include vasectomy which is the partial or complete removal of the infected breast, radiation treatment and or chemotherapy.  Non-medical treatments include dietary and vitamin therapy, and lifestyle changes that have been proven to work.
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