I’m thrilled to say that my wonderful and talented homeopath, Claire Zarb, agreed to write a guest blog post for me, and you. So here it is, thanks Claire!
Painful and tender breasts may not be the most challenging of PMS symptoms, but sore and swollen breasts can make you feel uncomfortable all the same. Breasts feel so heavy and sensitive that something brushing up against you makes you wince and you feel grouchy and vulnerable.
Breast tenderness is also known as cyclical mastalgia (breast pain that’s related to your monthly cycle, rather than something more worrying, like breast cancer). It’s a very common condition in women of a child-bearing age and the pain can vary from a dull ache to a burning or stabbing sensation. In most cases it starts one to three days before your period begins, and improves at the end of your period.
It is thought that the changes in hormone levels before periods begin are linked to cyclical breast pain. The menstrual cycle is controlled by your body releasing hormones, such as oestrogen and hormones are powerful chemicals that have a wide range of effects on the body.
What can you I do about it?
Well, unfortunately there is no magic bullet (*cough, cough* acupuncture! -Maisie), but I do recommend my clients the following supplements and protocols to help manage the pain. I will also prescribe the appropriate homeopathic remedies too.
Things to have more of:
It’s important to balance your hormones throughout your cycle. There are number of ways you can do this but mainly it’s important to eat a balanced and varied diet filled with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables (preferably organic).
You should take regular exercise; aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day. Do a group exercise class, walk instead of taking the bus, take the stairs instead of the lift and stand on public transport instead of sitting. There are lots of ways to be more active that don’t involve long and boring solitary sessions at the gym!
Essential fatty acids like Borage and Evening primrose oil are great for balancing the hormonal system. It’s important you also get a good intake of fibre from sources such as flaxseed and complex carbohydrates (oats, brown rice, beans, vegetables).
A good supportive bra can do wonders for breast pain. Many of us are wearing the wrong bra size, make sure you get yourself properly measured and ensure you have a supportive bra for sports too.
Things to avoid:
Saturated fat and dairy products
A high consumption of saturated animal fats has been shown to increase oestrogen levels which in turn exacerbates PMS symptoms like breast tenderness. This is probably due to the hormones used in livestock farming and milk production (basically, farmers give cows oestrogen to make them grow and get fat).
Chemicals called methylxanthines are found in coffee, tea, chocolate and cola-type drinks, and they cause a dilation of blood vessels and cause fluid to accumulate. This makes the breasts tender and painful, particularly just before your period.
Cut down your table salt intake
Salt (sodium) can aggravate fluid retention and breast pain. Think about the hidden table salt in foods that you eat, such as butter, bread, ready meals, crackers, crisps, canned foods. If you must add some salt to your food, use sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt instead which has a higher mineral content.
One of the side-effects of the contraceptive pill is it makes you more oestrogen-dominant leading to possible breast pain and tenderness.
Homeopathy for breast tenderness:
There are over 50 homeopathic medicines for painful breasts depending on the causation and symptoms. They work best when they fit your individual symptoms so ideally make an appointment to see a qualified homeopath to get the right prescription. Here are just 4 that you might find helpful in the meantime.
Calcarea carbonica – large breasts swollen and tender before periods; the person who needs this remedy has a tendency to be overweight and has heavy periods and uterine fibroids.
Calcarea fluorica – small and hard breast lumps; uterine fibroids; haemorrhoids, varicose veins.
Folliculinum – swollen and painful breasts before periods due to too much oestrogen.
Phytolacca – heavy, hard, swollen and tender breasts; with painful periods and heavy blood flow.
Claire Zarb, LCPH is a qualified homeopathic practitioner based in London and all over the world via Skype. Claire’s company, Happy Homeopathy is aimed at women who wish to gain control of their hormonal health with natural solutions like homeopathy and flower essences. Claire is a regular blogger with a passion for women’s health. Please visit http://www.happyhomeopathy.co.uk for more information and to subscribe.