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Fibrocystic Breast Condition


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Hi Ladies~

I was wondering if any of you have any experience with or knowledge of fibrocystic breast condition. I'll try to do a brief re-cap of what I've been through.

The only time I ever took hormonal birth control was for about 6 months when my husband and I first got married. I have ALWAYS had awful periods that included cravings, lethargy, and severe mood swings, but after the birth control, I now had breast pain every month. I had a benign fibroadenoma removed from my left breast a few years ago and it was confirmed at that time that I do have fibrocystic breast tissue. My mom does not have this but my dad's sisters do. I've been told they are "dense." Anyways, the pain has been at times almost unbearable. I have gone to several doctors in tears asking why I hurt so bad every month and the usual response is that it's normal and I should try ibuprofen. I hated wearing a bra before my period and sometimes the pain would last 10 days leading up to my period...basically starting after ovulation.

Fast forward to the birth of our daughter. One doctor had told me that my body might "re-set" after pregnancy and it seemed that it did. I weaned her in July of 2011 and did not have the cyclical soreness after that. The pms still sucked but at least that part was gone. Fast forward again. On May 6th of this year, we had a miscarriage. I have since had 2 periods and guess what - the soreness is back. Last month, 8 days worth, this month, only a couple so far. But I hate it. I attempted my first "whole 30" type challenge with a local cross-fit gym around Thanksgiving 2011 and almost made it to the end but stopped short when my husband had emergency surgery and an extended hospital stay. I then made it about half way through a 2nd challenge a few months ago. Each time I do well, feel GREAT, and then pms comes and all I want is chocolate cake and chips. (sugar and salt.) I am able to control my eating during pms more so when my boobs aren't killing me but when they are, junk is all I want, partly because I feel so yuck.

I have done so much reading about this and have heard about estrogen dominance/progesterone deficiency and am wondering if that is what I have. My levels have never been tested though. I have always been physically active, running, lifting weights, and tried to eat well. The past few weeks I've been trying to get back to a more paleo way of eating and definitely feel better when I do. I'm also not overweight at 5'7" and 120 pounds. I would actually like to gain a few pounds...of muscle!

So, I'm wondering if this recent miscarriage has "re-set" my body again. Has anyone else dealt with this or found relief from it by following a strick "whole 30" way of eating?

Thanks so much!

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I don't have this problem normally but a few months ago, stumbled across some info on it and an iodine deficiency. Do you use iodized salt, eat seaweed, or thought about talking to your doctor about supplementing? that may not be your issue but might be something to consider if you haven't already.

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Thank you ladies. I don't drink caffeine, really ever. I might have some herbal tea now and then but other than that it's water. I have heard of the Iodine connection as well and I do use iodized salt. Things I have read that are "supposed" to help:

- reducing caffeine

- reducing consumption of animal products

- low fat diet (heavy in plants)

- vitamine E

- reducing salt

I have tried the vitamin E and some evening primrose oil with no results. My only form of caffeine would be chocolate during pms and my period...I do love me some chocolate and I'm ok with dark. I crave sugar/carbs like crazy after ovulation. Obviously the low fat recommendations seem silly after reading "It Starts with Food." I know that switching from conventionally raised meat might help but with our current budget, it would be hard.

I'm so frustrated with this. I forgot to mention in my first post that with my daugther and this 2nd pregnancy where we miscarried, my progesterone levels were low both times. They had me supplement through the 1st tri with my daugther. I don't know if this pain would go away with a super clean diet or if progesterone is the answer. I think I need to have my OB-GYN test my levels....

The pain is ridiculous. Lumpy, tender, awful where it hurts to have anything pressing against it. I'm a pretty healthy 29 year old in my thoughts and I have been making an effort to eat meat, veggies, fruits, and healthy fat. Those last 2 weeks of my cycle are where it all goes downhill.


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I wanted to add that the resource I had for the FCB/iodine connection a book by Dr. Brownstein called "Iodine: Why you need it and why you can't live without it". Iodized salt may not be enough to make a dent in a deficiency, and lots of things like fluoride in water and bromide as an additive in bread and other foods can essentially clog your iodine receptors, making your body even more deficient. Again, I'm not implying that's the cause, but something to investigate further. If you discus this with your doc and he tells you you're getting enough iodine through iodized salt but doesn't test, I'd be a bit cautious about such a broad statement. I know there's testing but I don't know how common it is from a traditional doc. An informal test involves putting some iodine on your skin and seeing how quickly it absorbs. The faster it absorbs, the more hungry your body is for it. Seaweed is a great source for it.

Regardless, I think it's worthwhile to have your progesterone levels tested if they're low. It's possible to raise progesterone levels by diet alone, but it might be nice to get a baseline and talk about other options. Do you have a 12-14 day luteal phase, or is it shorter?

I really feel for you and hope you get some relief! I have minor breast pain every now and then but since I started the Whole30, they HURT! I can't imagine going through that every month. :(

(Oh, and that carb craving between ovulation and your period? The female body is hard-wired to assume you're pregnant and it needs lots of energy and nutrients - so you eat a lot and digestion is slowed down so the body can absorb more.)

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I feel your pain...hormones are not fun when they get out of whack. We are not doctors, so I will always defer you to their advice. I do think eating a whole30 will help you regulate your hormones naturally (it helped me!). If nothing else, you can't argue with all the other benefits of eating clean. Bottome line, eating w30 will not leave the situation worse off.

I agree with Karen in getting you Progesterone levels checked. I also recommend seeking out a holistic or natural medicine doctor in your area that supports a paleo way of eating. About two years ago, when I went to my OB/GYN for some tests I found out that I was not producing any estrogen or progesterone (aka no cycle). The OB/GYN told me that the only option was to take the pill. A few months later, after no improvement, I went to a functional medicine doctor who worked with me on finding the source of the problem (hint: I was not eating enough fat and calories to support my activity level). After working with her for a few months, my hormones are back and I have a normal cycle. You want to be able to balance your hormones, if possible, through whole foods and not synthetics.

Keep eating those good fats and don't be scared of a little extra sweet potato and fruit right before your period. We would much rather you eat a large sweet potato than dive face first into some chocolate cake thanks to your period coming on. For more info on PMS and cravings, check out this thread http://forum.whole9life.com/topic/46-pms-and-carbohydrate-cravings/

Keep us updated! This forum is empowered by each of us sharing our struggles, what we learned, and how we eventually conquered them. You have no idea how many women you could be helping by sharing your story. You are not alone.

Take care!

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I have quit drinking Coffee and eating Soy. When I am really strict about the Soy and all if its by-products...I start feeling better. I have had Uterine fibroids....and a doctor did some research and found soy is linked to Estrogen receptors. It can make for Estrogen overload. It's interesting but makes sense.

Estrogen overload is linked to many problems as well. I am still reading more about it and asking questions....

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  • 1 month later...

I have quit drinking Coffee and eating Soy. When I am really strict about the Soy and all if its by-products...I start feeling better. I have had Uterine fibroids....and a doctor did some research and found soy is linked to Estrogen receptors. It can make for Estrogen overload. It's interesting but makes sense.

Estrogen overload is linked to many problems as well. I am still reading more about it and asking questions....

Have you had any reduction in fibroid size after making the changes? I'm curious, because I'd love to find a natural way to diminish mine as well.

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