Breast cysts are fluid-filled round or ovoid masses. Breast cysts can present as symptomatic masses you can feel or as microcysts, which aren’t usually felt, but are usually found as an abnormality on an breast imaging exam. Cysts usually prompt women to seek medical attention.
- They occur more commonly in premenopausal vs postmenopausal women with peak incidence between 35 and 50 years of age.
- A breast cyst is suspected by either physical finding of a palpable breast mass or an abnormal imaging finding (most commonly mammogram). A breast cyst is diagnosed by breast ultrasound, which also classifies it as simple, complicated, or complex. The sonographic appearance helps guide clinical management.
- Simple cysts, clustered simple micro-cysts, and most complicated cysts are benign (not cancerous) and no intervention is needed. Fine needle aspiration (FNA) is only performed if the simple cyst is inflamed or infected.
- Complicated cysts are rarely cancerous, but some types of complicated cysts should be followed with imaging and examination every six months for one year to make sure there is no change in the cyst. If the cyst decreases in size after one year of follow up imaging, no further follow up is needed. Cysts that do not improve require further follow-up every six months. Core needle biopsy (CNB) is indicated if the cyst increases in size or changes in characteristics on repeat imaging.
How to reduce breast pain and cysts:
- Correct estrogen dominance. Take milk thistle or DIM to lower estrogen, add Chaste berry (also known as Vitex) to increase progesterone levels, avoid meats and milks that have been treated with hormones, avoid heating foods in plastic containers and avoid using mineral oil products on your skin. Dosing for milk thistle caps is around 600 mg daily. DIM dosing is 100 mg twice daily. One example of a Vitex product is Gaia Herbs Vitex Berry. Take 2 capsules (1000 mg) once daily every day except on days when you are having your period. https://www.gaiaherbs.com/products/vitex-berry?gclid=CjwKCAjwlZf3BRABEiwA8Q0qq9W-GBbXOYedVOjgFd62mTRvCB1rpGP11Crnbk_hPGmZI_RXVS9cRRoCf8oQAvD_BwE
- Iodine 1000-3000 mcg daily. One brand is Violet which contains 3000 mcg of iodine and some selenium. Anyone who has thyroid disease, is pregnant or nursing should check with their provider before starting iodine.
- Evening primrose oil 1000 to 3000 mg daily
- Vit E 400 iu daily
- Vitamin B6 100 mg daily. Do not take more than 100 mg daily since this B vitamin can cause neurotoxicity (toxicity of the nervous system) in higher doses.
- Decrease Caffeine intake
- Lower saturated fats in your diet.
- Wear a sports bra or firm support bra
- Use hot or cold compresses
- OTC pain relievers like Tylenol, Advil or Aleve
You do NOT have to take ALL of these supplements to help with symptoms. You can start with one or two to see if that regimen helps. I DO recommend making the lifestyle changes!