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Fibrocystic Breasts - Home Treatment

If you have cyclic breast pain that comes and goes with your menstrual cycle or fibrocystic breast changes, home treatment measures may be enough to help you manage any pain or discomfort. (If you have missed a menstrual period and have tender breasts, see your doctor for a pregnancy test before using home treatment.) The following home treatments may be helpful.

  • Wear a supportive bra or sports bra to restrict the motion of tender breasts.
  • Reduce dietary fat to 15% or less of your dietary intake. This may reduce breast pain over time. For most people, though, this is a drastic change in their usual diet. Discuss extreme diet changes with your doctor.
  • Try a nonprescription pain reliever to help relieve pain. Your choices include acetaminophen (Tylenol) or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen. If this does not help, try applying an NSAID cream to your breasts 3 times a day.1 You can get NSAID cream with a prescription from your doctor.

Alternative medicines or supplements may help some women relieve breast tenderness, discomfort, or pain. As with all alternative therapies, it is important to follow the directions on the label. Do not exceed the maximum recommended dose. If you are or could be pregnant, talk with your doctor before taking any medicine or supplement.

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You can buy vitamin and mineral supplements and herbal remedies in drugstores, grocery stores, and health food stores. Be sure to tell your doctor about any alternative medicines or supplements that you may try. Ask him or her how much is safe for you to take. Also be aware that some of these substances may interact with other medicines you are taking.

  • Magnesium. Some women take magnesium supplements to help with certain symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). These supplements may help some women improve PMS mood swings or breast tenderness. But there is no evidence that magnesium relieves breast pain.
  • Vitex (chasteberry). Although the action of vitex (Vitex agnus-castus) on the body isn't well understood, it does seem to change hormone levels that affect ovulation and estrogen production.2 Several months of daily use are usually needed before it relieves symptoms. Possible side effects include acne, itchy skin or rash, nausea, headache, and fatigue.2, 3
  • Avoiding caffeine. Studies have not shown that avoiding caffeine relieves breast pain and generalized lumpiness.4 But some women feel that they have less breast pain and lumpiness when they decrease the amount of caffeine they consume. Removing caffeine from your diet may have other health benefits.
  • Taking vitamin E. There is no evidence that vitamin E relieves breast pain.1
  • Taking medicines that reduce water retention (diuretics). There is no evidence that diuretics relieve breast pain.1
  • Evening primrose oil. The oil of evening primrose is a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid. The latest research has shown that evening primrose oil is no better than a placebo, even after 6 months of treatment for breast pain.1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 28, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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