My breasts get really sore every month near my period. Do you have any suggestions? I’ve already given up caffeine.
Breast pain that comes and goes every month with the menstrual cycle is thought to be linked to fluctuating hormone levels. Limiting caffeine is a great idea yet women with severe pain often need additional treatment.
Today, medications are used which block the effect of estrogen, including tamoxifen, danazol, and bromocriptine. Birth control pills can also help. But these medications can be expensive or come with unwanted side effects. Now researchers have looked at a more natural approach to treating breast pain — with dietary flaxseed.
In a randomized controlled clinical trial Dr. Tong Li and colleagues from Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto tracked 127 women with severe cyclic breast pain. In the 3-month study, half of the women ate a wheat-based muffin containing 25 grams of ground flaxseed every day, while the others ate a placebo muffin. Both groups noticed a reduction in pain, yet the effect was significantly greater among the women eating flaxseed.
Flaxseed may help relieve cyclic breast pain because it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linoleic acid, which have anti-estrogen properties. The benefits of flaxseed took a while to see — there was no difference until after two months of treatment. The side effects of flaxseed were minimal — abdominal fullness and bloating for a few days at the start of the study.
Flaxseed holds promise for more than treating breast pain. Other studies by the same group of researchers have shown that flaxseed can slow tumor growth in breast cancer patients. In the future, flaxseed may play a role in the treatment or even prevention of breast cancer.
Talk to your doctor to see if flaxseed is a good choice for you.