Women’s Wellbeing: Smart and Simple Ways to Manage Your Breast Health

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One of the biggest fears many women have is breast cancer. But, there are a lot of other negative things that can happen to breasts as you age too. So, here’s how to take care of them.

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Manage Estrogen

One of the biggests contributors to breast cancer is estrogen dominance. This means that your estrogen levels rise too high relative to other hormones in your body, especially progesterone levels.

Estrogen imbalance can be caused by numerous factors, but the most significant is stress, followed by poor diet and lifestyle.

Stress, in any form, can be bad if it’s chronic. Acute stress, like the kind you get from working out, is generally good. But, when stress is chronic, whether it’s from poor diet, little or no exercise, work and life issues, or from something else entirely, it can start to cause chronic health problems.

Stress kicks off a low-grade inflammatory response in many individuals, either directly or indirectly. Stress can impair immune function if left unchecked. And, over time, it may contribute to an imbalance in hormone levels.

Don’t Take Extra Estrogen If You’re Already A High Risk

If you’re already a high-risk individual for breast (or any other type) of cancer, do not supplement with estrogen. This includes birth control pills and other sources (including diet). You shouldn’t get implants, shots, or the patch either. The only form of birth control that doesn’t add hormones to your system is the IUD – the Mirena IUD secretes a small amount of progesterone, which is a good option for women with high estrogen.

Copper-based IUDs last about 10 years, but can cause heavy bleeding during your menstrual cycle.

Hormone replacement therapy that adds estrogen to your system also isn’t a great idea.

Help Your Breast Tissue

If you have dense or fibrocystic breasts, these are to be considered precursors to breast cancer. They also make early detection more difficult.

Dense and disorganized cystic breast tissue may indicate an iodine deficiency. Since iodine helps your tissues grow smoothly and in an organized pattern, it’s important to get a sufficient amount of it in your diet.

When tissues start to form nodules or they change in density, you need to get your iodine levels checked. Iodine deficiency can also affect thyroid and other hormones.

Since breast tissue changes frequently, don’t rush a judgement on any changes. Go see your doctor and get an exam done to rule out any problems.

Limit Estrogenic Compounds In Your Diet And Lifestyle

One thing you can do to limit estrogen in your life is to cut out the phthalates in your life. These chemicals are typically found in plastics, BPA in hard plastics, and many chemical cleaning products. They’re also found in pesticides and herbicides.

Soy is another major food source for estrogen-like compounds

These chemicals mimic estrogen in your body and have the potential to cause the same kinds of effects seen in estrogen-dominant females – they can contribute to your risk factor for breast cancer.

Switching to organic foods when you can afford to do so, and eating meats, milk, butter, and eggs from pasture-raised animals will reduce the amount of estrogen-like substances you ingest.

Exercise

Exercise is also important, and it can make a huge difference in every aspect of your life. When you lift weights, and do moderate cardio work, you reduce your risk for all types of chronic disease, like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Exercise also increases circulation, increases the rate of lymphatic drainage and detoxification in breast tissue, and reduces the total estrogenic burden.

Give Yourself Breast Exams

Giving yourself regular breast exams is also a good idea. If you don’t know how to do a breast examination, this video will demonstrate how to perform a self-exam at home.

Have Frequent Screenings

Don’t be afraid to get a mammogram screening if you’re under 40. While this is usually recommended for women over 40, talk to your doctor about it.

Consider Implants

If you’ve already battled cancer, or you know that you’re predisposed to developing cancer, you can always opt for elective surgery to remove your breasts and get breast implants. This is what actress Angelina Jolie did when she discovered that she had the BRCA gene mutation that would put her at a high risk for developing breast cancer.

Preventative surgery could dramatically reduce, or eliminate, the risk for breast cancer.

Lose Weight

Many women could reduce their risk by simply losing weight. Because fat generates its own estrogen, it’s likely that if you’re overweight, you’re going to end up estrogen dominant. And, since extra estrogen is a risk factor for breast cancer, reducing those levels will reduce your risk.

Dr. David Halpern is a truly exceptional surgeon, with unparalleled training and experience, receiving board certifications in three areas – Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, General Surgery and Micro-Hand Surgery, demonstrating his broad level of skill and expertise. Certifications were received from the American Board of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons and the American Board of Surgeons.

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