Breast density is a way to describe the composition of a woman’s breasts. This measure compares the area of breast and connective tissue to the area of fat. High breast density means there is a greater amount of breast and connective tissue compared to fat. Low breast density means there is a greater amount of fat compared to breast and connective tissue.
Breast density and its relationship to estrogen is an important risk factor for diverse subtypes of breast cancer.
Check out how the “fickle” estrogen shows up in different ways, effecting breast density.
• Young women have more circulating hormones; therefore, their breast tissue is typically dense. That’s because breast tissue contains estrogen receptors, a destination for circulating estrogen. When the liver can’t break down the body’s excess estrogen, then the risk of estrogen-related breast cancer increases.
• Estrogen loves fat so pre-menopausal women who are overweight are generally more at risk for breast cancer because their fat stores are greater than in women of normal weight. And fat stores in the breast will attract estrogen.
• Even slim pre-menopausal women can ingest more estrogen than normal through the environment – or through estrogen-mimickers in products, including skincare, cosmetic and plastic items – so they are also at risk for denser breasts, if their livers are not helping rid the body of these substances.
• Post-menopausal women produce only a small amount of hormones through their adrenals. These hormones are converted, in the fat cells, to estrogen and progesterone. However, post-menopausal women’s livers, which have often become more toxic over many years, may similarly not be up to the task of breaking down even the small amount of circulating estrogen in their systems.
The good news is that a woman with dense breast tissue and too much circulating estrogen can help improve her condition by making some basic changes to her diet.
Eliminate coffee and caffeine
Coffee contains methylxanthine. Chocolate contains theobromine. Both substances, derived from xanthine, are stimulants that are associated with creating fibrous tissue in the breast. By going cold turkey off these two items for several days, a woman can determine whether her breast tissue is sensitive to either coffee or chocolate.
Go easy on red meat
Unless you buy certified organic meat, you don’t know what hormone-related feed the animal has ingested. Also, too much fat congests the liver which, in turn, prevents the liver from breaking down estrogens and other substances.
A small daily amount of iodine — between 150 and 300 mcg — can help support thyroid hormone production which, in turn, can decrease estrogen stimulation of breast tissue. Also eating iodine-rich food like seaweed is helpful.
Eat cruciferous vegetables
Broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts and cauliflower all contain indole-3-carbinol, a compound that helps the liver break down estrogen into more benign components. The detoxifying qualities of these cruciferous vegetables make them an excellent choice for women with dense breasts.
The use of BHRT or bio-identical hormone replacement therapy may be the answer for some women. When a woman’s level of estrogen is not correctly balanced by progesterone, estrogen dominance occurs which can put her at risk for many health issues including cancer.
At The Healthy Choice Compounding Pharmacy, we specialize in
Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy. Please call us or stop by to find out more details about how our pharmacists can work with your doctor to bring your hormones into balance.