Hormone balance plays an important role in maintaining healthy breasts. The hormones Progesterone and Estrogen both impact breast tissue. Estrogen promotes breast development by stimulating the growth of breast ductal and glandular tissue. Progesterone is a protective hormone that promotes differentiation and maturation of breast cellular tissue creating a balanced healthy environment. This balance of growth and maturation helps create healthy breasts decreasing the risks of breast cancer.
When out of balance — symptoms often appear and include:
Low levels of progesterone can sometimes cause breast tenderness in women. Estrogen dominance is a common occurrence and creates symptoms when there is too much estrogen in the body in comparison to progesterone.
Peri-menopause is the term for the years leading up to menopause, which can begin as early as age 35. While Estrogen and Progesterone production both decline during peri-menopause, Progesterone levels drop even more dramatically which upsets the delicate balance between the two hormones.
Estrogen Dominance is more likely to occur in peri-menopausal and postmenopausal women. Higher levels of estrogen, especially estrone and estradiol can be detrimental to breast tissue. Long term estrogen dominance is thought to be a significant risk factor for breast cancer.
Vitamin D, a powerful antioxidant hormone, and the mineral Iodine also play key roles in maintaining healthy breast tissue. If these nutrients and hormones are out of balance you may have an increased risk for breast health issues. While exams are a vital part of overall breast care, keeping your breasts healthy involves keeping hormones balanced and tissues healthy. As we age, our production of sex hormones declines naturally. However, with proper monitoring and treatment, these changes do not have to have a negative effect on your body. It is important to do breast exams and mammograms to check for abnormal cells. It is equally important to test your hormone levels to identify possible risk factors for breast cancer.