How to Avoid Mammary Cysts

How to Avoid Mammary Cysts

Last update: 08 June, 2015

One of the biggest fears many women have is the fear of breast cancer. We all know to watch out for the appearance of breast lumps, but a lump in the breast isn’t necessarily a sign that you have breast cancer. In this article we’re going to look at some of the different types of breast cysts that may appear and some of the things that you can do to treat and prevent breast cysts.

The development of mammary cysts can be controlled, minimised, or even prevented by some dietary and lifestyle changes. Although there is no direct connection between cysts in the breast and breast cancer, several studies have shown that cysts can develop into breast cancer in women who have never had children, women with irregular menstrual cycles and women with a history of breast cancer in their family.

What are mammary cysts?

A mammary cyst is a collection of fluid in the breast tissue. They can appear at any age after the breasts have started to develop. The majority of mammary cysts are filled with liquid but others are more solid.


One type of cyst – fibroadenoma are painless, small, hard lumps in the breasts that are movable and generally either smooth or slightly rough. They is essentially an excessive growth of mammary tissue, and although they may be confused with mammary cysts, they are different. Fibroadenomas are more common before the menopause and, although they can appear at any age, they tend to appear during puberty and in young adult women.

These are rarely treated – they are just observed for further changes.

Causes on mammary cysts

The lobes of the breast can become blocked, which allows liquid to build up inside them, causing a mammary cyst to develop. Benign changes in mammary tissue often happen at the onset of menopause. This is due to hormonal changes or  fybrocystic changes.

Some women are more likely to get breast cysts than others because they are exposed to risk factors.

Women with a diet that has a high concentration of xanthines (common in coffee, tea, chocolate, seafood and carbonated drinks) are more likely to get cysts. Obesity is another risk factor. Women who have not had children are more likely to develop cysts especially at menopause. Having a diet lacking in fruits and vegetables increases the risk of cysts as do drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

Natural remedies

Reduce fat and refined carbohydrates

Breast tissue is very sensitive to a diet rich in fat (especially saturated fats and trans fats) and carbohydrates, since they can elevate oestrogen levels. The overproduction of oestrogen can cause breast tissue to be painful and increases the chances of cysts forming.

For the same reason, you should watch your weight to avoid obesity.

Eliminate milk products

We recommend that you eliminate all milk products from your diet, especially milk. Milk products are important in today’s cuisine, but you should try to avoid them, or at least consume less of them, and if you do eat them, make sure they are organic, because organic cows are not fed hormones and do not get given genetically modified feed. Try this for a month and observe your body, because we’re sure that you’ll see a difference.

Avoid caffeine and chocolate

Stay away from foods that contain caffeine like coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate, and non-alcoholic beer. These products contain methylxanthines, which can produce an overstimulation of mammary tissue in some women. Avoiding chocolate can be a difficult decision for a lot of people, but if you have breast pains and cysts try to avoid it for at least one menstrual cycle and see if it helps.

Avoid underwire bras

Underwire bras can block the circulation of blood and lymph in the chest, the vertebrae, and the back.

Castor oil and clay

You can use a castor oil compress to ease pain and inflammation in the breasts. Wear it for an hour, three times a week, for two or three months.

Alternatively, use a clay poultice or compress to help you avoid pain and inflammation. Leave it on until it has dried and then wash thoroughly. You can sleep with a clay compress on – just lay an old cotton cloth on it.

Foods that can help


The consumption of fibre (especially from whole grains and fruits) is important for the elimination of an excess of oestrogen. The cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and turnips) contain a compound called indol-3-carbinol, which can reduce the ability of oestrogen to adhere to mammary tissue. Try to eat at least 2 servings of this type of vegetable every week.

Derivatives of soy, such as tofu, are often recommended for their vegetable phytoestrogens but this is controversial. Avoid genetically modified soy – read the labels.

A diet rich in whole foods and low in animal fats, will definitely help you in the fight against cysts.

Food supplements

Evening primrose oil and starflower oil are rich in omega 6 acids (gammolinolenic acid) and can alleviate some breast problems. They are found in fish oil, flaxseed oil, sesame oil, and nut oil. Moringa oil is also rich in omega 3, omega 6, and omega 9, and is one of the best sources of natural antioxidants.

Try supplements, especially vitamin E, vitamin A, coenzyme Q10, and selenium, as these antioxidants are very beneficial.

Iodine can reduce the capacity for oestrogen to adhere to receptors in the breast, and thus diminish the pain in these areas. The best way to take iodine is through food. Try algae such as wakame or kombu. 


Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) can help the liver maintain health and correct function, and proper liver function will allow for good levels of oestrogen. Milk thistle is also a good antioxidant and additionally has antineoplastic effects (which prevents the development of tumorous cells).