Basic Tips for Breast Care
Women's breasts are a symbol of femininity. They are for many men their favorite area in women. And, they fulfill a very important function during motherhood: to feed our children. At an early age, we have to start taking care of them so that they remain slim and healthy.
The seismologist Jesús Arias, from the Unidad de Mastologíat at Clinica La Viña in Venezuela, explains that “breasts are glands that are very sensitive to the action of certain hormones produced by the woman's body.” The most common are ovarian hormones: estrogens and progesterone that have direct activity on the glands and make them “evolve depending on the moment in which the woman is”, this is menstruation, breastfeeding, menopause, among others.
The breasts, like other parts of the body, deserve special attention. Adopting certain lifestyles and daily habits from an early age helps to considerably reduce certain risk factors.
1. Balanced diet and hydration:
Anything that affects the functioning of hormones in the body, will influence the health of the mammary glands in a medium or long way, positively or negatively. Food plays an important role, reducing fat consumption, although they provide energy and favor the absorption of certain vitamins and avoiding trans and saturated fats will control the negative impact that fats have on health.
“Vegetables have a number of components, which when consumed in sufficient amounts on a daily basis, can promote the healthy activity of hormones and thus improve breast health and general health,” explains Dr. Arias. Similarly, he recommends drinking enough water to avoid hormonal imbalance due to dehydration.
2. Physical activity and stress reduction:
Being overweight and sedentary considerably increase the risks of suffering serious problems such as: benign tumors, mastalgia, cysts, breast inflammation or breast cancer.
The toning of the pectoral muscles helps to maintain the firmness of the breasts and to combat the effects of gravity over the years. Walking, yoga, dance therapy and going to the gym all help balance hormones. “It should not be hours, nor every day, but it is important to exercise frequently,” emphasizes Dr. Arias.
Studies show that women are more likely than men to experience symptoms of stress, so it is important to reduce stress to live well. A person subjected to high levels of stress for a long time, may suffer from cardiovascular, neurological, psychological, but also hormonal problems “the imbalance can lead to diseases related to the breasts in the long term.
3. Alcohol and cigarette:
Other habits such as smoking cigarettes or excessive alcohol consumption are directly related to an increased risk of breast cancer. It is not about eliminating the consumption of these products, but about doing it in “moderation”, adds.
“Tobacco use increases the risk of developing breast cancer in women, especially those who started smoking before having their first child”. This is the conclusion of the study, Active Smoking and Breast Cancer Risk: Original Cohort Data and Meta-Analysis”, in Spanish (Active smoking and breast cancer risks: original cohort data and meta-analysis), study published in the Bulletin of the National Cancer Institute (Journal of the National Cancer Institute), on February 28, 2013.
4. Monthly, annual and specialized control
Beyond these basic cares, monthly control can help prevent a possible breast cancer, because the early detection of any condition in the breasts can be essential for its treatment and cure.
As a habit, it is advisable to perform a self-exam to look for changes in the breast tissue. Every woman should know her breasts in shape, size, and texture. Doctors recognize that this is good management practice.
If you notice changes, it is important to see a doctor. “Changes in the shape of the skin, nodules, pain, discomfort, breast swelling, discharge from the nipple.” However, this should be part of a preventive rather than curative plan.
General care for breast health necessarily includes screening and early diagnosis that must be done at least once a year. “This plan should start from the age of 35, consultation with the seismologist, mammography and breast ultrasound,” recommends Arias and before that age, he suggests performing ultrasounds once a year.
Men and mammary glands
Men should not undergo the same prevention and early diagnosis plans that every woman needs. Only 1 in 100 cases of breast cancer in the United States is diagnosed in men.
Low in saturated and trans fats and high in unsaturated fats.
Protein consumption, especially white meat.
Consumption of vegetables.
Reduce the consumption of cigarettes and alcohol.
Monthly: (breast self-exam).
Annual: + 35 years: specialized medical consultation, mammography, and breast ultrasound.
-35 years: breast ultrasound