Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
/ Unsplash

Caffeine Could Be Hurting Your Boobs

Most women have experienced the breast pain and tenderness associated with the dreaded time of the month. What some women may not realize is that they could have Fibrocystic Breast “Disease,” a condition characterized by dense breast tissue.

Dense breast tissue has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. As it turns out, caffeine can worsen fibrocystic issues, and possibly increase the risk of breast cancer.

What the heckers is fibrocystic breast tissue?

Fibrocystic breast tissue is dense breast tissue that creates benign lumps in the breasts. The condition is very common, with more than 3 million U.S. cases per year, mostly affecting women between ages 20 and 50.

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of fibrocystic breasts include: breast lumps that blend into surrounding breast tissue, breast lumps that fluctuate in size with the menstrual cycle, breast pain or tenderness, and monthly increase in breast pain or lumpiness.

Symptoms can vary from woman to woman. Some women experience perpetual lumps with near-constant tenderness and pain. Other women only experience fibrocystic conditions at certain times of their cycle—usually just before their period starts.

Here’s a picture showing the difference between normal breasts and fibrocystic breasts:

How does this condition affect my risk of getting breast cancer?

Fibrocystic lumps mimic the lumps that are present in breast cancer, making it difficult to detect cancer in a woman who has fibrocystic breasts. This increases women’s cancer risk because mammograms are not always able to detect cancerous lumps in dense breasts. Studies have shown that thousands of women have been misdiagnosed due to the inability to properly diagnose cancer through dense breast tissue.

Furthermore, density is considered an independent risk factor for breast cancer. This is because of increased estrogen production, genetic heredity and elevated growth factors, as explained by Jennifer Harvey, who conducted a study on the relationship between breast density and breast cancer.

The risk increases with two certain types of fibrocystic breast conditions: hyperplasia and atypical hyperplasia. Hyperplasia is the over-proliferation of cells, and is associated with a slightly increased risk of breast cancer. Atypical hyperplasia takes place when proliferating cells start to appear abnormal and look different from one another. As normal cells continue to cycle, atypical cells accumulate, accumulating genetic errors along with them. Atypical hyperplasia is associated with a moderately increased risk of breast cancer.

How does my caffeine addiction make things worse?

Studies have shown that women with fibrocystic breasts who have a high caffeine intake (say, 2-3+ cups a day) experience worse fibrocystic issues. These include more lumps, denser lumps, increased swelling and elevated pain. Basically, your girlies get REAL sensitive when you drink too much coffee and/or eat too much chocolate.

Although there is currently no direct evidence that caffeine increases the risk of breast cancer, studies show that the risk is indirecly increased, since caffeine makes fibrocystic issues worse.

How do I know if I have it?

If you think you may have fibrocystic breast condition, visit a physician to get a proper diagnosis. The symptoms sound self-diagnosable, but it’s best to talk to a professional.

I have fibrocystic breasts. What do I do now?

We recommend performing a personal experiment in which you drastically decrease your caffeine consumption to see if it makes a difference in your symptoms. If it does, you may have to trade in your espresso shots for green tea shots!

Take care of your ladies, ladies. Whether or not you have fibrocystic breasts, make sure to regularly self-examine your breasts and get annual examinations.

Maria is a fourth year at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo studying Environmental Management & Protection. She loves coffee, the outdoors, and her noise canceling Bose headphones. Maria's friends have accurately identified her spirit "animal" as pizza.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️