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Sore, swollen breasts? An iodine deficiency may be to blame
Do your breasts become tender, swollen, and painful at certain times of the month or during pregnancy and breastfeeding? Breast sensitivity often gets chalked up to normal hormonal fluctuations. But these symptoms may actually indicate an underlying iodine deficiency.
Iodine is a mineral that plays a critical role in thyroid health and breast tissue regulation. Your breasts need sufficient iodine intake to control glandular activity and mitigate oestrogen’s effects.
When iodine levels drop too low, breast tissue becomes hypersensitive to oestrogen. This leads to fluid buildup, cyst formation, and breast pain. Iodine helps counter oestrogen’s tendency to cause proliferation and inflammation in breast tissue.
Breast pain can flare up coming up to ovulation when oestrogen is peaking, and coming up to your period if oestrogen is not balanced by progesterone. Breast swelling and tenderness is also common in pregnancy and breastfeeding when demands for iodine are highest.
Iodine deficiency is also associated with:
Restoring iodine levels can provide relief from hormone-driven breast pain. A daily iodine supplement under supervision may be beneficial. Eating iodine-rich foods like sea salt, seaweed, eggs, fish, and prunes can also provide dietary iodine.
By Sandra Ishkanes
I am a Functional Medicine expert specialising in women’s hormonal health. I work like a health detective, rooting out the underlying causes of hormonal imbalances and I take a whole-body approach to healthcare, combining nutrition, supplements, lifestyle upgrades and cutting-edge biomedical testing.