Breast cysts: What role does caffeine play?

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Breast cysts: What role does caffeine play?

Question

Does caffeine cause breast cysts?

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Answer

No, caffeine doesn't appear to cause breast cysts (fibrocystic breast changes), a noncancerous (benign) breast disease. In large quantities, though, caffeine can raise the levels of cortisol and other stress hormones in your system — and stress hormones may, over time, affect your reproductive hormones. The interplay of caffeine, stress hormones and reproductive hormones could play a role in premenstrual breast swelling and discomfort.

Anecdotally, some women report reduced breast pain when they go off caffeine. Although no research has documented this effect, there's no reason not to go caffeine-free to see if it relieves discomfort from breast cysts.

Also, if you drink several cups of coffee on a typical day, you might consider cutting back. Data from two large, long-term women's health studies suggest a connection between high caffeine intake and precancerous or high-risk breast lesions.

Last Updated: 2010-11-16
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