Fibrocystic Breast Disease & Iodine

Fibrocystic Breast Disease (FBD) is a condition where the breasts contain varying sized painful cysts.  The overall structure of the breast tissue changes include hyperplasia (increased cells) and mostly fibrosis or hardening.  The disease is widespread and increasing in prevalence, affecting approximately 80% of North American women compared to only 3% in a report from 1928.  These cysts are often painful and can fluctuate in size and shape either before or during the menstrual cycle.  FBD is considered to be a benign condition but there is mounting evidence showing that it is a precursor to breast cancer.  A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer institute showed that women with dense breasts have a relative risk ratio of 4.03 for developing breast cancer which means that women with dense breasts have a four fold increased likelihood of developing breast cancer if they have dense breasts.

Typical treatments for FBD are the use of oral contraceptives (birth control pills) to suppress ovarian production of estrogen as well as dietary modifications that include elimination of caffeine, chocolate, and avoiding processed foods containing trans fatty acids.  Also helpful are the additions of essential fatty acids such as fish oil or evening primrose oil, and improving the overall nutritional profile to include many vitamins and minerals.  These strategies are helpful but I have found that many patients still have the painful cysts in their breasts.

Iodine has been shown to help with fibrocystic breast disease and I have seen this in private practice many times.  Iodine supplementation can be given in various forms including Lugol’s solution, Iodoral, or iThroid.  Be sure to contact a healthcare practitioner that is well versed in the use of iodine for this condition.  Proper monitoring will be necessary to obtain the best results and ensure proper safety.

Disclaimer:  All the information on this blog is intended for educational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of a qualified licensed medical practitioner nor treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Cummings, et. al.  “Prevention of Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal Women: Approaches to Estimating and Reducing Risk.”  Journal of the National Cancer Institute.  Advance Access published online on March 10, 2009.   Abstract available:

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