Originally Answered: Do those pills/creams for breast enlargement really work? Which one is best?
If you are tempted to try natural breast enhancement pills, you could be jeopardizing your health, not to mention your pocketbook.
Natural breast enhancement pills are advertised all over the Internet, on television, and in women's magazines. The ads prey on women's insecurities about their breasts, especially after childbirth, weight loss, and removal of breast implants.
Women in search of an alternative to breast enlargement surgery are trying these herbal pills, without realizing that there is little-to-no evidence and that there are potential side effects (most pill websites deny there are side effects or potential risks).
Could they work? Natural breast enhancement pills could theoretically increase breast size because some of them contain herbs that have known estrogen-like effects on the body.
Birth control pills are thought to temporarily increase breast size in the same way--estrogen causes fluid retention in the breasts and may have an effect on breast tissue.
But if they do work, they may be harmful.
Estrogen must be combined with progesterone to counter its uterine cancer-causing effect, which is why birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy contain both estrogen and progesterone.
Natural breast enhancement pills don't necessarily have this protective effect. They can also cause infertility, menstrual problems, or decreased effectiveness of birth control pills.
So, buyer beware. In the meantime, here is some information about the most common ingredients in natural breast enhancement pills.
The herb blessed thistle is used for digestive problems. It was used historically by women to increase the flow of milk after having a baby.
There have been no published clinical trials on blessed thistle for natural breast enhancement, so we don't know whether it works and whether it's safe.
Blessed thistle stimulates the production of stomach acid, so it can cause mild irritation of the digestive tract lining. It should not be used by people with gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), ulcers, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Blessed thistle should not be used by pregnant women, as it can increase the risk of birth defects and spontaneous abortion.
People who are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, or daisies may be allergic to blessed thistle, because they belong to the same plant family.
Dong quai is a Chinese herb used primarily to relieve menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, reduce menstrual cramps, and regulate menstrual cycles.
The only published study on dong quai and breast enlargement was a case report of a man who took a combination herbal pill and had temporary breast enlargement. The pill was thought to have been contaminated. There are no other published clinical trials on dong quai for breast enhancement.
One potential risk is that dong quai has been found to stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells (estrogen receptor-positive and negative) in test tube studies.
Dong quai can increase the sensitivity of skin to the sun's rays. Sunscreen should always be used before any exposure to the sun. Dong quai should not be used by pregnant women.
Dong quai contains chemicals called coumarins, which slow blood clotting, particularly in patients taking the antiplatelet or antocoagulant drugs such as warfarin.
There are no published studies examining the use of fennel seed for breast enhancement in humans. In the 1930s, there was some interest in fennel in the development of synthetic estrogens, due to compounds called dianethole and photoanethole.
One study found that after consuming fennel seed for 10 days, the weight of breast tissue in female rats increased. Higher doses increased the weight of the uterus, evidence of fennel's unopposed estrogenic effect.
Although there is an unsubstantiated claim that women in harems were fed fenugreek seeds to increase their breast size, no studies confirm fenugreek can result in breast enlargement.
Fenugreek contains a compound called diosgenin. In laboratories, it can be converted to estrogen and progesterone but that same conversion doesn't occur naturally in the body.
People who are allergic to peanuts or soybeans may also be allergic to fenugreek. Side effects from oral fenugreek supplements include diarrhea and gas. Fenugreek may cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). It should not be combined with hypoglycemic drugs used to treat diabetes.
Used in the brewing of beer, hops contain a potent phytoestrogen called 8-prenylnaringenin which has 0.2-20% the potency of estradiol, the main human estrogen.
Hops are sedating and are used for anxiety and insomnia. They can cause excess drowsiness, so people who are driving or who otherwise need to stay alert should use it with caution. Hops should not be used by people with depression.
Hops can affect the metabolism of prescription drugs in the liver, such as drugs for allergies, fungal infections, cancer, high cholesterol or oral contraceptives.
Bottom line? Although it may seem like there is no harm in trying natural breast enhancement pills for one or two months to see if they'll work, we know far to little about how they work. They are potentially unsafe and should be avoided.