Are Breast Enlargement Pills Dangerous?

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Breast enlargement pills promise that you can go up a cup or two the natural way, with some marketers claiming that it only takes a month or two to notice pronounced results. But natural breast enhancement supplements, which contain a cocktail of herbs and other botanicals, may not be as safe as you think, says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Moreover, they’re not likely to give you the eye-popping results you so desire.


What They Are

Breast enlargement pills use a blend of natural ingredients — mostly of the botanical variety — which purportedly acts like the estrogen your body naturally produces to make breast tissue. Marketers assert that if you don’t have a lot of estrogen, your breasts will be smaller, making the argument for your need for a natural bust enhancer. Some breast enlargement pills are sold along with special creams and exercise programs to give you quicker, more noticeable results. Most breast enlargement pill marketers assert that their products are a safe, effective alternative to surgical breast augmentation.

What’s In Them

Depending on which brand you choose, breast enlargement pills can contain any combination of herbs. Fenugeek, saw palmetto, damiana, dong quai, fennel, wild yam extract, blessed thistle and mother’s wort are common ingredients found in some of these products. According to Sandhya Pruthi, M.D., Mayo Clinic internist, breast enhancement supplements can contain herbs that are classified as phytoestrogens, which are believed to mimic the effects of human estrogen. Wild yam extract, for example, is often referred to as a phytoestrogen, says the University of Maryland Medical Center; some women take it to address symptoms of menopause because they believe it functions as a natural estrogen replacement.

Potential Dangers

Never assume a breast enlargement pill or any natural herbal supplement is safe for you to take, stresses the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The ingredients in these products can interact with the medications you take and can be extremely dangerous if you have certain medical conditions. Saw palmetto can not only effect how well your blood clots, but it can interact adversely with blood-thinning medications. Also, because it can have estrogen-like effects, there’s the possibility that it might make your birth control pills less effective. Wild yam can also interact adversely with with hormone replacement therapies and birth control pills. But of tantamount concern to women is that taking phytoestrogens may increase your risk for breast cancer. Essentially, all nutrients, herbs and other natural ingredients can become toxic if you take them long enough in very high doses, cautions the FDA.

Efficacy of Supplements

Even if you don’t consider breast enlargement supplements dangerous, there’s something else to consider: If they even work. According to Pruthi, there’s simply no scientific evidence to prove they work. If you take prescription medications such as estrogen, antidepressants and birth control pills, bigger breasts may be a side effect you can live with. But the classification of breast enhancement pills by the FDA goes to the core of their efficacy. The FDA does not classify these as drugs, but dietary supplements. Breast enlargement pills don’t go through the FDA’s rigorous approval process before they go on the market. Therefore, neither their safety and efficacy are assured. By law, dietary supplement makers cannot claim their products function like a drug — although they often do. In 2003, the Federal Trade Commission took action against the makers of a natural breast enhancement pill who made unsubstantiated claims that the supplement was “clinically proven” to increase bust size by two cups in most women and “clinically proven” to be safe to use. The breast enlargement pills were originally advertised in three popular women’s magazines.

Buyer Beware

Beware of dietary supplements that make claims that seem too good to be true, cautions the FDA — this is one sign that the product won’t meet your expectations. Question breast enlargement pill makers that make exaggerated, impossible claims. There’s an abundance of information on the Internet that’s both accurate and reliable, but there’s also a lot of hype that has no basis in science. Don’t take information seriously unless it comes from a reputable source, and don’t put your belief in products that use personal testimonials as a sales pitch — this includes the comments you see posted on Internet forums and blogs.

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