Finding a lump in your breast can be a scary experience. However, studies show that over half of all women will develop lumps in one or both breasts. This condition is known as fibrocystic breast disease, also known as fibrocystic breast condition and fibrocystic changes. It is most commonly found in women between 30 and 50 years old, and is not malignant (non-cancerous). Symptoms can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but there are many treatments that can help with these side-effects. The problem with diagnosing fibrocystic disease is that symptoms can vary from person to person and may require a biopsy to make sure it is not breast cancer.
What Causes Fibrocystic Disease?
Hormones produced by the ovaries can fluctuate greatly during your menstrual cycle, which leads to discomfort, increased sensitivity, and lumpy breast tissue that feel swollen and sore. Symptoms of fibrocystic disease tends to increase before you start your menstrual cycle and decreases after your period begins. You can also experience symptoms throughout the month as well. The lumps are caused by swollen breast lobules and cysts.
Symptoms of Fibrocystic Disease
Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of this condition:
- • Increase in lumpiness or breast pain starting midcycle to after starting your period.
- • Lumps in your breast that change size during your menstrual cycle.
- • Generalized pain or soreness in your breast
- • You may experience a dark brown or green discharge from your nipple.
- • Lumps that can move and blend into the breast tissue surrounding it.
If you think you are suffering from this condition, you should consult a medical expert.
Treating Fibrocystic Disease
Limiting or eliminating fatty foods and caffeine is one of the first things you should do to reduce symptoms of this condition. Some women have found that pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can relieve discomfort and pain. Applying cold or warm compresses can also help relieve symptoms. It’s also important that you wear a well-fitting bra as that will help reduce tenderness and pain. Surgery is usually the last resort to treating fibrocystic breast disease but may be needed in extreme cases. Because reproductive hormones like estrogen are the main factors that cause this condition, symptoms will likely stop when you start menopause.
When to Call Your Doctor
Although this is a condition that most women experience, you should always see a specialist if you experience symptoms such as:
- • Finding new lumps or unusual thickening of an area in your breast
- • You feel continues pain in a certain area of your breast
- • A puckering or redness of skin
- • Red, clear, or bloody discharge from your nipple
Having fibrocystic disease will not increase you risk of developing breast cancer, but because proper diagnoses can be difficult, you should always consult a doctor. Benrus Surgical at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters has a team of specialist who has experience in breast cancer surgeries including fibrocystic breast disease and sentinel lymph node. They can perform a physical breast exam using the best technology to ensure that you receive the right diagnoses and treatment for your condition!