Fibrocystic breasts

fibrocystic breasts (mammography image)

Fibrocystic breasts are composed of tissue that feels bumpy or rope-like in texture. Physicians call this nodular or glandular breast tissue.

It’s not at all uncommon to have fibrocystic breasts. Over half of women experience fibrocystic breast modifications eventually in their lives. In truth, doctor have actually stopped using the term “fibrocystic breast disease” and now simply describe “fibrocystic breasts” or “fibrocystic breast modifications” because having fibrocystic breasts isn’t really a disease. Breast modifications categorized as fibrocystic are considered regular.

Although many women with fibrocystic breasts don’t have symptoms, some women experience breast pain, tenderness and lumpiness– particularly in the upper, outer area of the breasts. Breast symptoms tend to be most annoying right before menstruation. Easy self-care steps can generally relieve discomfort related to fibrocystic breasts.

Fibrocystic Breasts: Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of fibrocystic breasts might consist of:

  • Breast swellings or areas of thickening that tend to blend into the surrounding breast tissue
  • Generalized breast pain or inflammation
  • Breast lumps that vary in size with the menstruation
  • Green or dark brown nonbloody nipple discharge that tends to leak without pressure or squeezing
  • Breast modifications that are comparable in both breasts
  • Month-to-month increase in breast pain or lumpiness from midcycle (ovulation) to just before your duration

Fibrocystic breast changes happen most often in women in their 20s to 50s. Seldom do postmenopausal women experience fibrocystic breast changes, unless they’re on hormone therapy.

When to see a doctor

The majority of fibrocystic breast changes are regular. However, make an appointment with your doctor if:

  • You discover a brand-new breast lump or area of prominent thickening
  • You have specific areas of constant or getting worse breast pain
  • Breast changes continue after your period
  • Your doctor assessed a breast lump but now it appears to be bigger or otherwise altered

Causes of Fibrocystic Breasts

  • Illustration of breast, consisting of lymph nodes, lobules and ducts
  • Breast anatomy
  • The exact cause of fibrocystic breast changes isn’t known, however specialists believe that reproductive hormones– specifically estrogen– contribute.

Changing hormone levels during your menstruation can cause breast pain and areas of bumpy breast tissue that feel tender, sore and swollen. Fibrocystic breast changes have the tendency to be more irritating prior to your menstrual duration, and the pain and lumpiness tends to improve or reduce as soon as your menstrual period begins.

When examined under a microscope, fibrocystic breast tissue includes distinct elements such as:

  • Fluid-filled round or oval sacs (cysts).
  • A prominence of scar-like fibrous tissue (fibrosis).
  • Overgrowth of cells (hyperplasia) lining the milk ducts or milk-producing tissues (lobules) of the breast.
  • Enlarged breast lobules (adenosis).

Risk factors

Having fibrocystic breasts does not enhance your risk of breast cancer.


Tests to evaluate your condition might include:

  • Medical breast examination. Your doctor checks for unusual areas by aesthetically and manually examining your breasts and the lymph nodes located in your lower neck and underarm area. If your medical history and the clinical breast test indicate regular breast changes, you might not need added tests. If your doctor finds a brand-new lump and presumes fibrocystic modifications, you may come back a few weeks later, after your menstrual duration, to have another breast test. If the changes continue, you’ll likely need a mammogram or ultrasound.
  • Mammogram. If your doctor finds a breast swelling or prominent thickening in your breast tissue, you require a diagnostic mammogram– an X-ray examination that concentrates on a specific area of issue in your breast. The radiologist closely examines the area of issue when translating the mammogram.
  • Ultrasound. An ultrasound uses sound waves to produce pictures of your breasts and is frequently carried out together with a mammogram. If you’re younger than age 30, you might have an ultrasound rather of a mammogram. Ultrasound is better for evaluating a more youthful woman’s dense breast tissue– tissue securely loaded with lobules, ducts and connective tissue (stroma). Ultrasound can likewise help your doctor compare fluid-filled cysts and solid masses.
  • Fine-needle aspiration. For a breast swelling that feels a lot like a cyst, your doctor may attempt fine-needle goal to see if fluid can be withdrawn from the swelling. This useful procedure can be done in the workplace. A fine-needle goal may collapse the cyst and resolve pain.
  • Breast biopsy. If a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound are regular, however your doctor still has concerns about a breast lump, you may be described a breast specialist to figure out whether you require a surgical breast biopsy. A breast biopsy is a procedure to get rid of a little sample of breast tissue for tiny analysis. If a suspicious area is identified during an imaging examination, your radiologist might advise an ultrasound-guided breast biopsy or a sterotactic biopsy, which uses mammography to identify the precise area for the biopsy.

Fibrocystic Breasts: Treatment

If you don’t experience symptoms, or your symptoms are moderate, no treatment is required for fibrocystic breasts. Severe pain or big, painful cysts related to fibrocystic breasts might require treatment.

Treatment options for breast cysts include:

  • Fine-needle goal. Your doctor uses a hair-thin needle to drain the fluid from the cyst. Eliminating fluid validates that the lump is a breast cyst and, in impact, collapses it, relieving associated discomfort.
  • Surgical excision. Rarely, surgery might be had to get rid of a relentless cyst-like swelling that does not deal with after repeated goal and mindful monitoring or has functions that issue your doctor during a scientific examination.

Examples of treatment options for breast pain consist of:

Non-prescription pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or prescription medication.
Oral contraceptives, which lower the levels of cycle-related hormonal agents connected to fibrocystic breast modifications.

Alternative medicine for Fibrocystic Breasts

Vitamins and dietary supplements might decrease breast pain symptoms and intensity for some women. Ask your doctor if one of these might assist you– and inquire about doses and any possible side effects:.

  • Evening primrose oil. This supplement may alter the balance of fatty acids in your cells, which might decrease breast pain.
  • Vitamin E. Early researches revealed a possible helpful impact of vitamin E on breast pain in premenstrual women who experience breast pain that fluctuates during the menstruation. In one research study, 200 global devices (IU) of vitamin E taken twice daily for two months improved symptoms in women with cyclic breast pain. There was no fringe benefit after 4 months.

For adults, pregnant women and breast-feeding women, the optimum dosage of vitamin E is 1,000 milligrams daily (or 1,500 IU).

If you try a supplement for breast pain, stop taking it if you don’t notice any enhancement in your breast pain after a couple of months. Try just one supplement at a time so that you can clearly identify which one helps alleviate the pain– or not.


Updated: August 12, 2016 — 10:38 am

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

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