What is fibrocystic breast disease?
The fibrocystic breast disease commonly refers to the painful and lumpy breasts. It is a very common condition experienced by half of the women at some point in their lives. This condition is not cancerous in nature.
Fibrocystic breast disease is also referred as
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Fibrocystic breast changes
What causes fibrocystic breasts?
The definite cause of this condition is not known. Hormones produced by the ovaries can make the breasts to feel lumpy, painful or swollen before or during periods every month. It is common in women of ages 20-45.
What are the symptoms fibrocystic breasts?
Fibrocystic breasts often affect both the breasts and the symptoms vary before or during periods:
- Discomfort or pain in breasts
- Pain that goes away and comes with periods but lasts for a month
- A feeling of swollen, heavy or full breasts
- Lumpy or thick breasts
- Discomfort or pain under the arms
- Nipple discharge
How are fibrocystic breasts diagnosed?
Following tests will be recommended by your doctor:
- Clinical breast exam
- Breast ultrasound
If the mammogram is unusual, a biopsy can be ordered.
How are fibrocystic breasts treated?
Your doctor will recommend supportive care measures like:
- Use of over-the-counter pain medication
- Wearing well-fitting and supporting bra
- Use of hot or cold packs on the breasts
Mild cases may not require any treatment. In severe cases, your doctor can prescribe birth control pills (hormones) or other medication to help manage your condition.
In rare cases, surgery can be done to remove any lumps if the biopsy results are abnormal.
Fibrocystic breasts, though aren’t harmful but can make the detection of breast cancer difficult. If you notice any unusual changes in your breasts, contact your doctor.
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- Fibrocystic breast disease. U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000912.htm. Accessed 17 Jan. 17.
- Fibrocystic breast changes. Canadian Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/breast/breast-cancer/benign-conditions/fibrocystic-changes/?region=bc. Accessed 17 Jan. 17.
- Fibrocystic Breast Disease – FAQ. The University of Iowa. https://uihc.org/health-library/fibrocystic-breast-disease-faq. Accessed 17 Jan. 17.