Symptoms Of Fibrocystic Breasts And 6 Tips That May Help Improve The Condition
Having fibrocystic breasts may sound scary. Actually, it’s not, because these are benign (non-cancerous) formations in the breasts that almost half of all women develop at some point in their lives.
When it comes to this condition’s connection to breast cancer, fibrocystic breasts don’t raise your risk of developing the disease. The problem with fibrocystic breasts is that they can make cancer more difficult to detect.
What are fibrocystic breasts?
First, let’s examine the name of the condition. Fibrosis means an overgrowth of fibrous tissue that feels firm when you touch it. Cysts are sacs filled with fluid that feel soft to the touch.
Fibrocystic changes may affect both breasts. Any woman can develop the condition, but it most commonly affects women in their reproductive age.
It’s not fully understood why women develop fibrocystic changes in the breasts. Doctors attribute these changes to fluctuations in estrogen levels, which is why fibrocystic breasts may show symptoms before or during a woman is on her period.
What are the symptoms of fibrocystic breasts?
Fibrocystic breasts may manifest in the following:
- breast swelling;
- breasts may be tender and hurt;
- lumps and thickened areas that usually grow bigger or smaller in sync with your menstrual cycle.
You should see your doctor if you have symptoms that suggest something more serious. Such signs and symptoms include the following:
- a new lump or thickened area that wasn’t there before;
- persistent breast pain;
- symptoms last beyond your period;
- clear or bloody discharge from the nipples.
What can you do about fibrocystic breasts?
If you have fibrocystic breasts and they show symptoms that bother you, try the following:
- Take non-prescription painkillers such as ibuprofen.
- Wear comfortable, supportive bras (you may find that sports bras feel more comfortable).
- Limit your consumption of caffeine and fatty foods, because they may make your symptoms worse.
- Try cold or hot compresses to relieve discomfort.
- Taking a low dose of contraceptive pills may help improve symptoms, so ask your doctor about them.
- Hormone therapy may make your symptoms worse, so ask your doctor whether you can discontinue it or at least lower the dose.
You shouldn’t worry about fibrocystic breasts. But make sure not to skip your regular breast exams, and also ask your doctor about imaging tests that are more accurate than mammography.
This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.