About fibrocystic breast condition

What is fibrocystic breast condition?

Fibrocystic breast changes 

Fibrocystic breast changes lead to the development of fluid-filled round or oval sacs (cysts) and more prominent scar-like (fibrous) tissue, which can make breasts feel tender, lumpy or ropy.

Fibrocystic breasts are composed of tissue that feels lumpy or ropelike in texture. Doctors call this nodular or glandular breast tissue.

It's not at all uncommon to have fibrocystic breasts or experience fibrocystic breast changes. In fact, medical professionals have stopped using the term "fibrocystic breast disease" and now simply refer to "fibrocystic breasts" or "fibrocystic breast changes" because having fibrocystic breasts isn't a disease. Breast changes that fluctuate with the menstrual cycle and have a ropelike texture are considered normal.

Fibrocystic breast changes don't always cause symptoms. Some people experience breast pain, tenderness and lumpiness — especially in the upper, outer area of the breasts. Breast symptoms tend to be most bothersome just before menstruation and get better afterward. Simple self-care measures can usually relieve discomfort associated with fibrocystic breasts.

What are the symptoms for fibrocystic breast condition?

Nodules (solid lumps) symptom was found in the fibrocystic breast condition condition

  • Breast lumps or areas of Thickening that tend to blend into the surrounding breast tissue
  • Generalized breast pain or Tenderness or discomfort that involves the upper outer part of the breast
  • Breast nodules or lumpy tissue change in size with the menstrual cycle
  • Green or dark brown nonbloody nipple discharge that tends to leak without pressure or squeezing
  • Breast changes that are similar in both breasts
  • Monthly increase in breast pain or lumpiness from midcycle (ovulation) to just before your period and then gets better once your period starts

Fibrocystic breast changes occur most often between 30 and 50 years of age. These changes happen rarely after menopause unless you're taking hormone replacement medicine such as estrogen or progesterone.

What are the causes for fibrocystic breast condition?

Breast anatomy

Each breast contains 15 to 20 lobes of glandular tissue, arranged like the petals of a daisy. The lobes are further divided into smaller lobules that produce milk for breastfeeding. Small tubes (ducts) conduct the milk to a reservoir that lies just beneath your nipple.

The exact cause of fibrocystic breast changes isn't known, but experts suspect that reproductive hormones — especially estrogen — play a role.

Fluctuating hormone levels during the menstrual cycle can cause breast discomfort and areas of lumpy breast tissue that feel tender, sore and swollen. Fibrocystic breast changes tend to be more bothersome before your menstrual period and ease up after your period begins.

When examined under a microscope, fibrocystic breast tissue includes distinct components 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)

What are the treatments for fibrocystic breast condition?

If you don't experience symptoms, or your symptoms are mild, no treatment is needed for fibrocystic breasts. Severe pain or large, painful cysts associated with fibrocystic breasts may warrant treatment.

Treatment options for breast cysts include:

  • Fine-needle aspiration. Your doctor uses a hair-thin needle to drain the fluid from the cyst. Removing fluid confirms that the lump is a breast cyst and, in effect, collapses it, relieving associated discomfort.
  • Surgical excision. Rarely, surgery may be needed to remove a persistent cyst-like lump that doesn't resolve after repeated aspiration and careful monitoring or has features that concern your doctor during a clinical exam.

Examples of treatment options for breast pain include:

  • Over-the-counter 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 hormones linked to fibrocystic breast changes

What are the risk factors for fibrocystic breast condition?

Fibrocystic breast condition is a benign, non-cancerous condition that affects many women. It is characterized by lumpy breasts and cysts, which are fluid-filled sacs that can form around a gland. These cysts typically appear on or around the nipple area, but they can also appear in other areas of the breast.

The exact cause of fibrocystic breast condition is unknown, but there are some risk factors that may increase your chances of developing it. These include:

  • Age: Fibrocystic breast condition most often occurs during a woman's reproductive years and then becomes less common after menopause.
  • Family history: If you have a family member who has had fibrocystic breast condition, you are more likely to develop it as well.
  • Race: African American women are more likely to develop fibrocystic breast conditions than Caucasian or Asian women.
  • Injury or trauma to the breasts: Injury or trauma to the breasts may increase the risk of developing fibrocystic breast condition, especially if it's repeated.
  • Hormones: Birth control pills can make fibrocystic breast conditions worse. Menopause can also make it worse because estrogen levels drop during menopause.

Breast pain,Cysts (fluid-filled lumps),Nodules (solid lumps),Knots and tightness in the breasts,Swelling and tenderness of the breasts,Lumpiness of the breast tissue (in some cases),Irregularly shaped or lumpy looking breasts
Painful, lumpy breasts
Claritin (loratadine),Aerius (desloratadine),Flonase (fluticasone propionate),Xyzal (levocetirizine dihydrochloride)

Is there a cure/medications for fibrocystic breast condition?

There is no cure for fibrocystic breast condition, but there are medications that can help manage the symptoms.

  • There are a few different types of medications that can be used to treat fibrocystic breast conditions. Your doctor will recommend the best treatment for you based on your individual situation.
  • One medication that is commonly used is a birth control pill called tamoxifen citrate (Nolvadex). This drug works by suppressing estrogen production, which has been linked to fibrocystic breast condition development. It may also help reduce painful nodules and lumps in the breasts.
  • Another medication that works by suppressing estrogen production is anastrozole (Arimidex). It is typically used only after other treatments have failed or if there are other medical conditions that make taking tamoxifen citrate unsafe or unsuitable.
  • Other medications that can help relieve symptoms include antibiotics such as doxycycline and metronidazole (Flagyl), which can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with fibrocystic breast condition; hormone therapy like progesterone injections; and pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Furthermore, there are things you can do to reduce its symptoms.

  • Try to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. You'll also want to avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can make your symptoms worse.
  • Next, make sure you're getting enough vitamin D. Studies show that women with fibrocystic breast conditions are more likely to have low levels of this essential vitamin than women without the condition. The best way to get vitamin D is through sunlight exposure, but if you live in a cloudy area or don't spend much time outside, then you might need a supplement.
  • Finally, try massaging your breasts regularly-this will help relieve some of the pain caused by lumps and cysts forming under your skin.

Breast pain,Cysts (fluid-filled lumps),Nodules (solid lumps),Knots and tightness in the breasts,Swelling and tenderness of the breasts,Lumpiness of the breast tissue (in some cases),Irregularly shaped or lumpy looking breasts
Painful, lumpy breasts
Claritin (loratadine),Aerius (desloratadine),Flonase (fluticasone propionate),Xyzal (levocetirizine dihydrochloride)

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