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What is Fibrocystic Breast Condition?

Fibrocystic breasts are made up of tissue that feels lumpy or rope-like. While this is a very common condition, it varies from woman to woman, and can increase or decrease in relation to hormonal changes during the month.

Getting regular check ups and doing self breast exams can help you know your own breasts, so you can better determine what your healthy breast feels like. Fibrous breasts can cause pain, tenderness and lumpiness, especially just before menstruation, and getting to know your body can help you recognize the signs if things change, if pain worsens, or a new lump or unusual thickening appears. If you are doing regular self-exams, you’ll know when things change and can get your breasts evaluated by your AOA physician.

What is Fibrocystic Breast Condition?

Generally, with fibrocystic breasts you will experience lumps or areas of thickening that tend to blend into the surrounding tissue; generalized breast pain or tenderness; changes that occur in both breasts, not just one; and an increase in tenderness from mid-cycle until just before your period.

The causes of fibrocystic breasts are unclear, although fluctuations in reproductive hormones, especially estrogen, play a role. Women most commonly experience the condition between the ages of 18 and 45, and symptoms usually decrease after menopause.

If you are experiencing discomfort related to fibrocystic breasts, talk with your AOA physician about some simple, self-care techniques that can help relieve discomfort, including taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen; applying heat or ice; wearing a well-fitting bra. Some women believe cutting back on caffeine and chocolate helps with their symptoms, but there is no real evidence to that effect.

If your breast exams and mammograms are normal, you do not need to worry about fibrocystic breasts, but be sure to call your AOA doctor if you find new or different lumps during a self-exam, if you have discharge from the nipple, or any discharge that is bloody or clear; if you have reddening or puckering of the skin; or if the nipple is flattening or becoming indented. Getting to know the shape and feel of your own breasts and talking with your AOA physician is the best way to gauge any significant changes.

Learn more about fibrocystic breasts: