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Fibrocystic breast disease

Fibrocystic breast disease is common and very specific benign breast condition described as tender, painful and lumpy breasts. Sometimes this condition can be called also as “Mammary dysplasia” or “Diffuse cystic mastopathy”. According to health experts, almost 45% females could experience fibrocystic breast disease at certain point in their lives. Although this condition is not dangerous, it can be pretty disturbing and uncomfortable. Often fibrocystic breasts occurs in women in their 30s – 50s.

In most cases increased levels of female hormones (mainly estrogen) could lead to fibrocystic transformations in breast tissue. This condition is common for women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Fibrocystic breast disease causes

It is well known that monthly hormonal fluctuations change breast tissue conditions. During premenstrual periods almost all women breasts feel heavier and more sensitive than usual – feel swollen, lumpy and painful. Although exact cause of fibrocystic breasts is not known, scientists confirm correlation between estrogen levels and fibrocystic transformations in breast tissue. Sometimes hyperestogenemia could lead to multiple breast cyst development.

Fibrocystic breast disease is a sign of hormonal imbalance in female body – it is a sign of on-going estrogen dominance. Not always estrogen dominance means increased production of estrogen. Sometimes estrogen dominance could be a result of changes in estrogen/progesterone ratio. For example, scientists discovered that during stress progesterone levels drop which leads to estrogen dominance. At the same time, overweight and obesity also could change estrogen levels due boosting estrogen levels in fat tissue. Women with increased levels of estrogen could develop not only fibrocystic breast disease but also PMS, fibroids, endometriosis and even cancer.

Fibrocystic breasts risk factors include the following:

  • Early menarche (first menstrual period) before 10,
  • Late first childbirth (after 30-35),
  • Reproduction problems (infertility),
  • Breast infections (mastitis).

Fibrocystic breast disease symptoms

Fibrocystic breast disease

Symptoms can be changed during menstrual cycle (more intensive before menstrual period):

  • Breast tenderness and swelling,
  • Discomfort in both breasts,
  • Lumps in both breasts (movable, fluctuate in size),
  • Painful breasts or underarm pain,
  • Breast tissue thickening,
  • Unusual nipple discharge (brown or green).

Fibrocystic breast disease diagnosis

Diagnosis include physical breast exam, mammography, ultrasound or Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Sometimes doctors could recommend biopsy with following laboratory tests.

Fibrocystic breast disease – cancer risks

First, all women between 50 and 74 years old should have screening mammography every two years.

Second, fibrocystic breast disease doesn’t increase breast cancer risks but fibrocystic breasts create problems in early breast cancer diagnosis. Breast fibrocystic transformations may mask the appearance of cancerous cells within the dense breast tissue.

Third, cancerous transformations and cancerous cells could appear in fibrocystic breasts but it is not common situation.

Fibrocystic breast disease – treatment and recommendations

In most cases no specific treatment is needed. In severe cases hormone therapy can be provided by your doctor. General recommendations include the following:

Select cotton (breathing), comfortable, well-fitting, supportive bra to reduce breast pain and tenderness;

You may apply cold compress for relieving symptoms;

Choose healthy diet with limited caffeine (exclude fat fast foods);

Avoid stress and extra physical pressure;

Avoid hormones including hormonal contraception and hormone replacement therapy;

You may sleep in supportive bra.


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