Differentiating breast masses can ease the minds of many women who fear that a lump or abnormality automatically means they have breast cancer. Fibrocystic breast disease is a general term used to describe breasts which can be painful and lumpy. Often there is no known Western medical cause for fibrocystic breasts. However, pain is almost always linked to a woman’s menstrual cycle. This is the most common type of breast mass in women ages 20 to 45. For the majority of women, the pain and symptoms diminish with menopause, unless they are take hormone replacements. However, these have a multitude of dangerous side effects. Some women who are taking birth control pills (OCPs) will experience milder symptoms. Some common symptoms of fibrocystic breasts are:
- Pain in breasts
- Discomfort in breasts
- Pain associated with the menstrual cycle or continually
- Feeling of fullness in breasts
- Swollen breasts
- Heavy breasts
- Lumpy breasts
Complications of fibrocystic breast disease are rare, but there can still be a definitive reduction in quality of life with women who experience severe breast pain. Certain foods and caffeinated beverages can be associated with breast pain, but research proving this face is slim.
If imaging is done on a fibrocystic breast often the following conditions can be observed:
- Fluid-filled round or oval cysts
- Scar-like fibrous tissue (fibrosis)
- Overgrowth of cells (hyperplasia due to estrogen) lining the milk ducts or milk-producing tissue lobules)
- Adenosis (enlarged breast lobules)
Establishing a definitive diagnosis should be done to rule out breast cancer or any other disease which may mimic such symptoms. Please call Denver Holistic Medicine if you suffer from fibrocystic breasts. It is our goal to help alleviate your discomfort naturally or to refer you to a Western medical specialist, if needed.