Fibrocystic Breast Condition Fibrocystic Changes

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

View Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Slideshow Pictures

Breast Pain Symptoms

Many women experience mild monthly breast pain in conjunction with their menstrual periods. For some women, however, the pain can be more severe. This premenstrual breast pain is referred to as cyclic breast discomfort.

Much less common causes of breast pain include benign growths in the breasts (including cysts such as in fibrocystic breast condition), breast cancer, and certain medications. Breast pain is called mastodynia, mastalgia, or mammalgia by physicians.

Fibrocystic breast condition facts

  • Fibrocystic breast condition is lumpiness in one or both breasts.
  • For some women, symptoms of fibrocystic breast condition include breast tenderness and breast pain.
  • Fibrocystic breast condition is a very common and benign condition.
  • Normal hormonal variation during the menstrual cycle is the primary contributing factor to fibrocystic breast condition.
  • Fibrocystic breast condition is a cumulative process that mainly affects women over 30 years of age.
  • The foremost concern is not fibrocystic breast condition itself but the threat of breast cancer.
  • The lumps in fibrocystic breast condition can mimic and mask breast cancer.
  • Recommended measures for women with fibrocystic breast condition include learning about the problem and its symptoms; having regular breast exams by a health care professional; and having regular mammograms.
  • Treatment of fibrocystic breast condition aims at the relief of breast pain and tenderness and correction of menstrual irregularities.

What are fibrocystic breasts?

Fibrocystic breasts are characterized by lumpiness and usually discomfort in one or both breasts. The lumpiness is due to small breast masses or breast cysts. The condition is very common and benign, meaning that fibrocystic breasts are not malignant (cancerous). Fibrocystic breast disease (FBD) is now referred to as fibrocystic changes or fibrocystic breast condition, is the most common cause of "lumpy breasts" and affects more than 60% of women. The condition primarily affects women between the ages of 30 and 50, and tends to resolve after menopause.

The diagnosis of fibrocystic breasts is complicated by the fact that the condition can vary widely in its severity.

Picture of the anatomy of the breast
Picture of the anatomy of the breast
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/2/2015

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Women's Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Fibrocystic Breast Condition - Experience

    What kinds of treatments have been effective for your fibrocystic breast condition?

    Post View 34 Comments
  • Fibrocystic Breast Condition - Diagnosis

    How was your fibrocystic breast condition diagnosed?

    Post View 19 Comments
  • Fibrocystic Breast Condition - Treatment

    What kinds of treatment, including medication, have you received for your fibrocystic breast condition?

    Post View 3 Comments
  • Fibrocystic Breast Condition - Breast Cancer Risk and Concerns

    If you have fibrocystic breasts, are you worried about developing breast cancer? Please share your concerns.

    Post View 4 Comments

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors