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.
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.
What are the treatments for fibrocystic breast
The treatments for fibrocystic breast condition are directed at the individual
components of the condition, including the relief of symptoms (such as breast
pain and tenderness) and the correction of hormonal irregularities:
Relief of symptoms: Some simple measures, such as adequate support of the
breasts and perhaps wearing a bra at night, may provide relief from many of the
symptoms of fibrocystic breast condition. Antiinflammatory medications, including
nonsteroidal antiinflammatory medications (NSAIDs), often
reduce the breast pain significantly.
There are reports suggesting that a variety of
vitamins may be of benefit in
relieving the symptoms of fibrocystic breast condition. These have included
vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6 and vitamin A, among others. In general, the
rationale for using these vitamins is unclear and is not based on duplicated,
controlled clinical studies. The exception may be vitamin E where, at least in
some studies, there appears to be a measurable benefit for some patients.
Another food supplement that has been claimed to be of some benefit in
clinical studies is Oil of Primrose. This substance contains certain essential
fatty acids that allegedly benefit some fibrocystic breast condition patients by
reducing their breast pain. There is no evidence showing any
correction (resolution) of the microscopic cellular abnormalities with use of
this substance, but some women experience symptom relief with this supplement.
Hormonal irregularities: Some women with very irregular menstrual cycles
seem to progressively suffer more severe fibrocystic breast condition. This
tendency is most likely due to the prolonged and irregular hormonal stimulation
of the breasts. In these patients, it is sometimes helpful to establish
menstrual cycle regularity with oral contraceptives. Regular cycles seem to
allow the breast tissue to recover more completely at the end of each menstrual
In patients who have had a
hysterectomy and who are on
hormone therapy, it may be helpful to be "off estrogen" for five days during each
monthly cycle rather than remain on continuous estrogen. Again, this schedule is
designed to avoid the continuous stimulation of the breast tissues by estrogen.
It is important that any such hormone regulation be under the direct supervision
of a physician.
Certain common hormonal (endocrine) abnormalities, such as
thyroid dysfunction, may contribute to fibrocystic breast condition. Since these
conditions may aggravate the symptoms of fibrocystic breast condition, they should
be diagnosed and treated.
Studies have shown some benefit from the short term use of the
antiestrogenic drug Tamoxifen in relieving breast pain.
may be associated with a number of adverse effects, especially in postmenopausal
women, and its use should be limited to the short term. Likewise, the androgenic
steroid drug danazol
(Danocrine) has also been shown to reduce breast pain and nodule size
in women with fibrocystic breast condition. Danazol is also associated with a
number of serious side effects. Both of these medications may be considered for use in
women with severe cyclical breast pain due to fibrocystic condition.
Reviewed by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR on 2/1/2012