What is Breast lumps & Cysts?
All women have lumpy breasts: many lumps or nodules that women find are areas of normal breast tissue which can become more prominent just before a period. Lumpy breasts used to be called fibrocystic disease or fibroadenosis. It is now realised that lumpy breasts are not diseased breasts but are normal. However make sure all lumps are checked by your GP.
What are the Symptoms of Breast lumps & Cysts?
The breast goes through various stages during its development. It may help to think of these stages as seasons:
- During ‘spring’ the breast develops and this is when overgrowth of lobules (fibroadenomas) occur.
- In ‘summer’ the breasts live through regular menstrual cycles; women often notice pain and lumpiness immediately before their period.
- During ‘autumn’ the lobules of the breast tissue can become abnormal and enlarge to form cysts. Cysts are a form of ageing.
What are the Causes of Breast lumps & Cysts?
Two common causes of lumps are fibroadenomas and cysts. Cysts are smooth, mobile lumps and some are large enough to be seen through the skin. They may be painful.
Cysts are most common in women between the ages of 40 and 50, but are less common in women who are in their 20s, 30s and 60s.Fibroadenomas are often referred to as a “breastmouse” because on palpation they can move under the skin.
Traditional Medical Treatments for Breast lumps & Cysts
A small cyst may require no treatment. Larger or recurrent cysts may be drained. The doctor inserts a fine needle into the cyst and extracts the fluid. The fluid may be yellow, green, blue or black in colour.
If the fluid is bloodstained, it will be sent for tests to find the cause.
When the fluid is extracted, the lump usually disappears.If the diagnosis of fibroadenoma is confirmed there is no need for their removal other than for cosmetic reasons.
Complementary/Alternative Treatments for Breast lumps & Cysts
Acupuncture and guided imagery may be useful tools in treating pain & symptoms. Acupuncture involves the placement of a series of thin needles into the skin at targeted locations on the body, known as acupoints, in order to harmonize the energy flow within the human body.