Common Benign Breast Related Issues
You might have experienced discomfort or tenderness in your breasts during your monthly menstrual cycle, or it is possible that you just received an abnormal mammogram result from your annual screening. The possibility that these could result in a cancer diagnosis can be terrifying.
However, it is crucial to remember that changes in the breast occur periodically according to age. This blog lists the common, non-cancer related symptoms you might encounter throughout your life and helps you learn about them.
What are the Common Breast Changes?
Most women experience changes in their breasts at various times throughout their lifetime.
- Your breasts may feel swollen, tender, or painful prior to or during your menstrual cycle. Due to the additional fluid in your breasts during this time, you might also experience more lumps and heaviness.
- During pregnancy, your breasts may feel lumpy due hormonal changes in the body. It is also important to take care of your nipples during this time.
- Your breasts may get denser if you are on hormonal therapy, such as treatment during menopause or if you are on birth control medications. Be sure to let your doctor know if you are taking any medicines before undergoing diagnostic tests such as a mammogram, as these changes might make it harder to interpret.
- Your hormone levels change as you get closer to menopause. Because of the hormonal imbalance there will be tenderness in the breasts. Your breasts may also feel lumpier than usual.
- Hormone levels decrease during the post-menopausal period. As a result, you may no longer experience lumps, pain, or nipple discharge.
Did you know that benign breast issues are not life-threatening but are treatable?
What are Common Non-Cancerous Breast Problems?
Non-cancerous breast issues, also known as benign breast issues, are breast issues that are not cancerous. Benign breast issues are treatable or can disappear on their own.
You can develop benign breast problems at any time, whether or not you have had breast cancer. Therefore, it is always advised that you self-examine your breasts, have a proactive approach towards screening methods, and undergo routine clinical examinations and mammograms.
The following are the most common benign breast problems:
Breast pain, which can be caused by many reasons, can be cyclical (related to periods) or non-cyclical (not related to periods).
Although it almost always resolves on its own, it may be caused by menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, or specific medications. Additionally, some women experience more pain at specific times of the month if they have fibrocystic breasts (lumpy breast tissue).
Breast pain is typically not a sign of breast cancer. However, always consult a medical professional if you are experiencing pain in your breasts.
Benign Breast Mass
A benign breast mass is a non-cancerous mass on the breast that is observed as a lumpy growth, called a tumour.
A benign fibroadenoma is the most common benign breast mass. It feels like a hard, round lump in the breast, similar to cysts, that moves easily and does not usually hurt. These are frequently connected to birth control, pregnancy, and breastfeeding and are most frequently observed in women during puberty and through their teens and twenties.
A breast cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops in the breast tissue. Women of any age can develop cysts.
There are three types: simple cysts (a single fluid-filled sac), complicated cysts (bunches of cysts next to each other), and the less common type, the complex cyst.
A breast cyst may feel like a lump and cause discomfort before and during your menstrual cycle. They are typically caused by hormones, are frequently seen in women in their reproductive years and during the perimenopausal stage, and typically go away on their own as hormone levels drop with the onset of menopause.
Mastitis is an infection of the breast that is most common among women who are breastfeeding and is caused when a milk duct becomes blocked and infected. It typically presents with symptoms such as breast pain, fever and chills, redness, and lumpy, tender breasts.
Periductal mastitis is an infection and inflammation around the nipple areola. It is more common in menopausal and postmenopausal women, as well as smokers.
A breast abscess is a fluid accumulation (pus) in the breast caused by untreated mastitis.
It can be excruciatingly painful and manifest as a red, painful, swollen lump in the breast with pus draining out. Other symptoms include fever and chills.
Fat necrosis is a condition that causes round, firm lumps that are painless and result from the breakdown of fatty tissues in the breast tissue. Women with very large breasts are more likely to develop the condition, as are those who have had a bruise or injury to the breast. These lumps are benign and do not raise your risk of developing cancer.
Sclerosing adenosis is a benign breast condition that may occur as the result of the normal ageing process.
It is characterised by the presence of small, firm, rubbery lumps in the breast tissue, which are most commonly found in women between the ages of 40 and 50. The lumps are usually painless and can be detected during a physical examination or mammogram. Treatment is usually not required, but if the lumps are causing pain, the doctor may advise surgery to remove them.
Uneven breast size
Asymmetry, or having different-sized breasts, is typical, particularly in the early stages of breast development. If your breasts are of different sizes or are heavy and large, seek your doctor’s advice.
The takeaway is that it is extremely crucial for everyone to pay attention to any breast changes, including breast pain and lumps. It is critical to understand your breast problem in order to provide the best treatment for your condition. If you notice any new sensations in your breasts, such as firmness or a lump, consult a doctor right away.
- Breast Changes and Conditions
- Breast Problems That Aren’t Breast Cancer
- What are breast disorders?
About Author –
Dr. Santhi Vardhani, Consultant General & Laparoscopy Surgeon, Yashoda Hospital, Hyderabad
MS (General Surgery), FMAS, FIAGES