Fibrocystic breast condition is the lumpiness in one or both breasts. This disease mainly affects women over 30 years of age. The lumpiness is due to small breast masses or breast cysts. The lumps in fibrocystic breast condition can mimic and mask breast cancer. Thus, the foremost concern is not fibrocystic breast condition itself but the threat of breast cancer.
Normal hormonal variation during the menstrual cycle is the primary contributing factor to fibrocystic breast condition. It has been noticed that women with PCOS are more than three times as likely to develop fibrocystic breast disease.
HOW PCOS DEVELOPS FIBROCYSTIC BREAST DISEASE?
In PCOS, hormonal disturbance causes the formation of cysts inside the ovaries. If treatment is not taken on time, then, this hormonal disturbance originates more diseases. Fibrocystic breast disease also develops due to this hormonal disturbance in PCOS. Fibrocystic breast disease develops when estrogen and progesterone levels are imbalanced inside body. Estrogen and progesterone are among those hormones which are majorly imbalanced under PCOS. These hormones are also present in the breast tissue and disturbance in their cycle causes lumps inside breast.
HOW CAN IT BE DIAGNOSED?
A common indicator of fibrocystic breast condition is breast pain or discomfort. Discomfort may include a dull, heavy pain in the breasts, breast tenderness, nipple itching, and/or a feeling of fullness in the breasts.
The primary method of diagnosing fibrocystic breast condition is physically touching and feeling (palpation) the lumpy areas in the breast(s). These lumps may be detected by a woman on self-examination or by her physician. The lumps in fibrocystic breast condition are typically mobile (they are not anchored to overlying or underlying tissue). They usually feel rounded, have smooth borders, and may feel rubbery or somewhat changeable in shape.
Specialized breast ultrasound exams and other tests can be very helpful for cancer screening. It may sometimes be necessary to obtain a sample (biopsy) of breast tissue with a needle or by surgery in order to make an accurate diagnosis and differentiate between fibrocystic breast condition and breast cancer.
RECOMMENDATION FOR WOMEN WITH FIBROCYSTIC BREAST CONDITION
- Regular breast examinations by a physician
- Follow an appropriate breast imaging program
- Have a baseline mammogram between the ages of 35 to 40 years and subsequently every year from age 40 onwards
- Understanding of the statistical risk of breast cancer based on all available information
- Breast self examination importantly after learning proper technique
PREVENTION & TREATMENT
- Dietary modification
Fibrocystic breast condition may improve if you avoid caffeine and reduce fat intake, especially saturated fats. High-fiber diet is also recommended, with an emphasis on plant-based foods.
An increase in seafood is also recommended. Fish in particular may be useful in preventing breast cysts due to their iodine content and the healthy omega-3 oils they contain.
- Lifestyle changes
Along with dietary modifications, overall lifestyle changes also contribute in the management of PCOS and thus, fibrocystic breast disease. This involves the addition of regular physical activity to the daily schedule.
Physical activity or exercise helps to maintain healthy weight and loose extra fat inside body. Being a big contributor in PCOS, body weight need to be maintained at optimum levels. Thus, regular physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day should be incorporated. It also helps to manage fluctuations in the blood sugar levels and manage stress levels too.
Anti-inflammatory medications, including acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) often reduce the breast pain significantly.
A variety of vitamins may be of benefit in relieving the symptoms of fibrocystic breast condition. These include vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6 and vitamin A.
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 cycle.
One herbal supplement known as Furocyst® (fenugreek seed extract) is clinically proven to cure PCOS. It is reported in this clinical study that Furocyst is also able to manage irregularity in menstrual cycle. Thus, due to managing menstrual cycle in PCOS women, Furocyst® can also be able to manage fibrocystic breast condition.