Breast Fibroids 101

Breast fibroids, also known as simple breast cysts, are fluid-filled sacs which can develop inside the breasts. These cysts can appear as oval or round lumps with distinct edges and feel rather like grapes and can have varying sizes. Fibroids are usually non-cancerous and rarely require treatment.

Breast fibroids occur most often in women who have not yet reached menopause, although they can happen to women of any age. As well as a breast lump, symptoms may include clear or yellow nipple discharge, breast tenderness, and an increase in the size and tenderness of the lump prior to menstruation. Having breast fibroids does not increase the risk of breast cancer.

What causes breast fibroids?

The exact cause of breast fibroids is not known. Breast tissue changes are a result of hormones made in the ovaries. Women who suffer from breast fibroids may be more sensitive to these hormones. Symptoms are usually more noticeable before a menstrual period then tend to lessen once the period is over.

Breast fibroids are commonly defined by their size. Microcysts are breast fibroids which are too small to feel but can show up om mammograms. Macrocycsts can be felt and can sometimes grow up to two inches in diameter. They an add pressure to nearby breast tissue, which causes discomfort.

Are they dangerous?

Sometimes, a breast cyst may feel larger or firmer than normal and may raise some concern about breast cancer. In this case, the doctor may recommend an ultrasound. The image will show if the lump is a fluid-filled sac or if it is solid. In the case of the latter, the doctor may order a biopsy to rule out cancer.

Some women have reported that breast fibroid symptoms improved with the quitting of coffee, tea, and soft drinks which contain caffeine. Many women also find relief by taking over-the-counter pain medications or the herb evening primrose.