Fibrocystic breast disease is a name for healthy breast tissue that feels lumpy and may be painful at times. It is not a true disease and is not harmful. The medical community sometimes refers to the condition as fibrocystic changes.
Fibrocystic breast disease is very common. Some experts estimate that about 50 percent of women ages 20–50 in the United States experience fibrocystic breast changes at some point.
In this article, learn about the symptoms and causes of fibrocystic breast disease, as well as how to get relief and when to see a doctor.
Medical experts have yet to fully understand the cause of fibrocystic breast disease, but there appears to be a strong association between hormones and breast changes.
Breast tissue responds to fluctuating levels of hormones, especially estrogen.
Changes in the breasts may include:
A. an overgrowth of cells that line the milk ducts
B. an increase in fibrous tissue
C. the formation of cysts
People who develop fibrocystic changes may be more sensitive to hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle. It is common for symptoms to become more bothersome right before or during a menstrual period.