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Women's Health

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Fibrocystic Breasts - Topic Overview

How are fibrocystic breast changes diagnosed?

If you notice a new breast lump, wait through one menstrual cycle. If it's still there after your period, see your doctor for a breast exam. If you aren't having menstrual periods, see your doctor for a breast exam as soon as you notice a new lump.

To diagnose fibrocystic breast changes, your doctor will do a breast exam and ask when you had your last period. Further exams and tests usually aren't needed. But if your doctor needs more information or you want reassurance, you may have other tests, such as a mammogram or a breast ultrasound.

How are they treated?

You don't need to do anything about fibrocystic breast changes. They are normal, and they don't lead to cancer.

If breast pain bothers you:

  • Take an over-the-counter pain medicine like acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen (such as Advil). If this doesn't help, ask your doctor about using a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) skin cream.1 Stronger medicines are available, but they may have more side effects.
  • Wear a bra that gives your breasts good support.
  • Ask your doctor about low-dose birth control pills. For some women, these help reduce breast soreness and swelling before periods. They may be a good choice if your symptoms bother you and you want to prevent pregnancy.

Although there is no evidence that any of these help with breast pain, some women report that they feel better when they give up caffeine; eat a very low-fat diet; or take certain vitamin, mineral, or herbal supplements. Be sure your doctor knows about any supplements you're taking. And talk with your doctor before you make any major changes to your diet.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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