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Fibrocystic Breasts - Treatment Overview

Most women who have fibrocystic breast changes or cyclic breast pain do not need treatment from their doctor. Cystic or tender breasts are a normal premenstrual condition, and fibrocystic changes do not lead to breast cancer. Unless your pain is severe and long-standing, home treatment measures are likely to relieve your symptoms. For more information, see the Home Treatment section of this topic.

Low-dose birth control pills (oral contraceptives) may help reduce cyclic breast tenderness and breast swelling before periods. This may be an option if you have cyclic breast pain and you also want to prevent pregnancy.

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  • Birth control pills have very few serious side effects and may be taken safely by most nonsmoking women through their 40s.
  • Some women find that birth control pills make their breast symptoms worse. Breast pain can also be a side effect of birth control pills.

In very rare cases, other prescription medicines are used to treat severe cyclic breast pain. Because all of these medicines can cause serious side effects, they are used only in cases of severe pain.

  • Danazol is a man-made form of the male hormone testosterone. This medicine stops your menstrual cycle and puts your body into a state that is like menopause.
  • Tamoxifen blocks the effects of estrogen in the body. It is often used to treat breast cancer or to help prevent breast cancer in high-risk women.
  • Toremifene also blocks the effects of estrogen in the body.
  • Goserelin injections stop your ovaries from working. This stops your menstrual cycle and puts your body into a state that is like menopause.1 Significant side effects include hot flashes and weakened bones (bone density loss).

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 28, 2011
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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