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ask: Fibrocystic breast symptoms, swollen lymph nodes, or something else?

By Anonymous
 
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Short history count: I've always had tender, sore breasts that feel like there are oblong lumps making up all the tissue in my breasts, but all the lumps are present and of exact same size and place in both breasts. Its been that way since I was a teen, and my mom was told that she had fibrocystic breasts. I am also small breasted. New stuff: I've noticed recently that the pain has gotten worse and the areas that are painful, the undersides and outsides, feel hard (as opposed to where it doesn't hurt and the tissue feels soft). I've always been somewhat unfeeling in my breasts, especially the nipples, but I have a spot near the nipple (exactly the same spot on both breasts) that seems to have some mild numbness (i can feel the ridges of the skin of my fingers but I can't feel the nails digging down). I don't have any discharge and I cant find any bumps per say. My breasts only hurt when pressed into or bounce. It doesn't seem to always be affected by menstraution.

I haven't found much new info online except that I may have 2 much soy, salt, or stress.
Sorry this was so lenghty!

Add a Comment3 Comments

mistle30

Not that my opinion counts for much, I would say have a diagnostic mammogram done; no matter how old you are. I think you will see you have some calcifications in your breast tissue which is most likely what you are feeling. A good gyn will also be helpful but I encourage you to keep a journal with a diagram of what you feel and when. Also make notations of where you are in your cycle. And lastly, document when you are having pain and what you were doing. Hopefully, this will help you make some connections to either food or activity.

October 28, 2010 - 4:49pm
Diane Porter

Anon,

You didn't mention how old you are; have you started having your own annual pap smears and pelvic exams yet? Have you ever had a doctor examine your breasts?

All of your symptoms are consistent with fibrocystic breasts. Here's what the Mayo Clinic says about it:

"Fibrocystic breast changes are very common. Women with this noncancerous (benign) condition often experience lumpy, painful breasts. Although once called fibrocystic breast disease, the condition is so common — especially in premenopausal women — that most experts now refer to the condition as fibrocystic breast changes.

"The cause of fibrocystic breast changes isn't completely understood. But the condition is likely associated with hormone fluctuations during a woman's menstrual cycle. Signs and symptoms, which typically worsen right before menstruation, include:

--Dense, lumpy breast tissue
--Feeling of fullness in the breasts
--Pain and tenderness that tends to be generalized and may radiate to the underarm
--Nipple discharge that's often greenish brown in color
--Breast cysts that are identified on breast ultrasound
--Although fibrocystic breast changes don't increase your risk of breast cancer, having lumpy and tender breasts may make it more challenging to do breast self-exams. For this reason, it's important to familiarize yourself with how your breasts normally feel and monitor for any changes.

"If you choose to perform breast self-exams, schedule them for a week after your period ends — when hormonal fluctuations decrease and breast tissue feels less lumpy and tender. Also, review your technique with your doctor to ensure that you're doing the exam correctly. Dense breast tissue may make it more difficult to detect abnormal lumps."

You're to be commended for doing breast self-exams and for knowing what's new and different about your body. And while it sounds like these changes can just be due to fibrocystic breasts, it's never bad to have something checked out that just doesn't feel right to you.

It's good news that you are feeling the same thing in both breasts. It would be more worrisome if you found a lump or ridge in one breast that you didn't find in the other.

Here's one page that talks about treatment, including things you can do yourself:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/fibrocystic-breast/treatment.html

Here are their tips:

--Avoiding caffeine, cola, and chocolate and making other dietary changes
--Taking a supplement containing 3,000 mg of evening primrose oil and 200 to 400 units of vitamin E each day
--Using over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminofen or aspirin
--Taking prescription medications, such as bromocriptine or danazol
--Using oral contraceptives or, if already taking them, adjusting the dose
--Stopping or reducing hormone therapy for postmenopausal women
--Reducing dietary salt, especially one to two weeks prior to the period
--Wearing a bra that gives good support, especially if exercising or breasts are large
--Applying heat with a heating pad or warm water bottle

Does this help?

March 29, 2010 - 10:23am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Diane Porter)

No, not really but thank you for your time. :)

March 29, 2010 - 9:15pm
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