Often, the thought of something being off with one’s breast leads to the panicky fear of breast cancer. Fortunately, despite its prevalence, very few breast problems end up being that.
Women experience numerous other problems, some being more prevalent in certain stages of life than others.
Here, learn about the more common breast issues women experience and what to do about them.
These are the most common non-cancerous breast lumps in women between the ages of 15 to 25.
These lumps can be too small to palpate on the surface of the skin and can only be detected through an ultrasound or mammogram screening. But others are large enough to be felt. Either way, they are smooth and can be moved around under the skin.
While their exact cause is unknown, it is suspected that their growth results from a heightened sensitivity to estrogen. At times, granular tissue in the breast and duct can grow over a lobule, gradually forming a mass.
The good news is that these are often painless and harmless, with most not growing in size and even shrinking over time without any interventions.
If the lump continues to grow or becomes suspicious, a doctor can prescribe its removal. Unfortunately, if the fibroadenoma had grown too large, its removal can leave a noticeable dent on your breast. Luckily you can get a breast fat transfer to fill this up.
2. Breast Cysts
Cysts are oval or round fluid-filled structures and make up 25% of all breast masses, making them relatively common. Just like fibroadenomas, these are often benign and can occur in one or both breasts.
Aside from the lumps, women with cysts might have breast tenderness and discharge. Symptoms might be more pronounced right before one’s period and taper off after that.
These are typically found in women under the age of 50 and require no intervention unless they become painful, uncomfortable, or grow too large. If treatment is necessary, draining the fluid inside them is often enough to ease the symptoms.
3. Breast Hypertrophy
This is a condition that causes abnormal growth in female breasts. This condition is extremely rare, with very few cases ever having been recorded.
Breast hypertrophy can begin at any stage in life, including puberty, following certain medications, and pregnancy.
Aside from obviously larger breasts, breast hypertrophy causes posture problems, back problems, back pain, and infections. All these can significantly lower a woman’s quality of life.
The cause of breast hypertrophy is unknown, but genetics and a sensitivity to female hormones are suspected of playing a significant role.
While this condition might resolve itself in some women, surgery is necessary for others. The first line of treatment is the management of infections or abscesses. If the condition does not self-resolve, a reduction mammoplasty or breast reduction offers a permanent solution.
This is an inflammation of breast tissue, with or without an accompanying infection.
Mastitis can occur at any time, though it’s most prevalent in lactating mothers. This condition is caused by bacteria making their way into a breast duct through a break on the skin or the nipple. This leads to an infection.
As the body battles the infection, the affected breast can become tender, warm to the touch, reddish, and swollen.
If an abscess forms, your doctor will often drain it in a minor procedure. If not, antibiotics and pain medication are enough to treat it.
Word of Caution
While most of these conditions are harmless, any abnormalities with the breasts must be reviewed by a doctor. This ensures prompt treatment and monitoring of conditions that require it.