A breast lump is an enlargement, swell, protuberance or a bump that is different than the breast tissue surrounding it. Breast lumps can appear in men as well as women and they can be benign or malignant. Causes of benign breast lumps are as follows:
- Fibroadenosis: Also known as Fibro-cystic breast disease, it is a benign condition that affects the breast. It may affect either of the breasts or both. One of the major symptoms of Fibroadenosis is a breast lump. Usually, the lumpiness disappears after the menstrual cycle is over. Fibroadenosis occurs because the breast tissue doesn’t respond well to the hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle.
- Fibroadenomas: Fibroadenomas occur because of abnormal response to the hormone oestrogen. The lumps are usually well formed and round, around the milk ducts of the breast. Breast lumps due to Fibroadenomas are called breast mice, because they move around the breast. In some cases, they disappear and in some, they tend enlarge during pregnancy.
Other benign causes of breast lumps are breast abscesses, breast cysts, lipoma (lump of fat), mastitis (infection in the breast tissues), fat necrosis (another name for breast lumps) and intraductal papilloma (benign tumour of the milk ducts in the breast). A breast lump that is firm, well defined and doesn’t move around, i.e. it doesn’t disappear after your period or pregnancy, may be a result of breast cancer.
Treatment of breast lumps
The treatment of a breast lump depends on its cause. Benign breast lumps usually disappear over time. Otherwise following treatments can be considered as per the doctor’s discretion-
- Medication: If the breast lumps are painful or increase over time, it is advisable to take medication.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other painkillers like paracetamol
- Danazol, Tamoxifen or Bromocriptine are administered to treat breast pain as well
- Antibiotics which are administered to cure breast abscesses that are caused due bacterial infections
- Limiting the amount of fat in the diet or wearing well fitting bras also reduces the amount of pain due to breast lumps.
- Certain types of breast lumps are filled with fluid or pus. This fluid can be drained through a procedure called aspiration or drainage.
- A radical way to treat a breast lump is surgery. Many a times, these lumps get bigger and painful and the most effective way to deal with it is to remove it. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gynaecologist.