Fibrocystic Breast Disease: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects
Last Updated: Sep 25, 2023
What is the treatment?
Mammary dysplasia; Diffuse cystic mastopathy; Benign breast disease; Glandular breast changes; Cystic changes; Chronic cystic mastitis; Breast lump - fibrocystic
How is the treatment done?
A condition symptomatic of painful and lumpy breasts, fibrocystic breast disease is a condition causing symptoms like tenderness and discomfort of the breasts normally during premenstrual periods, lumpy masses in the breasts which are often asymptomatic and sudden appearance and disappearance of benign masses in the breasts, pain and discomfort under the arms. Usually a fibrocystic breast condition does not require invasive treatment and it can get healed either on its own or may be rectified with the help of some useful home remedies. But there can be a threat of breast cancer development if the symptoms aggravate. So, if there are no symptoms or mild symptoms, no treatment is needed. For relief of symptoms your healthcare practitioner can recommend you some self-care measures like taking over-the-counter medicines, oral contraceptives, or putting on a well fitting or a sports bra or applying hot and cold compression on the breasts. A surgery is usually never recommended or done for treating fibrocystic breast disease. In case there is a cyst in the breast it can sometimes be treated by puncturing and draining it. Some lifestyle changes are also helpful in treating the symptoms. In certain cases where there are enlarged and painful cysts, treatment options may be warranted like fine-needle aspiration and surgical excision.
Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)
Treatments that include over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofane (Advil) effectively relieve discomfort and pain in a fibrocystic breast condition. In certain cases doctors can treat severe symptoms with tamoxifen which is a drug used in treating breast cancer or oral contraceptives. Also you can be advised to take a diuretic which can help drain the fluid (fluid in the fibrocystic breasts too) from the body. Treatment of fibrocystic breasts can include relieving symptoms and correcting hormonal irregularities. Relieving symptoms like pain and tenderness can be done using anti-inflammatory medications like acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Also several vitamins like vitamin A, B6, C, and E can be used in relieving the symptoms. Some patients who were once subjected to hysterectomy and are on hormone therapy can go ‘off estrogen’ for about 5 days during every menstruation cycle to avoid breast tissue stimulation at all times. Diabetes and thyroid dysfunctions are some of the endocrine disorders that can result in fibrocystic breasts. So, treating these disorders can help treat fibrocystic breast condition too. An androgenic steroid called danazol (Danocrine) has also proved to show good results in relieving symptoms. In very rare situations, the condition can require surgical excision or fine-needle aspiration. In surgical excision a persistent cyst-like lump is removed from the beast which did not remove with other treatment options and medications. Fine-needle aspiration is another option which can actually be considered before applying surgical excision. Fine-needle aspiration method involves draining the fluid out from the cysts, thereby collapsing it and relieving the discomfort.
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
Women who experience the pain, tenderness and discomfort in the breasts just before the periods and palpable lumps are felt inside the breasts even after applying simple home remedies for treatment. Women under 35 years of age can go for a breast ultrasound and the ones over 40 should have a mammogram done after discussing with the doctor.
Are there any side effects?
Women whose lumps in the breasts resolve on their own or with simple home remedies are not required to go for medications and other treatments.
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
Medications for treating fibrocystic breast disease can cause side-effects and hence it is better to avoid such treatment methods. But in case you have to consider these treatments, you can also expect the side effects that come along. The side-effects of tamoxifen are hot flashes, fatigue, headaches, depression and mood swings, increased tumour and bone pain, nausea and thinning down of hair. Androgen drugs can have several side effects like diarrhea, stomach ache, mild acne, loss or thinning of hair, increased growth of pubic hair and infection, redness, pain and irritation at the injection site. Some side effects of birth control pills are nausea, headaches, missed periods, weight gain, intermenstrual spotting and breast tenderness. Certain vitamin supplements can have side effects like confusion, muscle weakness, stomach bleeding, increased urination, uneven heart rate and tooth staining. Although a herbal supplement, evening primrose oil can have mild side effects if not severe, like nausea, diarrhea and headache.
What is the price of the treatment in India?
It does not take very to recover from a fibrocystic breast disease. The condition hardly becomes a severe one that it could need a high end treatment like a surgery excision or fine needle aspiration or even simple over-the-counter medications. In case these treatment options are required it can take a few months to completely recover.
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
The price of treatment for fibrocystic breast disease ranges from Rs. 300 to Rs 2,000 including consultation, medications and surgery. The prices may vary depending upon the city in which you reside or get treated from.
What are the alternatives to the treatment?
The results can be permanent or the lumps can appear even after they have completely vanished.
- Vorherr H. Fibrocystic breast disease: pathophysiology, pathomorphology, clinical picture, and management. American journal of obstetrics and gynecology. 1986 Jan 1;154(1):161-79. [Cited 29 July 2019]. Available from:
- Fibrocystic breast disease- Medline Plus, Medical Encyclopedia, NIH, U.S. National Library of Medicine [Internet]. medlineplus.gov 2019 [Cited 29 July 2019]. Available from:
- Fibrocystic Changes of the Breast- Merck Manual Consumer Version [Internet]. merckmanuals.com 2018 [Cited 29 July 2019]. Available from:
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