Breast Cysts

Breast Cysts

Breast cysts are fluid-filled sacs within your breast.  You can have one or many breast cysts.  They’re often described as round or oval lumps with distinct edges.  In texture, a breast cyst usually feels like a soft grape or a water-filled balloon, but sometimes a breast cyst feels firm.

Breast cysts are common in women in their 30s and 40s.  If you have breast cysts, they usually disappear after menopause, unless you’re taking hormone therapy.  Breast cysts don’t require treatment unless a cyst is large and painful.  In that case, draining fluid from a breast cyst can ease your symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cysts:

     – A smooth, easily movable round or oval breast lump with distinct edges
     – Breast pain or tenderness in the area of the breast lump
     – Increase in breast lump size and breast tenderness just before your 
     – Decrease in breast lump size and resolution of other symptoms after
        your period

*Having one or many simple breast cysts does not increase your risk of breast cancer.

When to see a doctor:

Normal breast tissue in healthy women often feels lumpy or nodular.  If you detect the presence of any new lumps, or if a previously evaluated breast lump seems to have grown or otherwise changed, make an appointment with your doctor to get it checked out.

Causes of Breast Cysts:

Each of your breasts contains 15 to 20 lobes of glandular tissue, arranged like the petals of a daisy.  The lobes are further divided into smaller lobules that produce milk during pregnancy and breast-feeding.  Small ducts conduct the milk to a reservoir just beneath your nipple.  Supporting this network is a deeper layer of connective tissue called stroma.

Breast cysts develop when an overgrowth of glands and connective tissue (fibrocystic changes) block milk ducts, causing them to dilate and fill with fluid.