Patient Education

Billings OBGYN

Your Health, Our Passion

More than three million women are affected by Fibrocystic Breast Changes (formally known as Fibrocystic Breast Disease).

What is Fibrocystic Breast Changes?

Fibrocystic Breast Changes is a benign condition which typically occurs in women between 20-50 years of age. It is almost never seen in post-menopausal women. This condition is described as “lumpy,” painful breast tissue that often corresponds with a women’s menstrual cycle. Lumpy breast tissue can feel “rope like” and is mobile when touched or pressed.

Causes: The direct cause of Fibrocystic Breast Changes is unknown. The general scientific explanation is thought to involve hormone changes during a women’s menstrual cycle.


  • Pain or discomfort in both breasts.
  • Pain that comes and goes around the menstrual cycle.
  • Breasts may feel swollen or heavy.
  • Pain may be experienced under the arms.
  • Thick or lumpy breasts.
  • Lumpy tissue often changes, especially during menstruation.
  • Lumpy tissue is soft and mobile.

Diagnosis: It’s important to be properly diagnosed by a healthcare provider. Diagnosis will include a clinical breast exam and discussion about breast tissue findings. In some cases, additional testing or imaging may be necessary.


  • Mild symptoms often require no treatment.
  • Painful symptoms will often respond to over the counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • Heat or ice applied to the breast can help alleviate discomfort.
  • Tight fitting bras or sports bras can also be effective.
  • Supplements such as vitamin E, thiamine or magnesium have some benefit. These should be discussed with your healthcare provider prior to starting.
  • Caffeine has been identified as a possible contributor to Fibrocystic Breast Changes. Decreased caffeine is also recommended.

Fibrocystic Breast Changes is a benign condition and does not increase the risk of breast cancer. It’s important to follow-up with a health care provider if any breast changes are found.

By: Aimee Brown, PA-C