Breast cysts are benign fluid-filled sacs inside your breast. It may feel soft or stiff when you touch it. At times, these cysts feel like a water-filled balloon inside your breast.
Breast cysts require treatment when they swell excessively or become uncomfortable. If the pain continues, the doctor extracts the fluid to reduce the swelling. You may develop single or multiple cysts.
There are different kinds of breast cysts. However, the three common types are:
- Simple breast cyst
Simple breast cysts are filled with fluids. However, these do not develop into cancer.
- Complicated breast cyst
In complicated breast cysts, the fluid-filled sacs contain some solid substances. To remove complicated breast cysts, your doctor may advise you to undergo a breast cyst aspiration or needle biopsy.
- Complex breast cyst
A complex breast cyst includes tissue that may develop into cancer. If you have this kind of cyst, your doctor will advise you to undergo a needle biopsy. In this process, the fluid-filled sacs are withdrawn with a needle.
You may develop cysts when the fluids get accumulated in an empty milk gland. They differ in size and majorly affect women in their later childbearing days, and you may confuse breast cysts with breast cancer.
Breast cysts are common in:
- Women between 35 to 50 years old
- Premenopausal women
- Postmenopausal women who undergo hormone therapy
Almost 25% of breast masses are fluid-filled cysts. In some cases, the cysts may develop into a sore and painful skin mass.
Breast cysts can be found in one or both breasts. The signs and symptoms include:
- Tender skin or pain around the lump site
- An easily movable round or an oval lump with smooth edges
- Clear, yellow, or dark brown discharge from nipples
- An enhancement in lump size before the menstrual cycle
- A decrease in lump size after the menstrual cycle
If you have a breast cyst, it does not mean that you have a risk of breast cancer. However, breast cysts may make the diagnosis of new breast lumps challenging. Your breasts may feel tender and painful during menstruation. Therefore, it is vital that you examine the changes closely. If you feel a new breast lump that does not disappear after one or two menstrual cycles, you must consider visiting your doctor immediately.
Your breast contains glandular tissue lobes. These lobes are divided into small milk ducts that produce milk for breastfeeding. The supporting tissues around the milk ducts are made of fatty and connective tissues. When the milk ducts are filled with fluid, it develops into cysts.
The breast cysts differ in size and are defined as:
Microcysts are visible during ultrasound and mammography. However, these cysts are too small to be seen by naked eyes.
Macrocysts are enormous and go up to 2 inches in diameter. You can feel macrocysts presence in your breast.
Breast cysts may develop due to hormonal changes from menstrual cycles. In addition, hormone therapy may also lead to breast cysts.
To examine breast cysts, your doctor will likely perform a breast examination. In addition, imaging techniques like mammograms and ultrasound are used to produce a picture of the breast tissues. In some cases, the doctor may perform a breast biopsy or fine-needle aspiration.
1. Breast exam
The first step towards a breast examination includes a physical exam. After looking at your medical history, a doctor looks for your breast lump and examines other breast abnormalities. However, it is challenging to diagnose breast cysts through a physical examination, and hence your doctor may suggest you undergo ultrasound or mammography.
2. Imaging tests
The most popular imaging tests to examine a breast lump include:
- Mammography: It is used to examine large cysts and clusters of several small cysts. However, it is hard to diagnose micro-cysts through mammography.
- Breast ultrasound: It is used to diagnose a fluid-filled or solid breast lump. If the breast sacs are fluid-filled, it could be a breast cyst. However, a solid breast lump may indicate a non-cancerous lump called a fibroadenoma. Sometimes, a solid breast lump may develop into breast cancer.
If a doctor feels a solid mass in your breast, they may suggest you undergo a biopsy.
3. Fine-needle aspirations
Fine-needle aspirations is a technique to withdraw fluid from your breast lump. It is essential to place the needle accurately, and therefore a doctor uses ultrasound.
- After pricking the needle in your breasts, if you see a reduction in the lump, you don’t need further testing.
- If the fluid appears bloody and your doctor does not see a reduction in the breast lump, they may send the fluid sample for further investigation. Moreover, they may refer you to a radiologist or a breast surgeon.
- If there is no fluid, then you need to undergo a mammogram or ultrasound. The fluid’s absence represents solid accumulation in your breast lump. The sample is sent for further investigation of breast cancer.
Fine-needle aspirations are used to study the breast lump. It is an effective technique to diagnose possible cancer risks.
Homeopathy is an effective way to treat breast cysts. These work well on micro-cysts and macrocysts. To provide effective treatment, a homeopath diagnoses your physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Then, after studying your status, they chalk out a treatment plan for you.
Homeopathic drugs can be in the form of powder, tablets, granules, and liquid. Along with the drugs, you may need to make lifestyle improvements and dietary changes for effective results. Homeopathy stimulates healing responses and works as a great alternative medicine. Sometimes, your symptoms may aggravate while following homeopathy treatment. Do not worry, as it is a part of the treatment. However, do not confuse worsening of the symptoms with allergic reactions. If you notice any changes, you must consult your homeopath.