Why Do People Have Breast Lumps?
Ever had swelling in an area of your breast? Confused about what it might be? Wondering if it is a breast lump? Let’s talk about it. A breast lump is a swelling, protuberance, bulge, or hump in the breast that looks different from the surrounding breast tissue or the breast tissue in the same region of the other breast. Infection, trauma, fibroadenoma, cyst, fat necrosis, or fibrocystic breasts are also possible causes. Breast lumps may occur in both men and women, but females are more likely to experience them.
What Causes Breast Lumps?
Different forms of tissue make up the female breast. Milk glands, where milk is produced, and milk ducts, or tubes, through which milk passes to enter the nipple, are the two main forms. The composition of breast tissue varies depending on the function. Breasts change while a woman is breastfeeding, for example. They will have a distinct feel and appearance.
Fibrous connective tissue, fatty tissue, nerves, blood vessels, and lymph nodes are all found in the breast. Changes in body chemistry can affect different parts of the breast in different ways. These changes have an effect on breast sensations and texture, as well as the formation of breast lumps. Here are some possible causes of breast lumps:
- an infection or abscess
- fibroadenoma or adenoma
- cystic fibrosis
- necrosis of the fat
What Are the Symptoms of Breast Lumps?
Breast tissue may feel lumpy or ropy, and you can experience tenderness that comes and goes with your menstrual cycle. You may note changes in how your breasts usually feel if you have an underlying breast condition such as:
- a breast lump that is round, smooth, and solid.
- a big, solid lump that moves around freely under your skin
- skin dimpling or redness, similar to that of an orange
- changes in the size or form of the breasts
- your nipple is leaking fluid.
- a lump in the breast that is hard and irregular in form
Types of Breast Lumps
Breast lump falls under two categories: noncancerous lumps and cancerous lumps.
Breast lumps can vary significantly in size, feel, and texture. The consistency may aid a doctor in determining what type of lump it is.
Breast abscesses are a common occurrence. They can be extremely painful. They’re noncancerous and are normally brought on by bacteria. The skin on the nearby breasts will turn red and feel hot or firm. Breast-feeding mothers are more likely to develop breast abscesses.
A breast cyst is a fluid-filled sac in the breast that is benign or noncancerous. Under the skin, it normally feels smooth and rubbery. Some breast cysts are painless, while others cause significant discomfort. Breast cysts are uncommon in women over the age of 50. What causes breast cysts are unknown, but they may form in response to hormones associated with menstruation. Cysts may be small in size and only visible on an ultrasound scan, or they can be as large as 2.5 to 5 centimeters. Large cysts can put pressure on surrounding tissue, which can be painful.
If the ducts of the sebaceous or oil glands become blocked, a sebaceous cyst may form. A cyst or closed sac may form beneath the skin. Injury or hormone stimulation can cause these to grow larger. Sebaceous cysts are rarely treated, but if they are painful or bothersome, they can be removed.
Fat Necrosis and Lipoma
Fat necrosis may occur when fatty tissue in the breast is weakened or broken down. Breast lumps that are not cancerous may develop. They could be excruciating, and a nipple discharge and dimpling of the skin over the lump are possible. A lipoma is a noncancerous lump that is usually painless and movable. It’s a fatty benign tumor.
Intraductal papillomas are warty growths that appear in the breast ducts. They usually appear under the nipple. Sufferers may experience a bloody discharge from time to time. Younger women are more likely to have several growths, while women approaching menopause are more likely to have only one.
An adenoma is the development of irregular glandular tissue in the breast. They aren’t cancerous, and they usually go out on their own. Fibroadenomas are round, firm tumors with smooth borders. Fibroadenomas are the most common form of breast adenoma, affecting mostly women under the age of 30, but they can also affect older women. Breast biopsies account for half of all breast biopsies, but they seldom become cancerous.
A lump or tumor in the breast normally feels hard or solid. It usually has an odd shape and feels like it’s sticking to the skin or deep tissue in the breast.
Breast cancer is rarely painful, particularly when it is in its early stages. It can appear anywhere on the breast or nipple, but the upper outer quadrant is the most common location.
Five Basic Self-Examination Steps you Can Take
It is important for women to be aware of their bodies, especially their breasts. Knowing how the breasts feel in their natural state will aid in the detection of any problematic changes or lumps.
Below are steps that will assist women in conducting a self-examination.
- Examine the size, shape, and color of the lump in the mirror, as well as any noticeable swellings or lumps.
- Raise your arms and repeat step 1 again.
- Look for any nipple discharge that is watery, milky, yellow, or contains blood.
- When lying down, feel the breasts with a strong, smooth motion, even under the arms and down to the ribcage.
- Repeat step 4 again; it is easier done in the shower.
How to Treat Breast Lumps
The treatment for benign breast lumps is determined by the nature of the lumps. Most lumps don’t require treatment unless you have symptoms, or the lump is extremely large.
- If you have a fibroadenoma, you don’t need care unless it is extremely high. If the lump is larger than 4cm in diameter, your doctor may recommend that it is removed.
- With a needle, cysts may be drained (aspirated). Cysts will also go away on their own without the need for medication.
- Your doctor would most likely prescribe antibiotics if you have an abscess or another infection. Your abscess may need to be drained with a needle or a small incision (cut).
- If you have a phyllodes tumor, your doctor will advise you to have it removed by surgery, because it can lead to cancer.
- Without therapy, fat necrosis lumps typically dissolve on their own.
- Sclerosing adenosis normally doesn’t need medication, unless you need pain killers to suppress the pain that comes with it.
- Unless there is a lot of discharge from your nipple or your nipple is turned inwards, you probably won’t need care if you have duct ectasia. If this occurs, you may need surgery to clear the clogged duct.
- If you have an intraductal papilloma, the doctor would most likely recommend a surgical operation to remove the papilloma as well as the duct it is located in.
- Heat treatment is a convenient home treatment that can help suppress pain and swelling of the breast and it can be effectively done by wetting some washcloths with warm/hot water and placing it on the affected area.
Now that you Know…
Breast lumps are swellings or humps that look different from the surrounding tissue. They could be noncancerous with symptoms that fade away with time, and they could be cancerous, which may result in other complications. It is important that every lady checks their breasts daily for lumps, and if symptoms that come with it are rare, a doctor’s attention will be needed. Also, although most breast lumps are not cancerous, it is important to have them checked by a medical professional to prevent any complications.