Definition of breast cysts
Breast cysts are sacs filled with fluid, usually benign. One or more breast cysts can be formed which are often described with a round shape or oval lumps with distinct edges. At palpation they can be felt like a grape or like a balloon filled with water, other times they can have a rigid structure.
Normally breast cysts should not be treated unless their size or pain causes discomfort in women. In these cases the emptying of the cyst can be useful.
Breast cysts are quite common in women aged between 35 and 50, ie before menopause , however they can be formed at any age. Normally they tend to disappear with menopause in women who do not take HRT .
Symptoms of the breast cyst
Symptoms of the breast cyst are:
A smooth, round shape that can be moved or an oval-shaped breast lump with distinct edges (which in general, although not always, indicates that it is benign);
Usually they are formed in only one breast, but it is not excluded that they can affect both breasts at the same time;
Pain and perception of softness in the area affected by the nodule;
Near the cycle the size of the nodule increases and the affected area appears softer;
After the cycle the size of the nodule decreases and the other symptoms also diminish.
Simple cysts do not increase the risk of breast cancer . However, the presence of one or more cysts at the breast can make the identification of possible new nodules or anomalous changes more complicated. This is why it is important for every woman to become familiar with her breasts , so that they can understand when something has changed.
In healthy women, normal breast tissue is often perceived as lumpy or nodular. When with palpation s i feel new nodules that do not disappear after menstruation, or one of the already present and previously assessed nodules increases in volume, it is good to be seen by the doctor .
Causes of breast cysts
There are still no certainties about the causes of breast cysts. There are data that allow us to hypothesize that excess estrogen may have an action on the breast tissue, thus playing a role in the formation of cysts.
The breast contains lobes of glandular tissue. The lobes are further subdivided into smaller lobules that ensure milk production during lactation. Through small ducts (ducts) milk reaches the nipple. The supporting tissue that gives the breast its shape is made of adipose tissue and fibrous connective tissue. Breast cysts are formed in the presence of an abnormal growth of the glands and connective tissue that causes the obstruction of the milk ducts. This results in their dilatation and the consequent formations of cysts that are filled with liquid.
Microcysts are too small to be sensed, to be able to identify them, it is necessary to resort to imaging tests, such as mammography or ultrasound.
The macrocisti are instead larger and can reach up to about 5 centimeters in diameter, so they can also be detected by palpation. Large cysts can cause discomfort or pain due to the pressure exerted on the breast tissue of the affected area.
Diagnosis of breast cysts
It is important that all women regularly perform self-examination once a month between the seventh and fourteenth day of the cycle .
If you feel a lump in the breast you can use your doctor who will make a diagnosis, depending on the case, breast exam, an ultrasound or a needle aspiration. Before proceeding with the diagnostic tests, the doctor will take care of the medical history , that is, collect all the information concerning your clinical history, but also of your family, which will serve to formulate the final diagnosis.
The senological examination is performed by a specialized doctor, does not require special tools, is simple and painless. The examination begins with observation and ends with palpation.
This type of examination may not be enough to make an exact diagnosis, but it can be useful to shed light on somewhat suspicious situations.