Information for Patients
Most women experience breast changes at some time. Your age, hormone levels, and medicines you take may cause lumps, bumps, and discharges (fluids that are not breast milk).
If you have a breast lump, pain, discharge or skin irritation, see your health care provider. Minor and serious breast problems have similar symptoms. Although many women fear cancer, most breast problems are not cancer.
Some common breast changes are
- Fibrocystic breast changes - lumpiness, thickening and swelling, often just before a woman's period
- Cysts - fluid-filled lumps
- Fibroadenomas - solid, round, rubbery lumps that move easily when pushed, occurring most in younger women
- Intraductal papillomas - growths similar to warts near the nipple
- Blocked milk ducts
- Milk production when a woman is not breastfeeding
NIH: National Cancer Institute
Breastfeeding offers many benefits to your baby. Breast milk contains the right balance of nutrients to help your infant grow into a strong and healthy toddler. Some of the nutrients in breast milk also help protect your infant against some common childhood illnesses and infections. It may also help your health. Certain types of cancer may occur less often in mothers who have breastfed their babies.
Women who don't have health problems should try to give their babies breast milk for at least the first six months of life. Most women with health problems can breastfeed. There are rare exceptions when women are advised not to breastfeed because they have certain illnesses. Some medicines, illegal drugs, and alcohol can also pass through the breast milk and cause harm to your baby. Check with your health care provider if you have concerns about whether you should breastfeed.
If you are having problems with breastfeeding, contact a lactation consultant.
NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development