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
Taking home a new baby is one of the happiest times in a woman's life. But it also presents both physical and emotional challenges.
- Get as much rest as possible. You may find that all you can do is eat, sleep, and care for your baby. And that is perfectly okay. You will have spotting or bleeding, like a menstrual period, off and on for up to six weeks.
- You might also have swelling in your legs and feet, feel constipated, have menstrual-like cramping. Even if you are not breastfeeding, you can have milk leaking from your nipples, and your breasts might feel full, tender, or uncomfortable.
- Follow your doctor's instructions on how much activity, like climbing stairs or walking, you can do for the next few weeks.
- Doctors usually recommend that you abstain from sexual intercourse for four to six weeks after birth.
In addition to physical changes, you may feel sad or have the "baby blues." If you are extremely sad or are unable to care for yourself or your baby, you might have a serious condition called postpartum depression.
Dept. of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health