Mammary Dysplasia

Mammary dysplasia is also known as chronic cystic mastitis and fibrocystic disease of the breast. It is a common cause of breast lumps, cysts and breast discomfort in middle-aged women.Mammary dysplasia is caused by over-activity of the ovaries in producing too much oestrogen. It is often an inherited characteristic.

Affected women develop multiple, tender, painful, small lumps in the breasts that vary in size and severity with the monthly hormonal cycle. They are usually worse just before a menstrual period. Large cysts may form permanently in the breast, and persistent pain and discomfort may significantly affect the woman’s lifestyle.

Mammography (breast x-ray) and ultrasound may be used initially, but in most cases needle or surgical biopsy is necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

Initially a firm bra should be worn day and night. Individual cysts may be drained through a needle when they become too large or uncomfortable. Medical treatment involves using drugs such as the contraceptive pill to regulate the menstrual cycle, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, danazol and progestogens. Avoiding caffeine helps some patients. The condition often persists until menopause, when it naturally subsides.

Mammary dysplasia : “Mammary” has to do with breast/mammary glands and “Dysplasia” abnormal growth or size of the cells.

Illustration showing various breast diseases

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(Last modified: 17th Oct 2014)

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