Fibrocystic Disease



The glands in the breasts change during the menstrual cycle. They get bigger to get ready for a pregnancy. They shrink if pregnancy does not happen. This causes cysts and fibrous tissue to build up. All women will have some form of fibrocystic disease during their reproductive years. Not all seek medical care.

Risk Factors

All women between puberty and menopause are at risk for fibrocystic disease.



These harmless cysts can sometimes cause pain that happens late in each menstrual cycle.

A woman may have:

  • Multiple cysts in both breasts that change with menstrual cycles
  • Cysts that may or may not be painful and tender


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done.

It can be hard to tell the difference between this disease and breast cancer. Pictures may be taken of the breasts. This can be done with a mammogram.



No treatment is needed unless there is pain.

Supportive care can help manage pain. This includes things like dietary changes, a supportive bra, or warm packs. Medicine may also be given to:

  • Ease pain
  • Balance hormone levels in the body

People who are not helped by these methods may need:

  • Needle aspiration to remove fluid from the cyst
  • Fine needle biopsy to remove tissue from the cyst
  • A biopsy to remove the entire cyst


There are no known guidelines to prevent fibrocystic disease.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.