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 this problem during their reproductive years. Most women will not seek medical care.

Risk Factors

All women between puberty and menopause are at risk for this problem.



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 your symptoms and health history. 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.

Other options are:

  • Medicines, such as:
    • Over the counter pain relievers like ibuprofen
    • Medicine to balance hormone levels in the body
  • Needle aspiration to remove fluid from the cyst
  • Fine needle biopsy to remove tissue from the cyst
  • Biopsy to remove the entire cyst


There are no known guidelines to prevent this problem.

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.