One of the most common reasons for changes to your breasts is the fluctuating hormones of your menstrual cycle, but there are several other benign causes of breast lumps. As it is difficult to know the cause without examination, it is always recommended that you get them checked by a GP.
If an examination by the GP is unable to determine the cause of the lump, it may be necessary to refer you to a specialist for a more in-depth investigation & diagnosis. This can be done through ultrasound, mammogram, or biopsy, & we can refer you on the same day or the next day, for no extra charge.
Some possible explanations for a lump in the breast are cysts, inflamed ducts or glands, or a mild infection. In the week or two prior to your period, it is also common to experience painful or tender breasts, as well as an increase in the density of the tissue. Small lumps may also appear, but then disappear once your menses arrive. A breast lump is also, of course, one of the main signs of breast cancer, which is why it’s important to pay attention to any changes & get them checked by a GP who can rule out the presence of cancer.
Symptoms of a breast lump include:
- changes to the density of your breast tissue
- Nipple discharge
- Swellings under the arms, on or around the breasts
- Changes in breast size
- A red rash on or around the nipple
- Dimpling or puckering of the skin
Some possible benign causes of a breast lump include:
- Cysts are sacs of fluid that can range in size & diameter. They lead to breast lumps that feel smooth & firm, & may or may not be painful or even noticeable. They are common both pre- & post-menopause (with HRT).
- A fibroadenoma is a benign growth that is especially common in younger women. They are related to changes in oestrogen levels, feel firm to the touch, & move around easily beneath the skin.
- A breast abscess is a painful lump of pus that forms inside the breast, causing redness, swollen skin, & fever. This is usually caused by a bacterial infection.
- Scarring: trauma to the breasts as a result of injury or surgery can alter the density of the breast tissue & may cause painful or lumpy areas.
- Mastitis: most common in women who are breastfeeding, mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary gland, caused by bacteria entering the breast through the nipple. It can be very painful, & may be accompanied by redness, inflammation, swelling, & nipple discharge.
Types of breast lumps: