ZocdocAnswersWhy do i develop lumps when i start my period?

Question

Why do i develop lumps when i start my period?

I am a forty year old female who is still having my menstrual cycle and about once every couple of months maybe about two or three days before i start my period i experience lumps under my chin in the soft part and in my breasts and after my period starts they just disappear. I started doing this about two years ago and it was really scary at first.

Answer

What you are describing is almost certainly a condition called fibrocystic breast disease. This is a very benign (though annoying) syndrome where the breasts become more lumpy periodically throughout a woman's cycle. These changes are thought to be tied to changes in a woman's hormone levels that change during the cycle. The cystic changes can be quite alarming for obvious reasons. Besides the cyclical nature of the changes, they often can be mistaken for a breast mass. These changes go away after menopause. Only your doctor can tell for sure that what you have is fibrocystic breast changes and not something more serious such as breast cancer. Thus, I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. Schedule the appointment close to the time when you think you will be having your period. He or she can perform a thorough breast exam. Also begin keeping a diary of the changes in your breasts and how it relates to your cycle. Between you exam, and the diary, your doctor should be able to confidently determine whether your breast lumps need further work-up. Because of this condition, it is even more important that you continue to get yearly mammograms to detect early breast masses as they will be more difficult to detect manually as your breasts change.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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