Treatment of Fibrocystic Breast Disease

The treatment of fibrocystic breast changes is two pronged. The first focus is control of symptoms and the second is correcting the hormonal problems that cause the condition.

Treatment of Symptoms

There is a certain amount of pain and inflammation associated with fibrocystic breast disease. Drugs such as acetaminophen have been found to be useful in reducing the pain and swelling. NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have also been found to be useful. Many reports suggest that vitamins, notably vitamin E (tocopherol), have a role to play in controlling many symptoms of fibrocystic breast condition. Others report some measure of success with vitamins A, B6 and vitamin C. But not all of these have been studied in detail. Other researchers have found very good results with oil of primrose. This drug contains certain substances that allegedly reduce the pain in fibrocystic breast patients. Other studies show that no significant changes were seen at the cellular or microscopic levels after the use of oil of primrose.

Use of Hormones

The treatment of symptoms alone is not usually sufficient to relieve the pain and lumpiness associated with fibrocystic breast changes. Hence, may practitioners advocate the use of hormones, notably estrogen and progesterone to treat fibrocystic breast. Many of these women have irregular menstrual cycles. It has been found that irregularity of menstrual cycles is closely related to more severe symptoms in fibrocystic breast. Here, the careful and prudent use of oral contraceptives to regulate and correct the menstrual cycles is found to be useful in reducing many of the severe changes of fibrocystic breast pathology. In addition, many women who have undergone surgical removal of the ovaries or uterus (a procedure called hysterectomy), require hormone therapy. It has been found that avoiding the intake of estrogens for a few days during each cycle is helpful in controlling the changes of fibrocystic breast. Again, this should be done in consultation with a gynecologist or physician. The aim of this procedure is to reduce the prolonged and continuous effect of estrogen on the breast, a factor which exacerbates the symptoms of fibrocystic breast.

Use of Other Drugs

The use of two drugs deserves special mention here. These are the androgenic drug Danazol and the anti-estrogenic medicine Tamoxifen. Danazol acts to reduce the size of the nodules in the fibrocystic breast. In doing so it also reduces many of the symptoms of this condition. But having androgenic hormonal effects, this drug has to be used very judiciously due to its many adverse effects on the woman’s body. Tamoxifen is a very widely used anti-cancer drug used in treating breast cancer. This powerful anti-estrogenic medication acts by blocking the estrogen receptors in the breast tissue. Thus it prevents the action of estrogen by blocking off the estrogen molecules. This prevents estrogen from provoking or aggravating the growth of breast nodules in fibrocystic breast. Again this drug too, must be used very carefully due to its many side effects.

For further information see Fibrocystic Breast Disease.

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