Although you can detect certain breast changes yourself, most impactful changes are only detected through the use of imaging technology like a mammogram, ultrasound or MRI. No matter if a change in your breast was detected by a general practitioner or yourself, it is vital that you follow up with your doctor to make sure that everything is checked out, and you receive a proper diagnosis.
When conducting a breast self-examination, some things to look for include noting that your breasts are their normal shape, size and color. Look for any visible swelling or distortion.
Next, raise your arms and check for the above signs. Also look for signs of discharge from one or both nipples.
Women typically experience changes to their breasts due to factors like hormonal changes and the aging process.
You may experience changes to your breasts like a feeling of tenderness, pain, or swelling before or during menstrual periods. It is not unusual to experience lumps at this time due to an accumulation of fluid. Your doctor may want to follow up with you at various times in your menstrual cycle to look for any changes to the lump.
It is not unusual to find that your breasts feel lumpy while you are pregnant. Milk-producing glands increase in number and size at this time. You may also develop a condition called mastitis while you are breast-feeding. Mastitis develops due to blocked milk ducts and can cause your breasts to feel lumpy, tender and warm. They may also have a reddish appearance. Mastitis may be due to some type of infection, which can be treated using antibiotics. At other times, milk ducts can be drained.
Perimenopause, a condition that occurs immediately prior to menopause, can cause hormonal fluctuations, making your breasts feel tender, even though you may not be having a menstrual period. Your breasts could feel lumpier than usual at this time.