- Breast symptoms in an older girl or teen
- Breast development (and puberty) has begun or is completed
Symptoms included in this guide are:
- Breast pain (most common complaint)
- Breast lump
- Breast size, shape or symmetry questions
- Redness of breast
- Nipple discharge
Causes of Breast Symptoms
- Breast lump: fibroadenoma, cyst. See Breast Lump details below
- Nipple discharge: milk, blood, pus, clear fluid
- Acute breast pain with redness (only on 1 side): often an infection.
- Acute breast pain and fullness without redness (same on both sides): always consider pregnancy
- Recurrent breast pain with menstrual periods: cyclic mastalgia. See details below.
- Chronic breast pain, unrelated to menstrual period and usually just one side: fibroadenoma, cyst. Marijuana use can cause breast pain.
Premenstrual Breast Pain and Swelling
- Main Symptom: breast fullness and pain.
- Cause: extra body fluid from female hormone cycles.
- Other symptoms: headache, swollen feet (edema).
- Timing: mainly noticed in the week prior to menstrual periods.
- Course: improves during menstrual period and goes away between menstrual periods.
- Physical Findings: fullness that can be felt throughout both breasts.
- Onset: usually 2 years after onset of periods (with onset of ovulation). Similar onset as for menstrual cramps.
- Frequency: 10% of teens and 50% of adult women.
- Treatment: mainly ibuprofen and support bra. If breast pain can't be controlled with ibuprofen, 80% can be improved by birth control pills.
- Other treatments: daily exercise and getting enough sleep.
Breast Lumps in Adolescents: Causes
- Breast masses in teens are almost always benign (not cancer).
- Breast cancer is very rare in teens (2 cases per million in young women)
- Fibroadenoma: most breast masses in teens are fibroadenomas. They are 1 inch (2.5 cm) oval or round, rubbery, non-tender mass. Most often in upper-outer quadrant of breast. Not associated with breast cancer. Natural course: 50% go away within 5 years, others need removal.
- Juvenile fibroadenomas: breast masses that are larger than 2 inches (5 cm) in size. Benign, but need to be removed by surgery.
- Breast cysts
- Breast abscess: this is a red, painful lump. Main cause is Staph bacteria. Main triggers are nipple injury, nipple piercing or lactation (producing breast milk). Needs oral antibiotics and needle removal of the pus.
- Breast collections of blood (hematomas) from injury: may take weeks or months to resolve.