Other Types of Fibroids
Uterine fibroids, which are benign growths composed of connective tissue and muscles in the muscular wall of the uterus, are the most common growths in a woman’s body. More than 30% of women of childbearing age suffer from them. However, uterine fibroids are not the only type of fibroid that a woman can develop. Breast fibroids are also widely prevalent among women.
Similar to uterine fibroids, breast fibroids are non-cancerous growths. However, unlike uterine fibroids, the fibroids found in the breast do not cause infertility or contribute to pregnancy complications. Unfortunately, though, they can increase a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer.
What are Breast Fibroids?
Breast fibroids, also known as fibrocystic breast disease, fibroid breasts, mammary dysplasia, benign breast disease and diffuse cystic mastopathy, are benign (non-cancerous), moveable, rubbery nodules that cause painful swelling near the breast surface.
Breast fibroids are quite common, particularly in women who are 30 years of age or older. Approximately 33% of them suffer from breast fibroids because of the cumulative effect of monthly menstrual and hormonal cycles, as well as the accumulation of fluids in the cells and cellular debris in the breast. This process commences at puberty and continues upto menopause, after which breast fibroids become less of a problem, presumably due to the decrease in estrogen and progesterone.
What are the Causes of Breast Fibroids?
The causes of breast fibroids are not completely understood. However, there are several factors that play a significant role in the development of the disease.
- The monthly changes in the levels of oestrogen and progesterone are considered to be the most noteworthy factors contributing to this disease. These two hormones directly affect the breast tissues by causing cells to grow and multiply.
- Prolactin, growth factor, thyroid hormone and insulin also influence the development of breast fibroids.
- The breast produces hormonal products from its glandular and fat cells. These hormonal products send signals to the neighbouring breast cells. These signals are the key factors responsible for the development of breast fibroids.
Is There a Genetic Cause for Breast Fibroids?
In terms of the hereditary aspect of breast fibroids, breast fibroids do appear to run in family. This said, there has been no conclusive study confirming the hereditary aspect of the condition. Fibroids are noncancerous, benign growths and are therefore, not to be confused with breast cancer although the two are believed to be linked. Women who have breast fibroids do in fact have a more elevated risk of breast cancer than women who do not.