Join Us at the Cardiology Event on Heart Disease Prevention! Register Now!

Breast Cysts


Breast cysts are small fluid-filled cysts in the breast. It is normally benign in nature, which means it is not cancerous. It is a grape-like sac filled with fluid. You may have one or multiple breast cysts at a time, and being common in women these breast lumps usually occur before their menopause.

Breasts contain lubes of glandular tissues, and a breast cyst is formed when fluid accumulates inside one of these glands. Some of these breast lumps are too small to be felt in the beginning, but with time they grow into painful breast cysts that can cause severe discomfort.

There are two different types of breast cysts i.e. Simple and Complicated cyst in breast.

  • Simple breast cysts can be explained as the breast lumps that are filled entirely with fluid. This type of breast cyst is almost always non-cancerous.
  • Complicated cyst in breast are those breast lumps that contain solid fragments floating with the fluid in the sac. 

Breast cysts are very common amongst females who are in their late childbearing years. At times these cysts are confused as lumps that can cause cancer, but more than half of these fluid sacs turn out to be just breast cysts.


Several studies have reported that in women, the lifetime prevalence of fibrocystic breast disease (breast cysts) might be between 70% and 90%.

According to the National Institute of Health, around 7% of all women in the United States will develop breast cysts at some point in their lives. And 30-50 year old females are at a higher risk of developing these breast cysts.


There are no defined breast cyst causes. According to women’s health experts, it is a normal physiological process as they can be formed due to hormonal fluctuations, which is why it is more common among women who are still in their childbearing age. The breasts contain glandular tissues which produce milk during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and breast cysts are formed when fluid piles up inside these glands. The breast cyst size varies for all individuals. There are microcysts that are hard to detect, and macrocysts that are large enough to be felt, and can be noticed instantly.


Breast Cysts can be formed on one or both sides of the breast. Following are the breast cyst symptoms:

  • A grape-like bump or sac on the breast that has smooth edges, which is noncancerous in most cases.
  • Yellow or dark brown discharge from the nipple.
  • Breast pain around the area where the breast cyst is formed.
  • An increase and decrease in the size of breast lump before and after your period.

Having breast cysts does not mean your chances of getting cancer have increased, but it can be harder to find the breast lumps that may be cancerous. It is during menstruation when the symptoms of breast cysts pain tend to get worse. You may feel the cyst inside the breast becoming lumpy and painful during menstruation.


The breast cysts diagnosis may include the following:

  • Breast Exam:

A primary care physician will physically examine the breast cysts to look for any abnormalities or growths that shouldn’t be there. You will be asked questions about your family health history and other breast cyst symptoms that you might be experiencing. Your primary care physician will then recommend an ultrasound, mammogram, or a needle aspiration.

  • Imaging Tests:

There are two types of tests that are done to screen breast cysts.

  • Mammogram for Breast Cyst
  • Breast Cyst Ultrasound
  • Fine-Needle Aspiration:

Fine needle aspiration is a biopsy procedure. A thin needle is inserted into this breast lump to collect the sample that will help make a diagnosis and rule out cancer.


In most cases, there is no breast cyst treatment required as these breast lumps are not harmful, and can at times even go away on their own.

However, if the cyst in breast begins to feel uncomfortable, you may need to opt for a breast cyst treatment.

In cases of painful breast cyst, your primary care physician can drain the fluid from the breast lump with a needle biopsy – but the fluid might come back. If the breast lump gets filled back again and continues to cause pain and discomfort, you may need to opt for surgery for a breast cyst removal.

And as for complex or complicated breast cysts, you may need more frequent checkups to stay on top of everything and be aware of your condition.

When To See A Doctor

Typically, breast cysts are not dangerous or life-threatening. You should see a primary care physician if the breast cysts start growing bigger or the painful breast cyst becomes unbearable. If you are exhibiting any other symptoms along with the breast cyst, visit a primary care physician immediately.


This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have concerns about breast cysts or any other medical conditions, please see a primary care physician for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment suggestions.

Table of Content