Center for Young Women's Health

Breast Lumps & Bumps


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Is it normal to have lumpy breasts?

Normal breasts can be smooth or lumpy. Most lumps are due to normal changes in breast tissue that occur during development. Your breasts may also feel different or lumpy around the time of your period. If you do notice that a new lump appears in your breast and does not disappear after your period, you should make an appointment with your health care provider.


What if I notice a new lump or something different about my breasts?

Most lumps or changes in your breasts that occur when you are a teen or young woman are due to normal changes in the breast tissue. If you find a lump it could be from hormonal changes, an injury, a breast cyst filled with fluid from a blocked mammary gland (milk-producing gland), an infection, or a benign (not cancerous) tumor called a fibroadenoma. If the lump is sore or the skin over it is red, you may have an infection and you should contact your health care provider. If your breast just feels lumpy, check it again after your next period, since your breasts may feel different or lumpy to the touch around or before the time of your period. If the lump doesn't disappear after you finish your period, see your health care provider (HCP). Your HCP may order an ultrasound of your breast to figure out what kind of lump you have. If you have a fibroadenoma, your HCP will discuss whether it can be regularly examined and watched without any special treatment, or if you need surgery to remove it.


What if I notice a hard lump and redness on my breast?

A hard lump in the breast with redness over it could mean you have a deep infection called a breast abscess (sometimes called Mastitis), especially if you also have breast pain and a fever. Although a breast abscess is usually a complication of breastfeeding, other things can cause breast infections, such as shaving, tweezing, or plucking hairs around the nipple area; sexual play that causes trauma; or getting a cut on the breast. Abscesses can also occur if a duct becomes blocked during breast development, or from bacteria getting into the nipple. It's best to try to prevent a breast infection by avoiding things that could cause trauma or cuts to your breast(s). If you're breastfeeding, keep your nipples clean and dry.


If you think you might have a breast abscess, don't wait! Make an appointment to see your HCP and start antibiotics right away.


What if I have a bump on my breast(s) from a sports injury or fall?

Treat your breast injury as you would treat an injury on any other part of your body. If the lump is sore and black & blue, it's probably from the injury. If you feel a lump but you don't remember injuring yourself, or if the lump is still present after a week, see your HCP. Don't worry - there's no link between breast injury and breast cancer.


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Written and reviewed by the CYWH Staff at Boston Children's Hospital


Updated: 2/27/2014

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