Mastopathy is a name that combines several different pathologies of the mammary gland. For menopause, of course, hormonal mastopathy is most characteristic. As for the infection, the best period for her is breastfeeding. Obviously, we have already passed this stage. So, in order for our menopause to coincide with a breast infection, we need rare bad luck.
Hormones are another matter. With menopause, their background can jump very noticeably. And even if the changes are smooth, their fundamental significance and depth can not be smoothed out by this fact alone. During menopause, the mammary glands (alveoli) begin to gradually be replaced by connective tissue, which until then only separated the lobules – their groups. Such a restructuring of the tissues itself creates excellent conditions for some little thing to go “wrong.” And then there are background fluctuations … Therefore, changes on the hormonal front as the cause of menopause mastopathy are most common.
Usually the displacement of some tissues by others is accompanied by a change in the structure of their supply of blood and lymph. Naturally, if stagnation of one or the other in the tissues of the gland also occurs in youth, in the conditions of the stability of its structures, now it is all the more likely. Mastopathy can manifest itself as a general swelling of the entire mammary gland – with a feeling of “fullness” and heaviness, skin tension, possibly transparent discharge from the nipple. But at first (in the period up to 1 week) all this is not accompanied by signs of infection. That is, a general or local increase in temperature, a feeling of heat and pulsation, redness of the skin of the gland, shooting pains in the armpit closest to it.
Of course, if there is a process, but no one has made any attempts to eliminate it, a secondary infection may join it over time. But hormonal mastopathy begins without it. It can manifest itself in a different way. In particular, by swelling of not the entire gland, but by the appearance of one or more local swelling inside it. We emphasize that we are not talking about a tumor (benign or not). These swelling with mastopathy are areas of the most pronounced stagnation of lymph. It’s like a bag filled with cerebrospinal fluid, and not a site of abnormal tissue growth.
True, it should be remembered: such swelling in the tissues of the gland means one thing, and similar rows of nodules in the armpit or in any other part of the body are completely different. Within the mammary gland, this is mastopathy – almost certainly. And a few swollen lymph nodes in a row, located elsewhere, is exactly the metastasis of a malignant tumor growing somewhere nearby. Of course, “almost certainly” means only “in the vast majority of cases.”
Without special studies, it is impossible to say exactly what we felt (a bubble filled with cerebrospinal fluid, or cancer). The doctor will be able to judge this with a little more accuracy – simply by the consistency of the neoplasm. But he will probably also prescribe a biopsy for us – an examination of a sample of tumor tissue for signs of malignancy. One way or another, without examination, we can never be sure of the true nature of what is found in the chest – we do not have the knowledge or the appropriate equipment for this. Therefore, the most reasonable in this case is to contact a mammologist or gynecologist in the near future. Nevertheless, we can decide for ourselves what this “thing” is closer to.
We should remember that a malignant tumor of the breast has a number of differences from the swelling created by lymph stasis. In general, there are quite a lot of them, and some of them are not particularly reliable. But those that we indicate here are valid for the vast majority of cases:
1.First of all, none (if there are several) of benign or non-tumor neoplasms of the breast can be fused with the skin or surrounding tissues. That is, when we try to move this neoplasm with our fingers to the side, we will not see or feel any obvious resistance to our effort. The presence of deep “legs” or places of fusion with the skin is characteristic of cancer. Malignant tumors are usually quite hard to the touch and do not want to move a millimeter. They always pull the skin behind them and, as it were, something else deep in the breast.
2.By the way, the second unambiguous sign of a malignant breast tumor is the appearance of visible cords on the skin. Heavy – this is when we try to move the entire gland or tumor and see how traces appear under the skin as if holding it “suspensions”. Typically, these “paths” lead from the tumor to the upper chest. As if the breast itself was “suspended” on the loops of the pectoral muscles, and now a neoplasm appeared in it, suspended in the same way from the tissues of the entire gland.
The weights usually disappear in the supine position, that is, they are visible when we stand in front of the mirror, jump in front of it or move the tumor with our fingers, but completely disappear from the field of view when we examine the chest lying on our backs. Plus, we’ll try to remember: the outer (far from the tumor body) ends are bifurcated – they just resemble cancer claws. This coincidence is neither strange nor surprising, because the cancer was originally called cancer precisely because the most accessible tumor for external examination is a breast tumor. And it is she who grows up with strands with this form, although they are not typical for cancer in general.
3.The third very important sign of tumor malignancy is the lack of its response to normal cycle changes, hormone treatment, and other standard measures. As we said above, perseverance and non-compliance with conservative treatment often give out a malignant process even in a period when it is still quite harmless in appearance. And no other precision equipment finds any other evidence of its dangerous nature.
Note: all hormone-dependent benign tumors change their behavior with fluctuations in the background. For example, neoplasms “created” by mastopathy begin to hurt more with an increase in prolactin levels. That is, as the swelling of the mammary glands is a symptom of the onset of menstruation, typical of most women older than 35 years. We said above that prolactin levels in any case increase with age – as estrogen levels decrease. During menopause, it often becomes the main sex hormone in the body.
Therefore, the “climacteric” mastopathy is simply obliged to bother more or less with periods, depending on the background fluctuations. And cancer is always growing slowly and surprisingly stably. Such tumors rarely hurt – much less often than benign hormonal ones. And they never increase in size just to decrease again in a few days.