If you don't experience symptoms, or your symptoms are mild, no treatment is needed for fibrocystic breasts. Severe pain or large, painful cysts associated with fibrocystic breasts may warrant treatment.

Treatment options for breast cysts include:

  • Fine-needle aspiration. Your doctor uses a hair-thin needle to drain the fluid from the cyst. Removing fluid confirms that the lump is a breast cyst and, in effect, collapses it, relieving associated discomfort.
  • Surgical excision. Rarely, surgery may be needed to remove a persistent cyst-like lump that doesn't resolve after repeated aspiration and careful monitoring or has features that concern your doctor during a clinical exam.

Examples of treatment options for breast pain include:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or prescription medication.
  • Oral contraceptives, which lower the levels of cycle-related hormones linked to fibrocystic breast changes.

Alternative medicine

Vitamins and dietary supplements may lessen breast pain symptoms and severity for some women. Ask your doctor if one of these might help you — and ask about doses and any possible side effects:

  • Evening primrose oil. This supplement may change the balance of fatty acids in your cells, which may reduce breast pain.
  • Vitamin E. Early studies showed a possible beneficial effect of vitamin E on breast pain in premenstrual women who experience breast pain that fluctuates during the menstrual cycle. In one study, 200 international units (IU) of vitamin E taken twice daily for two months improved symptoms in women with cyclic breast pain. There was no additional benefit after four months.

    For adults older than 18 years, pregnant women and breast-feeding women, the maximum dose of vitamin E is 1,000 milligrams daily (or 1,500 IU).

If you try a supplement for breast pain, stop taking it if you don't notice any improvement in your breast pain after a few months. Try just one supplement at a time so that you can clearly determine which one helps alleviate the pain — or not.