Women are prone to developing infections in their breasts. One of the rare inflammatory diseases one can get is granulomatous mastitis. The breasts become inflamed because of a mass that might be similar to a tumor. It is for this reason that granulomatous mastitis symptoms are often confused for breast cancer.
What causes granulomatous mastitis?
It was in 1972 that granulomatous was first brought to public eye. However, no definite cause of the disease has been found yet. Experts advise though that the condition appears to women who are already in the child-bearing age. Generally, it appears on the onset of pregnancy or two years after. However, recent studies have linked contraceptive use to granulomatous mastitis.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of granulomatous mastitis are not proper indications. This is because symptoms also overlap with other diseases of the breast. Common indications may include:
- Discharge from the breast
- Inflammation or feeling of swelling
- Skin in the breast area shows wrinkles or pits
Patients should remember that doctors cannot proceed with granulomatous mastitis treatment until initial findings have been verified.
Why is it hard to diagnose granulomatous mastitis?
As previously mentioned, this condition exhibits the same symptoms with other breast diseases which make initial diagnosis hard. The granuloma or on layman’s terms the mass of immune cells that have formed can feel very similar with tumors. As such, when doctor’s do a breast exam, they might not be able to automatically identify if it is a cancerous growth or not. Doctors would then recommend imaging tests or a biopsy to ascertain the character of the growth.
What are the granulomatous mastitis treatment options?
It is very important that the patient consults with a doctor beforehand. While one can think that this is just granulomatous mastitis, an expert would still ascertain if you are free from any serious threat.
Depending on the condition, doctors might recommend mastitis antibiotic treatment. Over-the-counter antibiotics might be prescribed to facilitate mastitis antibiotic treatment for relatively small masses. However, patients who have bigger outgrowths cannot opt for mastitis antibiotic treatment.
Removal of the growth through surgery might be advised. Surgery is also the best option for draining the wound. Often times, the patient might be given steroid to manage inflammation. The downside of invasive granulomatous mastitis treatment is that there is a 50% chance the growth will recur.
Another risk is the long-term use of steroids. However, doctors have to live with the risks as it is only through steroids that a patient can successfully get rid of possible mastitis recurrence. Doctors just ensures that there is an effective management of the side effects. On the other hand, the patient has to commit to her granulomatous mastitis treatment.
During the course of the treatment, doctors might prohibit the use of contraceptives. Lifestyle changes might also be recommended. And like in any other disease, healthy eating is advised.
Patients are advised to sit down with their doctor. The talk would enable doctors to discuss the dynamics of the disease and its possible treatments. Understanding is the first step towards successful recovery.