Breast infection – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Breastfeeding

Breast infection – What you should know

Infection of breast tissue usually caused by bacteria, most often staph (Staphylococcus aureus), which are found on the skin and enter the breast through a break in the skin or nipple, as during breast-feeding. The infected breast may be swollen, hot, reddened, and painful. There may be low grade fever. Treatment includes warm wet compresses and antibiotics.

Causes of breast infection

Breast infection is known as “mastitis”. A breast infection is an infection in the tissue of the breast. The bacteria enter through a break or crack in the skin, usually on the nipple. The infection takes place in the fatty tissue of the breast and causes swelling. The swelling pushes on the milk ducts. The result is pain and lumps in the infected breast.

Breast infection while breast feeding

Breast infection usually occurs in women, who are breast feeding these are not related to breast feeding might be a rare form of breast cancer.

Also Read: Different Types of Oral Cancer and Symptoms

Symptoms of breast infection

  • Breast enlargement on one side only

  • Breast lump

  • Breast pain

  • Fever and flu like symptoms including nausea and vomiting

  • Itching

  • Nipple discharge (may contain pus)

  • Nipple sensation changes

  • Swelling, tenderness, redness and warmth in breast tissue

  • Tender or enlarged lymph nodes in arm pit on the same side

Breast infection abscess

An abscess is a collection of pus in any part of the body that, in most cases it causes swelling and inflammation around it. Abscess in the skin are easy to see, they are red, raised and painful. Abscesses in other areas of the body may not be obvious. But they may cause significant organ damage.

Some specific types of abscesses are

  • Abdominal abscess

  • Amebic liver abscess

  • Anorectal abscess

  • Bartholin’s abscess

  • Brain abscess

  • Epidural abscess

  • Peritensillar abscess

  • Pyogenic liver abscess

  • Skin abscess

  • Spinalcord abscess

  • Subcutaneous abscess

  • Tooth abscess


In severe infections, an abcess may develop. Abscesses need to be drained, either as an office procedure or with surgery. Women with abscesses may be told to temporarily stop breast-feeding.

Breast infection picture:

Symptoms of breast infection

Breast infection treatment

Treatment varies but often surgery, antibiotics, or both are needed.

Self-care may include applying moist heat to the infected breast tissue for 15 to 20 minutes four times a day.

Antibiotic medications are usually very effective in treating a breast infection. You are encouraged to continue to breast-feed or to pump to relieve breast engorgement from milk production while receiving treatment.

Also Read: Breast cancer symptoms and treatment


Tamoxifen is approved for breast cancer prevention in women aged 35 and older who are at high risk. Discuss this with your doctor.

Women at very high risk for breast cancer may consider preventive (prophylactic) mastectomy. This is the surgical removal of the breasts before breast cancer is ever diagnosed. Possible candidates include:

  • Women who have already had one breast removed due to cancer

  • Women with a strong family history of breast cancer

  • Women with genes or genetic mutations that raise their risk of breast cancer (such as BRCA1 or BRCA2)

There is still little agreement about whether lifestyle changes can prevent breast cancer. The best advice is to eat a well-balanced diet and avoid focusing on one “cancer-fighting” food.


  • Claindamycin

  • Vancomycin

  • Infliximab injection


Guidelines for cancer prevention recommend that people:

  • Choose foods and portion sizes that promote a healthy weight

  • Choose whole grains instead of refined grain products

  • Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day

  • Limit processed and red meat in the diet

  • Limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day (women who are at high risk for breast cancer should consider not drinking alcohol at all)

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