What are the symptoms of breast abscess?

Symptoms of breast abscess include pain and swelling in the breast, fever and nipple discharge. The severity of the symptoms can vary.

Common symptoms of breast abscess

The most common symptoms of breast abscess include:

  • Breast engorgement (swelling)
  • Breast pain
  • Itching
  • Nipple discharge
  • Nipple tenderness
  • Swelling, warmth and redness of the breast tissue
  • Tender or enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit on the affected side

Symptoms that might indicate a serious condition

In women who are not breastfeeding, the presence of an abscess may be a symptom of new-onset diabetes or an uncommon type of inflammatory cancer. In rare cases an abscess can result in a body-wide infection (sepsis, a life-threatening bacterial blood infection) if the infection spreads to the bloodstream. Women who are breastfeeding may experience symptoms that can make it too painful to nurse.Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these serious symptoms including:

  • Confusion or loss of consciousness for even a brief moment
  • Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing
  • Fainting or change in level of consciousness or lethargy
  • High fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit)
INTRODUCTION

What is breast abscess?

A breast abscess is a painful infection brought on by bacteria. The type of bacteria that most frequently produces breast infection is Staphylococcus aureus. Bacteria can enter through a crack in the skin of the breast or on the nipple. The resulting infection, called mastitis, invades the fatty tissue of the breast, leading to swelling and pressure on the milk ducts. An abscess is a hollo... Read more about breast abscessintroduction

CAUSES

What causes breast abscess?

Breast abscess is caused by a bacterial infection. The most common type of bacteria involved in a breast abscess is Staphylococcus aureus. Bacteria enter through a scratch in the skin or a tear in the nipple. The resulting infection, called mastitis, invades the fatty tissue of the breast and leads to swelling and pressure on the milk ducts. An abscess, or painful, pus-filled lump, can develop in the presence of severe mastitis.... Read more about breast abscesscauses

TREATMENTS

How is breast abscess treated?

Treatment for breast abscess begins with seeking medical care from your health care provider. An abscess can generally be diagnosed based on your description of symptoms and a physical exam by your health care provider.... Read more about breast abscesstreatments

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.