Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.


Breast Infection Overview

What is a breast infection?
A woman with a breast infection has pain and swelling of the breast, due to an infection by bacteria. The most common breast infection is mastitis, which occurs in women who are breastfeeding. A breast abscess is a collection of pus under the surface of the skin.

What are the symptoms of a breast infection?
Symptoms of a breast infection include breast pain, breast swelling, breast tenderness, and skin redness over the breast. Additional symptoms may include fever, chills, a tender breast lump, nipple discharge, and swollen lymph glands under the arm.

How does the doctor treat a breast infection?
Treatment for a breast infection includes antibiotics, warm compresses, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain. Treatment for a breast abscess may also include incision and drainage.

Last Updated: Aug 18, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Breast Infection References
  1. Michie C, Lockie F, Lynn W. The challenge of mastitis. Arch Dis Child. 2003 Sep;88(9):818-21. [12937109]
  2. Norlock FE. Benign breast pain in women: a practical approach to evaluation and treatment. J Am Med Womens Assoc. 2002 Spring;57(2):85-90. [11991427]
  3. O'Hara RJ, Dexter SP, Fox JN: Conservative management of infective mastitis and breast abscesses after ultrasonographic assessment. Br J Surg 1996 Oct; 83(10): 1413-4. [8944458]
  4. Osterman KL, Rahm VA. Lactation mastitis: bacterial cultivation of breast milk, symptoms, treatment, and outcome. J Hum Lact. 2000 Nov;16(4):297-302. [11155607]
  5. Potter B. Women's experiences of managing mastitis. Community Pract. 2005 Jun;78(6):209-12. [15984560]
  6. Versluijs-Ossewaarde FN, Roumen RM, Goris RJ. Subareolar breast abscesses: characteristics and results of surgical treatment. Breast J. 2005 May-Jun;11(3):179-82. [15871702]
  7. Wambach KA. Lactation mastitis: a descriptive study of the experience. J Hum Lact. 2003 Feb;19(1):24-34. [12587642]
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