If bacteria grow in your breast tissue, you can develop a breast infection, also called mastitis. Bacteria commonly found on skin can enter your breast through cracks in your breast skin or nipple, or natural openings on the nipple and cause an infection.
Most breast infections affect breastfeeding women, but can occur in any age group.
Symptoms of breast infections
Symptoms of breast infections include:
- Red, swollen, or hot breast tissue
- Swollen or painful lymph nodes under the arm
- One breast becomes larger than the other
- Flu-like symptoms including fever, nausea, or vomiting
- Itching or pain in your breast
- Painful lump in the breast
If you are nursing, your doctor will likely recommend treating your infection with moist heat and antibiotics. You should continue to nurse and/or pump milk even while treating your breast infection.