Itching due to infection can occur anywhere in the body and the areas that are dark and moist are highly vulnerable for bacterial and fungal infection. Breast fungus can cause dark discoloration and persistent itching under the breasts. Fungus would love to grow on areas of skin folds that are moist (with sweat) and often covered. The skin under your breasts is perfect environment for fungal and bacterial growth and this can occur with anyone irrespective of sex.
Obese and overweight people are at high risk of any skin infection due to multiple folds in their body. Itchy breasts can often be outcome of fungal infection and in rare cases it can happen due to viral infection also.
You would know about the types of fungal infection that can occur in your skin, its implications, causes and available treatments.
Types Of Fungal Infection :
Candida is a name popularly known for vaginal infection and the same fungi can cause breast infection and oral thrush. Diaper rashes seen on babies are caused by the same yeast Candidiasis and anyone with weakened immunity are at risk of developing Candidiasis. Candida infection can cause rash and even blisters under the breasts. It can cause persistent itching and discomfort for the affected person. Candida infection can be very itchy and can be controlled only by taking proper medications.
Ringworm infection is another kind of fungal infection primarily caused by Tinea Curtis. This kind of fungi can cause jock itch (Dhobi’s itch) under the breasts and on the groin and can cause athlete’s foot. As the upper skin layer becomes old and dead it piles up plenty of keratin (a kind of protein molecule) on the skin and the fungi would thrive on this dead protein material on your skin. Ringworm infection can cause skin discoloration, red patches and round and scaly skin. Ringworm can be contagious and can get easily transmitted to others by sharing sheets and towels and other personal things. Dogs and cats can very well carry ringworm in their bodies and transmit it to you in due course. Antifungal creams and oral pills are suggested to manage ringworm infection.
Bacterial Infection :
Mastitis is bacterial infection that causes swelling of breast tissue. It often affects breastfeeding mothers wherein the bacteria would enter through tiny cracks in the nipple making its way to the milk duct. This in turn causes inflammation of the tissue in the breasts known as mastitis. This infection can occur 1-3 months after childbirth for breastfeeding mothers. In rare cases it may also affect women in their later ages on or after menopause.
Women who have weakened immunity and those with chronic problems like diabetes, cancer, or AIDS are highly vulnerable to such infection.
If the mother failed to breastfeed completely leading to incomplete emptying of the breast milk it can cause mastitis. The ducts below the nipple can get swollen not allowing free flow of milk supply causing blockage where debris and dead skin cells can build up casing inflammation. Symptoms of mastitis include swelling of breast tissue with considerable pain. One can apply soft cloth dipped in warm water over the breast to get relief from pain and to relieve the clogged pores of the milk duct. To prevent this infection, make it a point to empty your breast fully by feeding your baby.
For women who are not breastfeeding mastitis can become chronic problem and infection may occur frequently. Antibiotics are the first line treatment for mastitis infection but breastfeeding mothers should always consult their doctor before taking any medication.
Allergic Response :
Skin infection can occur anywhere in the body due to allergies caused by substances like pollen, medications and insect stings. Even food allergy can cause itchy feeling under the breasts. Skin infection like hives can cause severe itchiness on the body and on your breasts. Antihistamines are given for treating hives.
Autoimmune Disorders :
Sometimes immune system of the body gets triggered by mistake attacking the body’s healthy cells. This can cause rash all over the body and under the breasts with itchy feeling.
Eczema and Other Skin Issues :
Skin problems like eczema can cause fluid filled bumps and patches of reddened skin. This can occur anywhere in the body but more particularly in the hands, feet, face and inner elbow and under breasts. Psoriasis is another infection caused by immune system forming red patches under the breasts and armpits. Based on the intensity of symptoms, your doctor may prescribe steroid gels and creams along with oral pills.
Excess Sweat :
Some people would sweat profusely when the body’s sweat glands discharge volumes of sweat in excess of requirements of the body. In such cases, excess of sweating can give room for infections and growth of bacteria/fungi under the breasts and in skin folds. This condition is known as hyperhidrosis which can be treated by using antiperspirants and oral pills or even injections.
Hailey Hailey Disease :
This is a rare autoimmune disorder causing rash and blister or fluid filled pus under the breasts, in the armpits, in the groin and on the neck. For some people it runs on families. This condition is treated with steroid cream and antibiotic pills.
Breast Cancer :
Some kinds of breast cancer can cause itchy breasts, pink colored patches and small spots like rash on the breasts and under the breasts. This can cause symptoms of inverted nipple and it spreads quickly progressing to final stage.
If you observe any changes or discoloration under the breasts you can check with your doctor promptly to prevent any complication.
The Following Symptoms Can Be Matter Of Concern :-
- Painful rash
- Chronic rash problem
- Open sores on the skin that does not heal
- Itchy rash under the breasts with pitted skin.
Treatment is based purely on diagnosis. For bacterial infection antibiotic pills are given and antifungal creams and oral pills are prescribed for fungal infection. Corticosteroid ointments are effective in controlling the symptoms of itching and antihistamines are given for reducing swelling.
Tips To Prevent Itchy Feeling :
- Allow the skin to dry on its own which may take few minutes
- Avoid wearing tight bra and ensure that there is a finger gap or enough space for breathing
- Avoid sharing personal things like soap or cosmetics with others
- Mini pads can be used with bras for absorbing moisture
- Warm or cool compress can be applied on the affected area to control itching
- Use drying powder like Lady Monkey regularly after taking bath.