How to

How to Treat Itchy Breasts

Recognize a fungal infection. The most common places for fungal infections to occur on the body are in warm, moist places where there is little light. Armpits, the groin area, and under the breasts are common areas for fungal growth.

The inframammary fold is the area under the breast. This area is well-suited for fungus to grow. The most common type of fungus that causes an infection under the breast is a yeast called candida.

This is the same yeast, or candida, that causes vaginal infections and yeast infections in the mouth called thrush.

There are no serious long-term consequences of a candida infection under the breast, other than a darkening of the skin which can be permanent, and the possibility that the condition will spread.

Look for a rash. The rash associated with a fungal infection under the breast can vary in appearance. The rash occurs in areas where the breast tissue folds against the skin of the upper stomach or chest area.

Most often the rash will be pink to red in color, itchy, have areas that are growing outward, and contain small bumps, especially along areas where there are hair follicles, such as under the arm.

The rash is sometimes referred to as an intertrigo rash.

Intertrigo is an area of the skin that is inflamed, and occurs in places that are warm, moist, and where two skin areas press against each other. The rash associated with intertrigo can be caused by a fungus, bacteria, or prolonged exposure to moisture.

There is usually an odor present. The odor is caused by persistent moisture and the breakdown of healthy skin tissue.

Treat the condition. Treating a fungal infection with associated intertrigo under the breasts can be accomplished by altering the environment that is promoting the growth of the fungus, and by using an antifungal medication prescribed by your doctor.

To alter the environment, take steps to avoid the skin folds pressing against one another and prevent the accumulation of moisture.

Be sure you have a bra that fits well and prevents your breast tissue from resting against the skin of your upper stomach or chest area.

If needed, use a dry and clean cloth, or sterile dressing pad, placed at the base of your bra to absorb any excess moisture and prevent the skin layers from touching.

Wear a clean bra each day. Also wear loose fitting tops that are made of breathable fabric, like cotton.

Remove your bra whenever possible. Place a clean, dry, towel or dressing pad between the skin folds.

For men, avoid wearing tight shirts and shirts made of fabric that causes you to sweat more. Consider wearing cotton undershirts to help absorb moisture.

Take steps to dry the area. Be sure you thoroughly dry the area under your breasts after bathing.

It may be helpful to avoid dressing immediately after bathing. Take time to allow fresh air to access the affected areas of skin.

Lie back on the bed or stand in front of a fan to allow the skin folds to be thoroughly dried before dressing.

Apply aluminum acetate topically. 5% aluminum acetate is available over-the-counter as either packets or tablets that are dissolved in water to make a solution commonly known as Burow’s solution.

This is a solution commonly used to treat skin irritations, and acts as a drying agent to help prevent the rash from spreading. As with all products, check with your doctor if you have any concerns about treating the area at home. Seeking medical advice is always an appropriate step.

Mix the packets or dissolve the tablets according to the package directions, and apply the soak topically to the rash area.

Soak a clean cloth in the solution and apply to the rash area for 15 to 30 minutes. Once you have soaked a cloth in the solution and applied it to the affected skin, do not re-use it.

Repeat the procedure three times a day. Once you have removed the cloth from the area, allow the area to thoroughly air dry before getting dressed.

Discontinue use if the area becomes more irritated, or if there is any sign of an allergic reaction to the use of the topical soak. Signs of an allergic reaction include a rash beyond the area being treated, hives, blistering, or excessive itching.

Continued use of the product beyond what is recommended in the product literature may result in excessive drying of the skin.

Use topical antifungal products. Using antifungal agents that are available over-the-counter can help to treat the area. Common topical products available without a prescription include clotrimazole and miconazole cream.

Stronger products used to treat fungal infections of the skin, including nystatin topical powder, require a prescription.

Seek medical attention. If the topical approaches do not work within a few weeks, the condition gets worse, or the itching interferes with your daily routine, see your doctor.

You may need a prescription strength product, or possibly an oral medication in combination with the use of topical products.

Treat both mom and baby if breastfeeding. In some cases, either the mom or the infant may develop a candida yeast or fungal infection, and pass the infection back and forth until both parties are effectively treated.

If breastfeeding, the rash from the candida will be along the area of the nipple on mom, and will be in the infant’s mouth, commonly known as thrush.

Treat the thrush in the infant, and the subsequent candida infection on the breasts, by seeking medical attention. See your doctor or your pediatrician to obtain a prescription strength medication to resolve the condition in both mom and infant.

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