Itchy Breasts

Itchy Breasts

Itchy breasts are in fact quite common amongst women. There are various reasons that can be sought regarding this symptom, the most of them being harmless in nature. However, there are some noted cases when an itchy breast symptom may reflect some grave underlying conditions.

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Itchy Breasts- causes and cures

  1. Dry Skin
  • Symptoms:

Apart from flaking, crusting or peeling skin conditions there may persist drying skin patches that are much darker or dull in color as compared to the rest of the skin tone.

  • Cure:

While showering use a bath sponge or a loofah to scrub off the dry flaking or peeling skin. Once the bath is over, pat your skin dry and apply a milk moisturizing cream. Moisturizers with anti-itching properties along with 1% menthol and camphor may be the best.

  1. Environmental or allergy based skin irritation

Agents such as laundry detergents or any other such harsh chemicals may fuel up an allergic reaction. This puts the immune system to a rigorous work which in turn influences the irritation to persist. The causes of unexplained rashes can be blamed on these detergents, soaps and cosmetic skin care items.

  • Symptoms:

The symptoms usually are redness accompanied by rashes and itching.

  • Cure:

Soak yourself into a good bath and then moisturize the skin properly. You may also use hydrocortisone topical creams to relieve or tone down any sort of inflammation. If the itch is not caused as a side effect to the allergic reaction, the itching or irritation will still be persistent in nature. In this case, immediately consult a skin care specialist.

  1. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is rather a skin condition that targets the entirety of the body. In fact, this is not specifically limited to the breast region.

  • Symptoms:

Dry scaling patches will appear.

  • Cure:

A proper cure for psoriasis is not yet diagnosed but with proper treatment you can tone down or soothe the outbreaks. Never scratch the outbreaks. Run yourself a warm bath and soak yourself in some oatmeal, Epsom salt or any other moisturizing bath oil. After bath, moisturize your body and cover it to keep the moisture locked in. you can even opt for anti inflammatory lotions or creams which contain salicylic acid and hydrocortisone. Oral medications may help too.

  1. Breast Eczema

The residue from storage of breast milk usually may result in fungal infection which makes breast feeding women more likely to contract conditions like breast eczema. Also, if you wear too much tight body fit clothing or bra made from synthetic materials, you are more likely exposing yourself to the symptoms of eczema.

  • Symptoms:

This condition mainly occurs in the nipple region. The areola region too gets affected and the most common symptoms for these are itchy cracking nipples.

  • Cure:

Going without a bra at home is perfectly okay. You should get more in the habit of using cotton fabric undergarments. Always avoid scratching or itching and apply a topical steroid or a moisturizer to the affected area to keep it hydrated and moist. The leaves of a guava plant re usually anti inflammatory in nature with disinfectant properties in it. Ground fresh guava leaves and make a paste of it which is a good home remedy for this condition.

  1. Yeast Infection:

The fungal agent present behind the causing of a yeast infection is called Candida albicans. This yeast infection mainly occurs in the breast or nipple region of your chest.

  • Symptoms:

The usual symptoms for this are somewhere in the line of – dwindling supply of milk, itching and rash formation, extreme tenderness in and around the affected areas and burning pain sensations.

  • Cure:

If this condition occurs during a breast feeding period, both the mother and her baby needs to be subjected to treatment. The chances of the baby contracting the same from the mother through mouth contact are always a risk that needs to be cleared out. For the adult, i.e. the mother oral anti fungal, topical creams and pain killers keep the area dry and clean. For the baby, a topical or a probiotic treatment would do well.

  1. Mastitis

This is mainly an infection that often occurs during the breast feeding time period. This condition affects the breast tissues where the bacteria, the agent for the infection finds a break or a crack in the tissue through which the infection is caused.

  • Symptoms:

The usual symptoms for this condition can be recognized as- small cut formations in the nipples, inflammation and reddening of the area, itching and fever accompanied by chills, tenderness both in the breast region and the underarms. It also brings along itchy breasts.

  • Cure:

Ibuprofen, antibiotics or acetaminophen can be used to treat this. Incision and drainage in case of abscess formation may also be a required procedure. Continue breastfeeding by placing the baby in various comfortable nursing postures. Also alternate cold and warm compressions may be of help, gentle massage of the area accompanied by ample amounts of rest does the trick too.

  1. Inflammatory breast cancer

Even though one of the common symptoms of breast cancer is lump formation, in case of inflammatory breast cancer, there would be no lump formation.

  • Symptoms:

The usual symptoms for these are inflammation of the lymph nodes especially under the arms or underneath the neck, retraction of the nipples, redness, discharge and pain sensation, change in skin texture and of course itchy breasts.

  • Cure:

Even after a week’s worth of infection, if your conditions don’t show improvement, opt for a biopsy. This type of breast cancer is usually very progressive and strict in nature and expands quite fast. Treatment for this includes chemotherapy to lessen the tumor size followed by radiation and mastectomy.

  1. Paget’s disease of the breasts

Women reaching the 50 year age mark and above are more susceptible to this condition. This is a type of rare cancer that usually initiates the cancer cells at the nipple areas but then slowly progresses towards the areolas.

  • Symptoms:

The skin in and around the nipple area becomes hard and flaky with crust formation and periodical oozing. The other symptoms for this is-  discharge of blood color, tingling and burning sensation in the nipples along with excess itchiness and reddening of the area. A lump in the breast may even form along with an inverted nipple condition. This is a symptom of itchy breasts.

  • Cure:

The usual treatment for this condition is usually a mastectomy considering the full breast or a lumpectomy considering only a portion of the breast tissue. Post surgery the usual continuation treatment can be hormone therapy, chemo or radiation therapy.

  1. Similar other causes of itchy breasts- 
  • Lacy brassieres: Lace is made up of synthetic material which is why this is one of the main causes as to why itching in the breast may persist. Switch the material from synthetic to cotton and opt for less lacy soft cupped bras.
  • PMS: During PMS women may experience the itchy breast symptom which can be easily cured using an anti-itch lotion. The anti-itch formula of the topical solution may contain menthol which is pain relieving in nature and would cure irritation or itch of sorts. The lotion that you are using should contain a pH value of 1.0 or less.
  • Pregnancy: owing to the production of milk in the breasts, during the pregnancy period your breast size would go through an increase. This may cause irritation or itching along with tenderness. Body butters or non aromatic lotions would do just fine for cure.
  • Breast Growth: Puberty is when your breasts as a girl undergo transformation. Here, at this time itching or discomfort may be quite common for some girls. Use anti-itch topical creams and moisturizers while massaging the area to relieve the irritation or discomfort. 

When do Itchy breasts require a doctor visit:

  • If you are experiencing a sudden itch, doctor’s consultation is of paramount importance.
  • If the itching is caused by certain type of food allergy, the reaction to this may be strong with a sudden excess urge to scratch it. If you are experiencing a itch that is of the same manner, going with the flow may cause grave anaphylactic reactions. These are- Constriction in the throat, rapid inflammation, unconsciousness, vomiting and difficulty in breathing. Immediately consult a doctor in this case.