So what is an abscess?
It’s a painless or painful swollen lump that you can feel under the surface of the skin, on the breast, although it can be in other places as well.
It is an enclosed area of pus, although you are unable to treat it with regular antibiotics.
How do I know if I have a breast abscess?
When a subareolar breast abscess first develops, you may notice some pain in the area. There will likely be a lump under the skin and some swelling of nearby skin. Pus may drain out of the lump if you push on it or if it is cut open.
Can a breast abscess go away on its own?
A surgeon or family physician will usually drain a breast abscess, either by surgical incision (or ‘lancing’) for large, progressive abscesses or by needle aspiration. Not all abscesses are big enough to need draining with a needle poke. Small ones, your body will cure on it’s own.
What are the first signs of an abscess?
Signs of a skin abscess can include:
- a smooth swelling under your skin that can feel hard or firm.
- pain and tenderness in the affected area.
- warmth and redness in the affected area.
- a visible build-up of white or yellow pus under the skin in the affected area.
- a high temperature (fever)
Are breast abscesses painful?
A breast abscess is a painful collection of pus that forms in the breast. Most abscesses develop just under the skin and are caused by a bacterial infection. Breast abscesses are painful, swollen lumps that may also: be red.
What happens if a breast abscess is left untreated?
Symptoms of subareolar breast abscess
Pus may drain out of the lump if you push on it or if it is cut open. If left untreated, the infection can start to form a fistula. A fistula is an abnormal hole from the duct out to the skin. If the infection is severe enough, nipple inversion can occur.
How can I drain my breast abscess at home?
Put ice or a cold pack on your breast for 10 to 15 minutes at a time to reduce pain and swelling. If you are breastfeeding, do this between feedings. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin. If pus is draining from your infected breast, wash the nipple gently and let it air-dry before you put your bra back on.
Is a breast abscess an emergency?
Breast emergencies are uncommon but require prompt identification and management when they do occur. Patients with mastitis or a breast abscess may be seen for either diagnosis or treatment. Most complications are the result of interventional procedures. Fortunately, seat-belt injuries to the breast are rare.
What does an abscess look like?
Abscesses usually are red, swollen, and warm to the touch, and might leak fluid. They can develop on top of the skin, under the skin, in a tooth, or even deep inside the body. On top of the skin, an abscess might look like an unhealed wound or a pimple; underneath the skin, it may create a swollen bump.
How common is breast abscess?
Areolar breast abscesses most commonly affect women 18-50 years. They are seen more often in smokers, obese patients and in patients with nipple piercing. They are somewhat more common in African Americans.
How do you bring an abscess to a head?
Abscess Treatment: Self-Care at Home
- If the abscess is small (less than 1 cm or less than a half-inch across), applying warm compresses to the area for about 30 minutes 4 times daily may help.
- Do not attempt to drain the abscess by squeezing or pressing on it.
How long can an abscess go untreated?
Your skin abscess is on your face or spine. If left untreated, the abscess may spread to your brain or spinal cord. The abscess is large, hasn’t healed within two weeks, and you also have a fever. The abscess appears to be spreading to other parts of your body.
Are abscesses hard or soft?
A: While most abscesses are usually soft and warm to the touch, occasionally they can feel firm or even hard to the touch.
Can I lance an abscess myself?
Most abscesses can be managed at home. If you think you have a skin abscess, avoid touching, pushing, popping, or squeezing it. If the abscess opens on its own and drains, and the infection seems to clear up in a couple of days, your body should heal on its own. If it doesn’t, it’s time to call your doctor’s office.
How long does a breast abscess last?
With proper treatment, symptoms should begin to resolve within one to two days. A breast abscess may require surgical drainage, IV antibiotics, and a short hospital stay. A small incision is made and usually heals quite well.
What happens when an abscess pops?
When there is no way for pus to drain, it forms an abscess. Once the abscess ruptures, the pain often decreases significantly, but dental treatment is still necessary. If the abscess does not drain, the infection can spread to other areas of the head and neck and can become life threatening.