Itchy Breast Causes: Pregnancy, Yeast Infection, Treatment

What causes itchy breasts? Get insights on the reasons for breast itching such as pregnancy, yeast infection, breastfeeding, skin conditions, how to get rid and treatment.

It is a common in women to have discomfort with your breasts. The case may tend to persist, and it can prove to be both an embarrassing and uncomfortable problem.
A problem with your burst as said earlier should not cause you concern unless otherwise. Maybe it was that new dress or cloth that has irritated them or the perfume you sprayed on your chest. If the condition persists with other signs present, then there is need for further investigation.

What Causes Itchy breasts

A nipple itch can sometimes drive crazy. It can start any time anywhere without prior symptoms. In some cases it may persist causing you uneasiness. Men are not left behind as this can affect you as well. Some people go through this even for some weeks without a documented diagnosis or treatment.
Here are the main causes:

  • The common one may be due to allergic reactions from clothing and underwear, or they may be too tight or not allowing ventilation, especially if you are in a hot and humid environment. Skin irritation can also be caused by sprays on the chest, which can penetrate to the breast skin causing reactions.
  • Itching of the breast can also be associated with hormonal changes like prior to menstrual period. This appear with breast swelling or tenderness, but in other cases your breasts may be itchy especially in some young women. These two cases are not much serious but they are very common.
  • You may be affected by a breast fungus which tends to occur under the breast or on the sides of the breast.
  • When faced with skin disorders like atopic dermatitis, seborrhea dermatitis, urticarial [hives] and chest acne, they can contribute to itchy breasts. This is commonly evident with appearance of a rash.
  • Sunburn can as well result to itching of the breasts in company of reddening of the skin around the breast. Tenderness may not be present. When you develop any mole or a skin bump that is associated with itchiness in sunlight may require a rapid investigation as it may be carrying other symptoms.
  • When a mother is breastfeeding she is more prone to breast infections like mastitis which may at the beginning occur as an itchy breasts with mild pain and cracking of the nipple.
  • When you have an itchy burst in company of nipple discharge and any fixed or growing lump in the breast is a sign of a serious infection. Breast cancer in many cases may occur with such symptoms.
  • Injury to the breast skin may also result in itching. If the injury is not much serious, for example scratching your skin with your finger nails, an itch may develop there after which is not much serious.
  • Post-operative itching, after a mastectomy or breast augmentation is also a cause of itch and usually fade away with time. Large breasts due to augmentation may also result to a bit of itching as the skin may be stretched excessively.
  • There are certain drugs that may result to itchiness of the skin which may not be isolated to the breast. You can talk to your doctor when you realize itchiness after taking a new medicine.

Treatment and prevention

Treatment of the itching breast should be directed at the cause. You can assume that the cause of the itching is on the skin surface, while other conditions have taken root of the problem which is not related to any skin disorder.
When there is presence of skin rash, this may be a dermatological cause but it is not always the case. When you have a case that is accompanied with symptoms in the deeper breast tissues, don’t hesitate to go and see a gynaecologist.
When the itchy breasts has no serious conditions whereby it is intermittent and infrequent, you can find out the factors that cause the itching. Maybe it is the fabric of the bra or the spray you wore in the morning that caused you this. Wear bras made of light fabrics with good ventilation.
Always practise good hygiene with regular bathing, thorough washing around and under the breast as well.
Dry your breasts thoroughly after shower and avoid strongly scented creams and perfumes. They can cause you allergic reactions on the breasts resulting to rashes.
Keep away from breast traumas as they can as well lead to serious illness.
Beware of breast enlarging creams as they rarely work and can result to dermatitis.

Is Itchy breasts a Pregnancy Symptom

Itchy breasts causes
heat rash under breast

Breasts are not used to causing much trouble. But if they feel different than they usually do for a prolonged period of time, it is a good idea to see a doctor. But if you are just experiencing one of the common breasts phenomena listed below, know that you are not malfunctioning or in danger.

Why you have itchy breasts

  • The itching may be created by a skin condition, like eczema, or they may have become irritated.
  • When one is pregnant, there are numerous hormonal reactions in the body and this may result to swelling of breasts which occur with itchiness. As pregnant woman’s breasts expand, the stretching of the skin can irritate the breasts, leading to drying and cracking of the nipples with itch.

Does Yeast Infection Cause Breasts to Itch

Candidiasis is a yeast infection caused by fungus that occurs naturally in the mucous membrane and on the skin. Use of antibiotics promotes the overgrowth of yeast by killing off the important bacteria that keeps the yeast from multiplying too quickly. During pregnancy, yeast infections are common due to high level of estrogen lead to elevated level of sugar and yeast feeds on sugar.
If you and your baby have recently been on antibiotics, if you have had a vaginal yeast infection in the last few months, or if your nipples are cracked, then you and your baby are at risk of getting a yeast infection. Other factors that expose you to yeast include use of steroids or hormonal drugs, or chronic illness like diabetes or anemia.

Symptoms of breasts yeast infection

  • Severe stinging, burning pain – this occur on the surface of the nipple, or may be felt deep inside the breast. A mother usually feel pain throughout the feeding and time in between the feedings especially immediately after. In other cases, sharp pain comes from the nipple into the itchy breasts, or into the back or arm. Nipples are usually sensitive to light touch, hence causing more problems when touched.
  • The nipples look puffy, scaly, flaky, weepy, or have tiny blisters – the nipples itch with a deep pink color. The nipples can look normal as well but with sharp pains when the baby is feeding. When you have yeast infection on your nipples your milk supply will often decrease. This is because pain inhibits the letdown reflex. It may also lead to plugged ducts and mastitis.

What to do when you have yeast infection on your nipples:

  • Wash your hands always with hot, soapy water and paper towels.
  • Nurse frequently for shorter amount of time. Numb the nipple indirectly with ice before beginning to nurse. If it is painful when you nurse, pump the milk in a cup or bottle for the baby until the pain lessens.
  • You can drink green tea at least 3 cups a day to cleanse your system of excess yeast.
  • Not only yogurt may help treat the yeast on itchy breasts, you can as well use caprylic acid 1-2 capsules with each meal.
  • After nursing, rinse the nipple with a solution of a cup of water with a tablespoonful of vinegar. Air dry well and apply anti- fungal creams prescribed by a gynecologist.
  • If the pain is severe apply the cream after each feeding at least 6 times for 24 hours. The cream is absorbed quickly and do not need to be removed before baby nurses. Avoid wearing nursing pads, but if you have to, change them after every feeding and keep the nipples as dry as possible.
  • Reduce sugar intake and yeast.
  • You can use dietary supplements as they can help.

Can Breastfeeding cause itchy breasts

When you are breast feeding and you breast itch, it is a common problem that many mother go through. During this time the breasts enlarge stretching out the tender breast’s skin resulting to an itchy sensation.
This kind of discomfort can be handled by use of moisturizing lotions to the skin and away the dryness. Due to the stretching of the skin, you may develop stretch marks. The amount of itchiness  experienced during this stage depends on the growth of the breast in readiness to breastfeeding.

What causes itchiness on breasts during breastfeeding?

  • The itchiness during breastfeeding can result from thrush which could have infected your baby. Examine your baby to see if there are white patches and velvety lesions inside the mouth. If they appear then, it is the cause your breasts itching.
  • When itching, your breasts redden and crack nipples and develop a deep shooting pain which is accompanied by itching in the vaginal area with a thick discharge. This also is a sign of yeast infection or candidiasis. See your doctor who can prescribe the best medication for you.
  • A very itchy breasts during nursing could be as well because of mastitis infection which is common in breastfeeding mothers. Nipples sometimes cracks while nursing the baby and allows the virus and bacteria to enter and cause infection. Along with swelling around the breast, women who have itchy breasts could also have fever and feel extremely tired. When your doctor has this information, he / she can prescribe antibiotics to get rid of the infection.
  • Are you having a baby for the first time? That case makes you prone to the problem of itchiness of breasts while breastfeeding as compared to those who have already nursed children before.
  • Pregnancy brings about certain hormonal changes to the breasts developing milk cell and milk ducts. You have to buy new bras due to increase in burst size to prevent tightening the breast as also can cause itchiness. Use breast pads to wipe away droplets of milk around the breast area.

Reasons for Itchy Rash on Breasts

If you develop rash on breasts blame it to bacteria and fungi which sometimes they get attached to the skin and cause a rash. Warm, moist areas like under the breast are more exposed to this kind of skin rashes than other areas of the body.
The rash may result from bacterial and fungal infections, though even skin allergies and chronic skin disorders like psoriasis can as well result to itchy breasts skin rash. If the rash is persistent under the breast, visit your doctor, keep your skin clean and dry, and look out for possible allergens. This can help you keep off this discomfort at all times.

Causes of breast rash

Fungal infection
They are common causes of an itchy rash under the breast. A type of yeast called candida is the most frequent culprit. The skin rashes related to candida are usually red, but white, with scaly areas. Chronic diseases like diabetes, anaemia, antibiotic use, much of steroids, obesity and HIV are the risk factors for candida skin infections.
Treatment and prevention;

  • The fungal skin attacks usually clear up fast by use of topical anti- fungal creams.
  • Keep the area dry by sprinkling anti-fungal powder under the breast.
  • Remove damp clothing like bras as soon as possible.
  • Dry the skin thoroughly after shower.

Bacterial infection
Itchy breasts rashes can be caused by bacteria as well like staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria. As with candida infections, diabetes and immune system disorders are risk factors.  Minor skin trauma can allow entrance of bacteria to the skin without risk factors.
Bacterial skin rash appear as bright red, slightly raised and are often warm when felt with a touch.
Treatment and prevention;

  • Oral anti- biotics can help in the treatment of the rashes caused by bacterial infection.
  • Maintain hygiene.
  • Keep off sharp objects from your body to avoid trauma.

Allergic dermatitis
Skin allergies can also in many cases result to itchy breasts rashes under the breast skin. Allergic dermatitis is commonly red and very painful. People who have a history of asthma, seasonal allergies or eczema- a dry flaky inflamed skin on other parts of the body are at great exposure to allergic dermatitis. Allergens vary from each person, but laundry detergents, perfumes and lotions are common culprits.
Treatment and prevention;

  • Topical steroids can be used to treat allergies. Long term use of them should be avoided as they can result to skin changes and promote the over growth of candida and other fungi
  • Observe your laundry detergents and lotions; if they cause you allergy, stop using them.

This is a chronic skin disorder that causes patches of itchy red, scaly skin. It commonly affect the elbow and knees. Another type of psoriasis called inverse psoriasis develops in skin folds under the arm, in the groin and under the breast. Inverse psoriasis some time is mistaken for a candida infection.
Treatment and prevention:

  • Itchy breasts caused by psoriasis does not get better with antifungal creams.
  • Topical steroids can help but other psoriasis medications may be needed to prevent flare-ups.

Why you have Itchy breasts but no Rash

An itch on the breast is often caused by a condition affecting the skin, but it can be a sign of a more serious underlying problem. There are cases where identifying the real cause of the problem is not easy. A breast can itch even without a rash or any pimple being associated with the pain.

Skin conditions

  • Dry skin
  • Eczema – the skin may be dry, red, flaky and itchy
  • Contact dermatitis – this occurs when your skin come in contact with allergens resulting to irritation

Allergies and skin reactions
Itching may be sometime caused by an allergen, irritant or other environmental factors like cosmetics, certain metals, rubber, textiles, some plants, foods, prickly heat and sunburn.

How to Get Rid of Itchy breasts

A rush that may appear on your breast is very common to other women. It is in most cases caused by irritant dermatitis which occur with inflammation of the skin folds and itchiness.
The most common causes of itchy breasts rashes are excessive sweating, heat, lack of air circulation, and wearing fitting bras, and even allergic reactions from fabrics and body products. You may also be suffering from fungal infections like yeast as it is caused by warm, moist condition under the breast during breastfeeding.
Here are some simple natural ways you can use to get relief from this problem. It is also important to consult your doctor if you realize an infection and the home remedies are not helping you.

Home Remedies

Use of cold compress

By use of a cold compress, you may relieve many symptoms. Using a thin cotton towel, wrap some ice and put it over the affected area for at least 5 minutes. Take a break and then repeat the process. You can as well take bath with cold water. It helps to close the skin pores, thus reducing sweating and appearance of the rash.
You can reduce the accumulation of sweat around the area of the rash by placing a piece of cotton between the lower part of the breast and the skin underneath to absorb moisture and create a barrier. Also wear lightweight clothing made of cotton or natural fibres that help absorb moisture and keep your body dry.
Chemical residue on your cloths can cause itchy breasts rashes. Mix a half cup of vinegar in the bucket of hot water and use it to wash your bras and dry them with direct sunlight. Also apply vinegar on the irritated skin
Corn starch
It is highly effective for alleviating the itching and burning sensations of breast rash. It helps in keeping the skin dry in case of a fungal rash though, simply use talc as fungi feed on corn starch. Clean the affected area with a soap, and pat dry with a towel. Dust lightly corn starch over it atleast twice a day until the problem goes.
Coconut oil
Has a soothing and healing effect on skin that provide relief from rashes. Also due to its greasy nature, it help reduce friction that cause rashes under breasts and also avoid infections, as it have antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Calamine lotion
Can be used on itchy breasts rash to provide a soothing relief from itching and speed up healing process. It also keep the area dry thus reducing infection chances. Clean the affected skin and use cotton to apply the lotion. Repeat this for several times.
Tea tree oil
Has antifungal properties and can be used topically to treat a breast rash. It also prevent the the growth of fungus and infection. Mix it with olive oil and apply to the itchy breasts rash. Make sure you dilute tea tree oil as it may cause irritation when conk.
Aloe Vera
Helps to soothe the itching and burning sensation caused by the rash. It also heal the skin and has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Combine it with turmeric as it has antiseptic properties.
It has antiseptic and antifungal properties that help in the treating of the rash. Soak some gloves of garlic in olive oil overnight and apply the oil on the affected area.
Contain vitamin c which is powerful antioxidant and prevent the growth of fungal infection and speeds up the healing process.
Further references

  1. What makes nipple itch and how to treat them: