Have a symptom?
See what questions
a doctor would ask.

Breast abscess

Breast abscess: Introduction

A breast abscess is a hollow space in the breast that is filled with pus and surrounded by inflamed tissue. A breast abscess is often a complication of mastitis, an inflammation and infection of breast tissue. Mastitis and breast abscess are due to an invasion of bacteria that enter the breast tissue through the nipple and cause a bacterial infection of the milk ducts and milk glands.

The body tries to attack the bacterial infection by sending a surge of white blood cells (infection fighting cells) to the infected area. During this process living and dead white blood cells, fluid, bacteria, and dead tissue collect within the infected tissue and form pus. The surrounding tissue also becomes inflamed and painful.

Breast abscesses are uncommon. When breast abscesses do occur they are most common in breastfeeding women because breastfeeding can cause cracked nipples, which allow bacteria to more easily enter the breast. Breast abscesses can also occur in women who are over overweight, have large breasts, or have poor personal hygiene. Smoking may also increase the risk of developing a breast abscess. In rare cases mastitis and a breast abscess may be a sign of breast cancer. However, breast abscesses are most commonly due to an infection of the bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus.

Symptoms of a breast abscess include breast swelling or breast lump, and pain in the area around the nipple. A breast abscess can also lead to complications. For more information on complications and symptoms, refer to symptoms of breast abscess.

Making a diagnosis of a breast abscess begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination that focuses on the breasts. A breast abscess can generally be diagnosed based on symptoms and a physical exam.

Tests that might be performed include a complete blood count (CBC). A CBC is a blood test that measures the numbers of different types of blood cells, including white blood cells (WBCs). Different types of WBCs increase in number in characteristic ways during an infectious or inflammatory process, such as a breast abscess. A culture and sensitivity test (C and S) may also be performed. This involves growing a sample of breast milk from the affected breast in the laboratory. This test determines the type of organism causing the breast abscess, as well as which antibiotic would be most effective in treating it.

It is possible that a diagnosis of a breast abscess can be missed or delayed because some symptoms, such as breast lump and inflammation, are similar to symptoms of other diseases of conditions. For more information about misdiagnosis and diseases and conditions that can mimic a breast abscess, refer to misdiagnosis of breast abscess.

Treatment of a breast abscess includes medications and possibly an incision and drainage procedure. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of breast abscess....more »

Breast abscess: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of a breast abscess may be delayed or missed because some symptoms, such as a breast lump, mimic symptoms of other diseases and conditions. These include fibrocystic breasts, breast cyst, breast cancer, and mastitis. Early symptoms of a breast abscess may also be masked or hidden by engorged breasts. ...more misdiagnosis »

Home Diagnostic Testing and Breast abscess

Home medical tests possibly related to Breast abscess:

Breast abscess: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Breast abscess, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

Symptom Checker

Symptom Checker

Breast abscess Treatments

The first step in treating breast abscesses is preventing their occurrence. Prevention includes maintaining good personal hygiene with frequent hand washing and washing the body with soap and water. It is important that women who are breastfeeding clean their nipples before and after each breastfeeding session and to promptly report any symptoms of ...Breast abscess Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Breast abscess may include:

Review further information on Breast abscess Treatments.

Stories from Users for Breast abscess

Real-life user stories relating to Breast abscess:

Breast abscess: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Breast abscess may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Research the causes of related medical symptoms such as:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Breast abscess

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom Breast abscess:

Misdiagnosis and Breast abscess

Rare type of breast cancer without a lump: There is a less common form of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer. Its symptoms can be an inflammation of the breast tissue, such as with a breast rash with redness and warmth, but more »

Breast abscess: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Breast abscess

Research extensive quality ratings and patient safety measures for hospitals, clinics and medical facilities in health specialties related to Breast abscess:

Breast abscess: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

Breast abscess: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Detailed list of causes of Breast abscess

The list below shows some of the causes of Breast abscess mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Breast abscess?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Breast abscess. Of the 5 causes of Breast abscess that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 0 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 0 causes are "common" diseases
  • 0 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 0 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 0 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 5 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Breast abscess:

The following list of conditions have 'Breast abscess' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Breast abscess or choose View All.

Conditions listing medical complications: Breast abscess:

The following list of medical conditions have Breast abscess or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.


Join in at the forums

Ask or answer a question about symptoms or diseases at one of our free interactive user forums.

Medical story forums: If you have a medical story then we want to hear it.

See a list of all the medical forums

Causes of Breast abscess Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Breast abscess based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    Classifications of Breast abscess:

    Medical Conditions associated with Breast abscess:

    Breast symptoms (240 causes), Infection-related symptoms (1293 causes)

    Symptoms related to Breast abscess:

    Breast lump (64 causes), Breast infection (5 causes), Mastitis, Breast symptoms (240 causes), Breast pain (77 causes), Nipple symptoms (123 causes), Nipple pain (11 causes), Enlargement of lymph glands, Bacterial infection, Enteric fever, Fibrocystic disease, Plugged duct, Breast inflammation, Painful breasts (77 causes)

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Evidence Based Medicine Research for Breast abscess

    Medical research papers related to Breast abscess include:

    Research More Evidence-Based Medicine at

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Breast abscess:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


    By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use. Information provided on this site is for informational purposes only; it is not intended as a substitute for advice from your own medical team. The information on this site is not to be used for diagnosing or treating any health concerns you may have - please contact your physician or health care professional for all your medical needs. Please see our Terms of Use.

    Home | Symptoms | Diseases | Diagnosis | Videos | Tools | Forum | About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Site Map | Advertise