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Request breast abscess treatment online from our trusted, board-certified online doctors and get relief today. Get a new prescription for a breast abscess or refill an existing prescription today.*

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Ease pain from breast abscess

Identifying potential causes of abscesses

Prescription-strength pain relievers may be recommended

*Prescriptions are provided at the doctor's discretion. Learn more about our controlled substances policy and how to save up to 80% with our prescription discount card. PlushCare doctors cannot treat all cases of breast abscesses. Our primary care physicians can conduct an initial evaluation of your symptoms but may need to refer you to a specialist or for in-person treatment. If you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms, seek emergency medical attention immediately.

Learn about breast abscesses

A breast abscess refers to a collection of pus in the breast tissue. Breasts are made up of mammary glands, fat tissue, milk-producing glands, nipples, and areolas. Breast infections usually occur in the fatty tissue of the breast and can cause swelling and pain.

Breast infections start out as a cut, break or crack in the skin (usually on the nipple). This opening allows bacteria to enter into the breast tissue, which then turns into an abscess. The type of bacteria, duration of infection, and other factors determine the disease process and which treatment option is best.



Breast abscess causes

Breast infections are caused by several factors. The most prevalent causes of breast abscesses are bacterial infections. After bacteria enters the skin, it can cause inflammation, pain, and redness. Most breast abscesses are caused by the bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus. People with recurrent breast abscess infections may have different types of bacteria other than Staphylococcus aureus.

  • Risk factors for primary breast abscesses include:

    • Breast pain

    • Lactating women who are breastfeeding (clogged milk ducts)

    • Maternal age greater than 30 with first child

    • Gestational age more than or equal to 41 weeks

    • Tobacco use

    • Diabetes

    • Nipple piercing

    • Obese patients

    • Rheumatoid arthritis

    • Steroid treatment

    • Physical trauma

    • Breast cancer

    • Poor immune system


    In lactating or breastfeeding women, plugged milk ducts can cause swelling of the mammary glands, which leads to mastitis. Mastitis is the inflammation of breast tissue that usually involves an infection. Mastitis results in pain, swelling, warmth, and redness of the affected breast. One or both breasts can be affected. Lactating women are more likely to develop breast abscesses due to damaged nipples and clogged milk ducts. Breast diseases, such as cancer, or cysts, are more rare causes of breast abscesses, although breast abscesses do develop with these types of diseases.



Breast abscess symptoms

  • Most breast abscess symptoms have similar clinical features. The main symptoms of breast abscesses are breast pain, breast engorgement, and pus drainage. A fluid abscess can be filled with pus or milk, depending on the cause. Mastitis will always cause breast tissue to be swollen. Breast abscess symptoms include:

    • Inflamed area on the breast

    • Fever

    • Tender breast mass or lump

    • Palpable mass on breast

    • Localized, painful inflammation of the breast

    • Fever and fatigue

    • Red area on the breast

    • Warm area on the breast



How to treat a breast abscess

The main goal of treatment is to reduce pain and cure infection. Medications are the first line of treatment, followed by an ultrasound-guided biopsy, then an ultrasound-guided drainage or needle aspiration, and lastly, surgical drainage.

A prescription-strength pain reliever may be prescribed to manage pain caused by the abscess. Antibiotic treatment is utilized early on to treat breast infections. Antibiotic therapy kills the bacteria that cause breast infections, reducing the abscess and relieving pain.

Your doctor can decide if you have a breast abscess based on your symptoms, but an ultrasound-guided biopsy can confirm the diagnosis. Fluid collection from the abscess can be done to remove extra fluid and ease pain. Your doctor will drain your breast abscess with a needle using the needle-aspiration technique. Most abscesses require 2 to 6 needle aspirations. Local anesthetic is used prior to the procedure and recovery time is minimal.

If needle aspiration is unsuccessful, surgical treatment may be performed. Surgical treatment is a last resort if medications and less invasive needle aspiration techniques are unsuccessful. A mini surgical incision is made through the skin. The pus is then drained via a small incision. Large incisions are not necessary to drain breast abscesses. The incision and drainage can be performed with local anesthesia.

In the case of lactational breast abscesses, milk drainage is performed to resolve the infection and relieve pain. Breast milk drainage is performed either by breastfeeding or using a breast pump. Women are encouraged to continue breastfeeding during the treatment of a breast infection and thereafter.



Medication for breast abscesses

How to prevent breast abscesses

Some breast abscesses are preventable. Recurrent abscesses are linked to smoking, obesity, and nipple piercings. Quit smoking if you smoke and maintain a healthy weight to reduce your risk of primary and recurring abscesses.

Breastfeeding women can prevent breast abscesses by frequent breastfeeding or pumping, keeping the nipple area clean, and making sure the baby's mouth is completely secured around the areola while breastfeeding. Ask a healthcare professional about other ways to prevent breast abscesses.



When to see a doctor for a breast abscess

Seek medical attention if you have pain, swelling, or pus in your breast. A physical exam can easily determine if you have a breast abscess and what the next steps to treatment will be. If you have been treated for a breast abscess, but it is not healing, notify your doctor.



Breast abscess treatment FAQs

  • What is the best treatment for breast abscesses?

    The best treatment for breast abscesses includes breast abscess drainage and antibiotic therapy.

  • What is the best medication for a breast abscess?

    The best medications for a breast abscess are antibiotics such as Augmentin or Clindamycin.

  • Is a breast abscess serious?

    Yes, a breast abscess can lead to severe infection such as sepsis, if left untreated.

  • Can a breast abscess heal on its own?

    Most likely you will need to take antibiotics prescribed by a doctor to heal a breast abscess.

  • How do you know if you have a breast abscess?

    Pain, redness, swelling, and warmth on the breast are indicators of a breast abscess.

  • What does a breast abscess feel like?

    A breast abscess feels like a lump in your breast accompanied by a stabbing, shooting, or dull pain in and around one or both breasts.

3 simple steps to request treatment for a breast abscess today

Step 1

Book a breast abscess treatment appointment.

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Step 2

Talk to your medical provider regarding your breast abscess symptoms.

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Step 3

Pick up prescription for breast abscess treatment.

We can send prescriptions to any local pharmacy.



Related conditions to breast abscesses

  • Acne

Breast abscess treatment pricing details

How pricing works

To request breast abscess treatment and get a new or refill on your prescription, join our monthly membership and get discounted visits

Paying with insurance

Membership

$16.99/month

First month free

Visits

Copay

30 days of free membership

  • Same-day appointments 7 days a week

  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price with insurance

Often the same as an office visit. Most patients with in-network insurance pay $30 or less!

  • We accept these insurance plans and many more:

    • Humana
    • Aetna
    • Cigna

Paying without insurance

Membership

$16.99/month

First month free

Visits

$129

30 days of free membership

  • Same-day appointments 7 days a week

  • Unlimited messages with your Care Team

  • Prescription discount card to save up to 80%

  • Exclusive discounts on lab tests

  • Free memberships for your family

  • Cancel anytime

Visit price without insurance

Initial visits are $129.

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If we're unable to treat you, we'll provide a full refund.

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PlushCare content is reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, nutritionists, and other healthcare professionals. Learn more about our editorial standards and meet the medical team. The PlushCare site or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.