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Subareolar Breast Abscess: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Methods

Subareolar Breast abscess is a breast infection which results in lump formation. Know about symptoms, causes and treatment methods.

Puru Bansal
Written by: Puru BansalPublished at: Jul 21, 2021Updated at: Oct 19, 2021
Subareolar Breast Abscess: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Methods

Infections and diseases have become like a continuous process that keeping on happening at different time intervals. Diseases are caused by different conditions which determine the types and cause of the disease. However there are some diseases that are women centric and occur to women of a particular age group or category. This involves breast infections and swelling that occur in the breasts at time of breastfeeding. Breast abscess is also a type of rare breast infection which happens to non-lactating women. This infection can cause discomfort and irritation that is infected with this and it is better to get it treated as early as possible. Today, with help of gynaecologist, we will know more about this disease, its causes, symptoms and treatment methods. 

What is Subareolar Breast Abscess?

Subareolar breast abscess is a type of breast infection that occurs to women at non-breastfeeding period. Dr. Ranjana Shrivastava, Clinical Gynaecologist from Sahara Hospital, Lucknow exclaims that this infection is quite rare and occurs only to minority section of women that are non-lactating. Abscess form in breasts is a swollen, pus-pilled area that is visible in lumps. The area that is most affected by Subareolar breast abscess is the areola, that is the skin around the nipple. '


In most cases where women complain of breast abscess, they are formed due to some local infection. This condition happens due to unhygienic environment when the bacteria invade the body at a point which results in infection. However the bacterial infection does not spread to any other part of the body, making it easier to treat. 

Symptoms of Subareolar Breast Abscess

This disease may cause pain initially when it develops that may result to discomfort during sleeping or changing position while lying upside down. Here are some symptoms which you must be aware off-

  • A lump may occur under the skin near the nipples of the breast
  • Pus may drain out of lump if squeezed or is cut open
  • Formation of fistula in absence of proper treatment
  • Nipple inversion
  • Fever
  • Dizziness

Symptoms may differ according to the stage of breast abscess. In most cases the lump formation and pus-getting out are the major symptoms of this disease. A fistula is formed when the treatment is not provided and the body parts get connected in some way. If the infection becomes severe then the breast tissue is drown inside rather than normal. This stage is called nipple inversion.

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What Causes Subareolar Breast Abscess?

Dr. Ranjana says that in majority of cases the reason behind breast abscess is blockage in the glands inside the breasts. This blockage can be reason for the infection to grow inside the skin. Women that are affected by these diseases are from age group 19-47 years. Subareolar breast abscess can also cause certain complication due to the following reasons

  • Smoking
  • Having nipple piercing 
  • Having obesity
  • Having diabetes


This is most occurring cause of Subareolar breast abscess which is common in non-breastfeeding women. Those who are breastfeeding do not have this health condition because their glands and milk ducks are open. Mastitis is breast inflammation that causes swelling to arise and develop redness around the breast area. This happen during lactation process, the difference between mastitis and Subareolar breast abscess is that of lactation process. 


Mastitis can be non-infectious sometimes in case when the milk ducks become plugged. However if this condition is left untreated then is results to breast abscess. Mastitis can be mistaken for breast abscess most of the time, hence it is important to get yourself diagnosed well for correct treatment.

Treatment for a Subareolar breast abscess

1. Medication

This breast infection can be treated through medications and antibiotics in most cases if infection is not severe. Antibiotics need to be taken for around 10-14 days and results can be visible after a week of regular process. Medications that are used in Subareolar breast abscess are-

  • Drug combination known as co-amoxiclav
  • Combination of clarithromycin and metronidazole antibiotics
  • Erythromycin and metronidazole

2. Pus-drainage

Depending on the size of the pus, your doctor might suggest to cut the lump open and drain the puss so that medication becomes more effective and it gets treated faster. If the size of lump or abscess increases, it also increases the pain and discomfort, hence this treatment becomes necessary. Local anaesthesia is also given if the patient does not want to bear pain.


3. Surgery

Surgery is always the last option for any disease. In this case, surgery is done when medication is not effective and the infection remains for too long. During the surgery, the chronic abscess is cleaned and removed from the body but if the glands are also affected severely, then they also need to be removed in this process. Surgery is also performed in case then the nipple inversion has occurred because of severity. Surgery may be performed in operation theatre or in case of clinic; it is performed in the given ward. 

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Subareolar breast abscess is rarely occurring breast infection that occurs to women during non-lactating period. Breastfeeding women are mostly affected by this disease. The infection creates lump besides the nipples on the breast which gives a soft and rubbery sensation when you touch it. Breast abscess is majorly caused when the ducks or glands are blocked because of some reason which allows the bacterial infection to spread in that area. This causes pain, discomfort and pus if you push or pinch it. Get yourself diagnosed thoroughly if you have any tendency of lump formation on your breast. It could also be mastitis which occurs to be similar in formation of breast abscess and also a cause of it. There are three treatment methods available for this disease, consult your doctor for getting the right treatment as early as possible.

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