Itchy Breasts – Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Itchy breasts may occur infrequently for most women and seem quite unimportant at the time but if it persists, it can prove to be both an embarrassing and uncomfortable ailment. The odd case of itchiness of the breast is not a cause for concern – maybe it was that new dress that was a bit ‘itchy’ or the perfume you sprayed on your chest. But if it is ongoing and there are other symptoms present, then it requires further investigation.

Causes of Itchy Breasts

In most cases of itchy breasts, clothing and underwear are the problem. The fabric used may be causing an allergic reaction (contact dermatitis) or it may be too tight or not allowing adequate ventilation, especially if you live in a hot and humid environment. Women who tend to spray perfume directly on the skin of the chest or breast are likely to suffer with skin irritation as well.

At other times, itching of the breasts may be associated with hormonal changes like prior to your period (premenstrual). While breast swelling and/or tenderness is thought of as the main premenstrual breast symptom, itchy breasts are also a possibility in some young girls and women.

In both these instances, the breast itching is more likely to affect both breasts simultaneously.

The above causes are not serious and will pass with a change of clothing, after bathing or after the onset of menstruation.
Other causes of itchy breasts which needs more attention include :

  • A breast fungus tends to occur under the breast or on the sides of the breast
  • Skin disorders like atopic dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, urticaria (hives) and even chest acne can contribute to itching of the breasts. A rash is almost always evident.
  • Sunburn may also cause itchy breasts along with redness of the skin. Tenderness may not always be present. Any mole or skin ‘bump’ that tends to become more itchy in sunlight needs to be investigated immediately.
  • Breastfeeding mothers are more prone to breast infections (mastitis) which may initially appear as an itchy breast with mild pain and cracking of the nipple.
  • Itchy breasts that are accompanied by nipple discharge and/or any fixed and growing lump in the breast should be taken more seriously. This can at times be an indication of breast cancer.
  • Trauma to the skin of the breast may also cause itching. If it is a slight injury to the skin like in scratching the skin with long fingernails, an itch may develop. This is usually not serious.
  • Post operative itching, after a mastectomy or breast augmentation is also a possibility and will reduce with time. Larger breasts due to augmentation may also cause mild itching as the skin may be stretched excessively.
  • Certain drugs may also cause itchiness of the skin which may not be isolated to the breasts. Consult with you doctor if you noticed that the breast itching started after taking a new medicine.

If you have breast implants and are experiencing intense itching, pain, redness of the skin and/or fever, consult with your doctor immediately.

Treatment and Prevention

Treatment of the itchy breasts should be directed at the cause. While you may assume that the cause of your breast itching is superficial (on the skin), other conditions may cause the sensation of an itch although it is not related to any skin disorder. The presence of a skin rash usually alerts you to a dermatological cause although this is not always the case. Other causes with accompanying symptoms in the deeper breast tissue should warrant a visit to your gynecologist.

If your beast itching is not due to any serious cause and is intermittent and infrequent, then take note of factors that tend to trigger the itching. Try to wear bras made of light fabrics with good ventilation. Do not use tight fitting bras or lingerie. Always practice good hygiene – regular bathing with thorough washing around and under the breasts is important. Dry your breasts throughly after bathing and avoid strongly scented creams and perfumes. Beware of breast enlarging creams – they rarely work and can cause dermatitis.

More Related Topics

  • Anya

    My breasts were itchy on and off for a week now. I don’t have nipple discharge or any other symptom. But itchiness is so bothersome. My very recent mammogram results (2 weeks ago) are normal. Can’t help but worry about breast cancer. Could this be also caused by hormonal changes (because I could already be pre-menopausal)? I’m 44 yrs old.

    • Dr. Paul

      Hi Anya

      Yes, it could be related to hormonal changes. It could also just be changes in the skin in that area, sometimes due to a skin disease like a fungal infection, or related to irritation caused by clothing. Excessive perspiration may be another cause. If it is persisting, it would be a good idea to speak to your doctor about it. Sometimes its as simple as dry skin.

  • Zoya

    I am 27 years old and still single. I have a lump under my right arm-pit. It does pain at times but not constantly. I also have redness on my right nipple and liquid do come out on pressing which is yellow in color. I am also taking hypothyroidism medicines – 100ml, that is to be taken in early morning.
    So is this all because of hypothyroidism?

  • supriya

    Hi me supriya
    Me heaving severe breast itching n smetyms very mch it gets redish dere n evn marks n cnt bear d itching … Hv got a lump lyk evn n hvn itchn on nipples too… Wat shud i do fr dat plsss help me out

  • vino

    itching is in both side of the breast..i met the skin doctor she sais its type skin allergies but i doubt that whether it may lead to breast cancer ..can u provide me the suggestion??

  • Jen

    I am experiencing “itchy” nipple in only my right breast there is a bit of pain but I have been on medication… I also have implants.. I am 33 and breast cancer does not run in my family that I’m aware of. I don’t have health insurance and with 4 children I can’t afford to spend a ton on the doctor. Any advice I’m very concerned about this. I’m not experiencing discharge however my right breast appears to be slightly swollen on the outside by my arm pit but no redness… PLEASE HELP

  • my breast is so itchy.I cannot stop my hand to scratch it. But I dont have nipple discharge. I am so worried why. Actually i have a breast cyst. It was remove way back year 2006 and now it comes again. I can feel pain sometimes especially when my period comes.. My previous biopsy was benign fibroucystic condition.. Is it will possibly could it will be a sign of cancer?

  • Confused

    I have had itchy of both my nipples and on the skin directly around my nipples for about three weeks now. I did have a red rash that kinda cleared up with an anti-fungal creme however the itchy has not stopped. I do have implants (14 years now). No discharge, no tenderness. I have used the anti fungal creme for about 2 weeks, now I have notice both my nipples are dry and flaky???? Help

  • Rose

    Hi I just want to ask because my breast is very itchy it was on and off. I experience it for months now and I have skin allergy..

  • aaa

    Is this itching in breast related to intake of water?? , that If we take less water it will be more or like this. please give me answer

  • aaa

    My mom have this itching problem for 2months and it is irritating and after itching it will be harder please tell me how can I stop this tell me the food that will be the cure for it not the madicine

  • Cheryl

    I have my right breast that is extremely itchy and i have a brownish discharge from the nipple regularly. I am constantly scratching it and sometimes to the point that it gets “scaly” and so dry. I have tried several types of lotion and creams but nothing helps.

    • The Phaa Team

      Hi Cheryl. You should have this checked by a doctor. The discharge may be related to hormonal problems or even an infection. But the greater concern here is that breast cancer can sometimes present with a rash and abnormal nipple discharge. This is not to say that you do have breast cancer. Let your doctor assess it and conduct further diagnostic investigations.

  • tabia

    Hi i have a very dry skin and its itchy all the time now my breasts are also itchy theres no cracking or swelling at all

    • The Phaa Team

      Hi Tabia. Sometimes the cause of dry skin is just a matter of lifestyle factors. By using strong scented or antibacterial soaps, not drinking enough water and not sufficiently moisturizing, the skin can easily become dry. First try changing these lifestyle factors. However, if the dry skin and itching persists then it is worth consulting with a dermatologist as it may be symptoms of some underlying skin disease.

  • Ahmed

    Thank you for this great article
    Other simple solution for the prevention and treatment of itching http://bit.ly/1uRKIJJ

  • Amber

    I’m a 31 year old female and for the last 2 days my right nipple has been itchy to the point of being annoying. There are also pimple like bumps around the nipple. I haven’t changed anything as far as hygiene products or laundry soap. And I have wore this bra several other times never any issues. What could cause this?

  • Flora

    am having breast itching which makes my breast to be weak. What will i do

  • Flora

    Having breast itching and after scratching, it gives me many black marks on my breast