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"I have had a problem with my breasts over the past few months. What could it be?"

ZocdocAnswersI have had a problem with my breasts over the past few months. What could it be?


I have white pustule-type bumps, stiff white hairs, and pitted skin on my breasts. The bumps, if they pop, turn into open sores. The doctors at a nearby walk-in clinic diagnosed as cellulitis; however, when I did a couple rounds of antibiotics, they went away, but then popped back up. Do you have an idea as to what this might be?


Thank you very much for your question. Changes to your breasts can occur and are not uncommon; however, the likelihood of different diagnoses changes depending on your age, personal health history, family history and other risk factors. I recommend that you speak with your doctor about your particular situation. Changes to the skin that create open sores can be concerning for cellulitis, which is an infection of the skin and soft tissue overlying your breasts. If you feel a lump or mass that is boggy in nature, you may also have a breast abscess (a collection of pus). Of particular concern would be if there is a finding of "peau d'orange," a dimpling of the skin with associated color changes that is often caused by swelling of the skin. This type of appearance can occur with a chronic abscess or with inflammatory breast cancer. Alternatively, you may be developing folliculitis, inflammation of the hair follicles overlying your breasts. It is not possible to receive a diagnosis without being evaluated by a doctor. I suggest that you make an appointment to see your primary care physician, nearby urgent care center, or a breast surgeon for further evaluation to receive a diagnosis and potential management strategies.

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