Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do small white bumps on my areola mean I have an infection?"
I noticed small bumps on my areola after swimming in the beach. Could I have caught something?
Breast infections are usually caused by a common bacteria Staphylococcus aureus found on normal skin leading to breast inflammation known as mastitis. It can happen to any woman, although mastitis is most common in breast-feeding mothers. It most often happens when bacteria enter through a break or crack in the skin, usually the nipples, or through the opening of the milk ducts in your nipple, causing pain, itchiness, skin redness, swelling of the breast and maybe even some kind of discharge from the nipples as infection progresses. Do you have any of these symptoms or other symptoms? Of course, there are other causes of white bumps on the areola. Without examining you and taking a thorough medical history, I cannot determine exactly what is the cause of those bumps. If the bumps are truly on the areola and not a part of the nipple, then it is unlikely what you are seeing is milk blisters. All women have hair follicles in the breasts with oil glands attached to the hair shaft that make some of the lubricating oils called sebum to protect the skin of areola. Sebum is the white substance accumulating under the skin that gives the appearance of a white bump. As well, breast tissue responds to hormonal changes in your body, and the bumps become more prominent when hormonal changes occur during puberty, pregnancy or PMS. Please do not ignore this and consult a primary care doctor or gynecologist for a thorough examination and tests to identify the underlying causes and rule out the possibilities of developed lumps, nodules, etc. and breast abscess.
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