I have a rash at the side of my breast, it is red round and itchy and one on my other breast. I am 47 and in menopause.

(Last Updated: Apr 18, 2007)

A skin rash on the breast may indicate a mild or serious medical condition. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor will be able to determine the cause of the problem. Most importantly, you need to bring it to the attention of your doctor and not put off your appointment due to embarrassment or shyness.

Possible causes of breast skin rashes that itch include:

  • Breast Cancer: Though rare, inflammatory breast cancer can develop quickly. If the rash on your breasts becomes red and painful and you notice a swelling or bruising of the skin, contact your doctor immediately.
  • Mammary Duct Ectasia: Women between the ages of 40 to 50 may experience this condition. Not related to breast cancer in anyway, mammary duct ectasia causes red or sore breasts as well as a nipple discharge along with the skin rash.
  • Mastitis: Mastitis is another possible reason for sore or itchy breasts. However, this occurs only in breastfeeding women and as you have mentioned that you are 47 and experiencing menopause this can be ruled out.
  • Paget’s Disease: Affecting less than five percent of women, Paget’s disease is a rare type of breast cancer. The symptoms of this disease include flaky or red skin rash that may or may not be itchy. Many times the condition is confused for eczema.
  • Dermatitis: Dermatitis such as eczema can cause inflamed or reddened skin and a severe rash on all parts of the body. Contact dermatitis develops as a result of an allergic reaction to particular products such as soaps, lotions or perfumes. Symptoms may include itchy skin, and swollen or red patches around the breasts.
Once the cause of your rash is determined the proper treatment can be prescribed. In most cases, you may find relief from the itching by applying a thick moisturizer on the skin to keep it hydrated and prevent flaking. Petroleum jelly is an ideal option. You may also find it more comfortable to stop wearing a bra until the rash clears up. If this is not possible, wear bras made of cotton or natural fabrics and avoid lace or nylon underwear. Tight clothes made of synthetic fabrics can cause friction of the skin and increase the rash. Similarly, try not the scratch the area and exacerbate the problem. Stay away from scented creams and bath gels and use un-scented mild soaps until the condition clears up. If your rash persists, speak to your doctor about antihistamine creams or tablets.

answered by G R

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