What Is Breast Fungus?
Breast Fungus refers to a fungal infection localize to the breast area. It can be present on or under the breasts but may also spread to the adjoining areas. Breast Fungus is most commonly seen in females who have abnormally large breasts. Many cases of Breast Fungus remains unreported as some females are not comfortable discussing with the physician such a condition out of embarrassment.
Breast Fungus involves the superficial layer of the skin and the inner layers remain unaffected by the infection. Breast Fungus is quite a common infection and does not affect the overall health of the patient. Antifungal medications are the frontline mode of treatment for Breast Fungus. If left untreated, the infection may last for a long period of time causing significant discomfort to the patient before they eventually go away on their own.
What Causes Breast Fungus?
There are various types of fungi that are known to cause Breast Fungus. It is most commonly caused by Tinea Versicolor and Tinea Corporis. While the former is a yeast infection, the latter is caused by dermatophyte, commonly known as ringworm type of fungus. Breast Candida is yet another type of fungi that commonly causes Breast Fungus. It is a yeast infection which comes from Candida Albicans. These types of yeast are known to cause infections like vaginal candidiasis and oral candidiasis.
The skin of the body is always exposed to candida yeasts but only gets affected when these yeasts find conducive atmosphere in the body where they can thrive resulting in an infection. These areas commonly are the vagina, mouth, and breasts and thus it is common to have fungal infections in these areas. These infections do not penetrate under the skin and just stay on the superficial surface unless the individual has a compromised immune system.
What Are The Risk Factors For Breast Fungus?
Some of the risk factors for developing Breast Fungus are:
- Large breasts
- Wearing brassieres that are too tight or are not appropriately designed
- Staying in a hot and humid climate
- Irritation of skin due to poor quality fabric used to make brassieres
- Injury to the skin under the breasts
- Other skin diseases under the breast like atopic dermatitis or psoriasis
- Constantly scratching the breasts or rubbing it.
- Use of skin irritants under the breasts like talcum powder to which an individual may be allergic to
- Compromised immune system
- Medical conditions like hyperhidrosis
What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Fungus?
The symptoms of Breast Fungus depend on the type of the fungi responsible for the condition. It may also depend on the severity and duration of the condition.
Some of the symptoms of Breast Fungus are
- Dry itchy skin rash under the breasts or on the breasts
- Redness of the skin under or on the breasts
- Cracking or flaking of the skin under or on the breasts
- Skin discoloration under or on the breasts
- Tiny oozing pustules under or on the breasts
- Foul odor under the breasts
- Peeling of the skin under the breasts
How Is Breast Fungus Diagnosed?
A visual inspection of the affected area along with a detailed history of the patient can diagnose Breast Fungus, although the physician may perform certain tests to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions causing the symptoms. A test may be done by scraping the skin in the affected area and sending it to the laboratory for analysis. The oozing fluid from a pustule may also be sent to the laboratory for analysis to determine the organism responsible for causing Breast Fungus.
How is Breast fungus Treated?
Use of antifungals is the mainstay of treatment for Breast Fungus. These antifungals may be in the form of creams, lotions, or powder. Nystatin and Clotrimazole are the primary antifungals used for treating Breast Fungus. If there are sensations of itching and the rash do not seem to be resolving then corticosteroids may be used for treating the condition, although the usage of these steroids are only for a short period of time. In case of a bacterial infection accompanying breast fungus then antibacterial creams and antibiotics may be utilized to treat the condition. In some cases oral antifungals like Fluconazole and Itraconazole are used to treat Breast Fungus.
What are Some of The Complications Of Breast Fungus?
If Breast Fungus remains untreated, then there are bound to be some complications over time. These may include:
Bacterial Infections: A secondary bacterial infection is one of the most common complications of Breast Fungus. This is due to excessive and constant scratching of the affected area. This persistent scratching may create abrasions on the skin surface which may be a breeding ground for bacterial infections which then will require aggressive treatment.
Skin Darkening: This is yet another complication of Breast Fungus and is caused due to persistent scratching of the affected area. This darkening of skin is more or less permanent, although it may lighten up somewhat once the infection clears off.
How To Prevent Breast Fungus?
Some of the preventive measures which one can take to prevent Breast Fungus or prevent aggravation of the condition are:
- Use proper fitting brassieres.
- Avoid any type of undergarment that is making direct contact with the skin
- Try to keep the area aerated so that there is no accumulation of sweat or moisture which may provide breeding ground for fungus.
- Do not scratch the affected area even if there is severe itching sensation as it may lead to a bacterial infection
- Apply petroleum jelly before going to sleep on the affected area so as to prevent scratching the area at night when asleep
- Keep the area clean and use a topical disinfectant
- Avoid using perfumes, deodorants, or scented powders under the breasts
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