Health

The reasons you have itchy boobs – and when to see a doctor

You’re not the only one suffering from itchy boobs and nipples. In fact, having an itchy chest can be totally normal – after all, we wear bras all day and it can get sweaty!

And it’s not like you can constantly keep giving them a good old scratch (unless you are Netflix and chilling in the privacy of your own home).

So, what causes the itching? And is it a sign of something else a bit more serious?

We’ve pulled together a list of what could be causing you to have an itchy chest and when you need to see someone about it…

The reason why you may have itchy boobs and nipples – and when to see a doctor

Here are the reasons you may have itchy breasts:

  1. You’re not washing that bra enough

The reason why you may have itchy boobs and nipples – and when to see a doctor

Eugh! But also, we’re busy mums! And bras aren’t like undies, you don’t need to wash them every single day.

However, dirty clothes have bacteria and this can irritate the skin. You should try washing your bra after every two or three wears.

  1. You have an infection

Whether it’s bacterial or fungal, an infection is the most common reason for itchiness.

If you notice a pink colour around the nipple area and experience pain after feeding, this can be an indication of thrush which can also impact your little one.

  1. You have mastitis

painful breasts

If you’re breastfeeding, you may be getting an itch due to mastitis.

Mastitis, which is inflammation of the breast, is also something to be wary of as it is commonly linked with having an infection or when a milk duct is blocked.

  1. You have cracked or dry skin

Towards the beginning of breastfeeding, new mums tend to experience this when bub can’t latch or is doing so in the wrong way.

However, if there is bleeding or intense pain, this is not normal.

  1. You’re suffering from eczema

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If you have a history of eczema, psoriasis or sensitive skin, this can sometimes occur on the nipple.

Low potency steroid creams can be prescribed to help so if you are experiencing pain or discomfort, see your doctor.

  1. You have sensitive skin

Are you wearing a top with synthetic fibres that could be irritating your skin or have you changed your washing detergent recently?

Different fabrics and washing powder can cause itching if you have sensitive skin.

  1. You have sunburn

Sunburn can be extremely itchy and this could be what’s causing the itch as the skin peels, as your skin is irritated.

Alternatively, you may have heat rash. This happens when the breast get overhead and the sweat can cause them to become irritated and itchy.

  1. You have a yeast infection

Yeast infections occur under the breasts as moisture an get trapped under there making it sweaty and this can cause a rash or pimples that are very itchy.

  1. You’re breastfeeding

Many pregnant or breastfeeding women find their breasts are itchy, as they are growing quickly to make milk. Similarly to stretch marks, growing boobs can cause itching.

  1. You have hypothyroidism

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Your thyroid is a gland in your neck which regulates your metabolism. An under active thyroid can cause dry skin and this could lead to itchy breasts.

  1. You’re on medication

Some medications cause itchiness across the chest, such as blood pressure medications as well as over the counter drugs like aspirin.

  1. You have menopause

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A drop in oestrogen can cause the skin on your breasts to become thinner and this in turn can cause itching.

  1. It’s a sign of breast cancer

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Breast cancer can cause inflammation, and this can mess with the layer of skin across your breasts. If you have any other symptoms like lumps, a rash or bleeding nipples, we advise you seek medical advice ASAP.

  1. You’re having radiation

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are undergoing radiation, this could cause your skin to become dry and itch as the skin peels off.

    15. You have Paget’s Disease

Far less common, though important to note, is Paget’s Disease.This is a very rare type of breast cancer and according to Cancer Australiaaround two out of every 100 cases of breast cancer involve Paget’s disease of the nipple.

The symptoms tend to resemble those of eczema but others include the appearance of an ulcer, inverted nipple or bleeding/discharge from the nipple.

How to treat itchy breasts

However, you should seek medical advice IMMEDIATELY if you experience a burning sensation or the itching persists.

You could try moisturising your chest, trying on different bras, using a different detergent or body wash or using a steroid cream (after speaking with your doctor) to help soothe your irritated breasts.

We at The Healthy Mummy always suggest visiting your doctor or a lactation specialist if you have any questions regarding these conditions.

Check your breast health

Breast Cancer To Be Most Common Type Diagnosed In 2017

According to the Cancer Council, breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women in Australia.

In 2016, 2976 women and 28 men died of breast cancer in Australia. In Australia, the overall five-year survival rate for breast cancer in females is 90 percent.

Being aware of changes in your breasts and understanding the signs and symptoms of breast cancer could help save your life.

Did you know that The Healthy Mummy’s range of delicious smoothies are breastfeeding-friendly?

The Healthy Mummy smoothie has been created to help mums benefit from a wide range of nutrients which can also help support your healthy eating plan and exercise routine if you are trying to lose weight.

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It offers an excellent source of essential vitamins, minerals, nutrients and important antioxidants.

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You can download our information fact sheet here. You can also download the smoothie label and ingredient list here.

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