An abscess is a pus-filled hollow space that can appear on the skin or inside the body. A breast abscess is a pus-filled hollow space around breast area. Most abscesses form just under the skin, and are the result of a bacterial infection. The infection causes the immune system to activate white blood cells and chemicals to fight the bacteria. Breast abscesses can affect women who are between 18-50 years of age, but they are very uncommon in women who are not producing milk.
What Causes A Breast Abscess?
Breast abscesses are often linked to mastitis, a condition that causes breast pain and inflammation, and usually affects women who are [breastfeeding].
During breastfeeding, infections can occur if bacteria enter your breast tissue, or if the milk ducts (tiny tubes that carry milk) become blocked. This can cause mastitis which, left untreated, can result in an abscess forming.
Sometimes, non-breastfeeding women can also develop mastitis if bacteria enter the milk ducts through a sore or cracked nipple, or a nipple piercing.
White blood cells are sent to attack the infection which causes tissue at the site of the infection to die. This creates a small, hollow area that fills with pus (an abscess).