Breast pain is a common ailment for women and is most often associated with hormonal fluctuations and complications in health. For women who are experiencing pain along one side of the breast, the pain may be associated with a unique health complication commonly referred to as an armpit abscess. If you are suffering from breast pain, and your doctor has not found any complications within the breast tissue, it may be prudent to ask about the examination of the armpit area to determine if an abscess may be the cause.
Armpit abscesses affect both men and women but, in women, the pain can be quite significant and radiate through the breast tissue. Because women are typically used to periodic breast pain, when pain develops, we often do not immediately seek out medical attention. Should that pain be associated with an armpit abscess, however, the delay in medical attention may only allow the abscess to grow and enlarge, further compressing on the nerves in the chest area, causing even greater pain complications.
When suffering from breast pain along one side of the breast area, you will want to seek out medical attention with a doctor and ask about the use of medical diagnostic tools to rule out the presence of an armpit abscess. In many cases abscesses can not be readily felt along the breast tissue or under the arm and must be visually detected by MRI or ultrasound. Once confirmed, your doctor can perform a drainage of the abscess and this should alleviate our breast pain.
Without proper medical treatment, an abscess that has developed in your armpit can lead to other health conditions including sepsis from bacterial infection. When sepsis, or infection, spread from the abscess area into the surrounding area, not only is the tissue adversely affected but the organs in proximity to the breast – including the heart and lungs – can be impacted negatively. Be sure, therefore, that you seek out medical attention immediately and ask your doctor about the best way to drain the armpit abscess and alleviate your pain and other health risks.
Following armpit abscess drainage, you can expect there will be a 10 day period in which you will be required to take oral antibiotics and to rest the arm. Once this 10 day recovery is complete, your doctor will normally release you to begin activities of daily living again but only to the extent that your surgical site is not adversely affected. When living with an armpit abscess, once the drainage is done and your recovery and healing has taken place, you should experience very few symptoms from that day forward and your breast pain should be significantly alleviated.
Sources: Magill’s Medical Guide, vol 1. pp. 15-16.