Breast infections are usually caused by bacteria. Rarely, breast infections lead to a breast abscess (a collection of pus in the breast).
Mastitis Mastitis A breast infection ( mastitis) can occur after delivery ( postpartum infection), usually during the first 6 weeks and almost always in women who are breastfeeding. If the baby is not positioned... read more refers to painful inflammation of the breast, which is usually accompanied by a breast infection and most commonly occurs in breastfeeding women.
(See also Overview of Breast Disorders Overview of Breast Disorders Breast disorders may be noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). Most are noncancerous and not life threatening. Often, they do not require treatment. In contrast, breast cancer needs... read more .)
Breast abscesses are less common than breast infections. An abscess may develop if a breast infection is not treated.
Doctors usually drain (aspirate) an abscess with a needle. Ultrasonography is used to guide placement of the needle. Sometimes doctors need to make an incision to drain the abscess.
Usually, women are also treated with antibiotics.