Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Recurring breast infection

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 32 Replies
  • Posted By: Stressed
  • February 9, 2009
  • 09:38 PM

Over the past 5 years, I've had a recurring breast infection in just my left breast 5 times. I am post-menopausal and have never breast-fed. I had surgery the first time and the tissue was tested for cancer and came back negative. The surgeon was highly reputable and assured me he cleaned out the entire area and I should have no more problems. Unfortunately, not so. So far, each occurrence has been treatable with high doses of antiobiotics (2000 mg per day of Cephalexin for 10 days), however, the infection is VERY VERY painful. Just 6 months ago when I had the 4th occurrence, my surgeon sent me to a dermatologist and he did two punch biopsies--one right down the center of my nipple. That was extraordinarily painful. Both came back negative for cancer, and negative for Paget's disease. I now am going thru the 6th re-occurrence and am back on antiobiotics. I need a diagnosis of the underlying condition so this can be permanently fixed. I'm afraid I have something serious that will potentially get much worse if I can't get a diagnosis.

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32 Replies:

  • just curious how you are doing now and if you have ever found a diagnosis? I am pre-menopausal, never brestfed and had my first infection several weeks ago. I tried 3 different antibiotics and then had to have surgery to remove the abcess. now, 2 wks after surgery i have another infection/abcess and will probably have to get surgery again. the dr. keeps saying he thinks it is mrsa virus, but i don't at all think it is. tests came back negative for mrsa and for cancer (have had several different biopsies). i am soooo worried and confused and really don't want to have surgery again, but it doesnt seem like the antibiotics are going to work.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Still no diagnosis, but I did have to have a 2nd surgery in February as the infection actually broke the skin and began draining while I was on the antibiotics for the 6th reoccurrence. This time, my surgeon treated me as though I had MRSA, and did "open wound" healing vs. stitching up the wound. The cultures not only came back negative for MRSA, but nothing at all grew--meaning still nothing to investigate further to determine the root cause for this recurring infection. I've not yet had another occurrence, which I good I guess since my surgeon has now indicated that he is "out of ideas" if this comes back. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Please let me know what develops with your case.
    Stressed 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • Could you both explain what kind of surgery you had? I kept hearing about incision and drainage in a dr's office, but when my GP sent me to a surgeon, he said real surgery needed to be done. I got a second opinion and same thing....he said the infection was pretty big and I wouldn't be "too" deformed. WTH???Anyone? I'm desperate to find some info about this. I've had recurring infection on the breast for a few years. Have never had a culture because it drains fast and the drs don't seem to think it's important.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • this is directed to the women that have been talking about their breast infections. I am wondering if yours were through the actual nipple, on the areola, or somewhere else on your breast? I have a recurring infection too, and it comes to a head in the same spot on my areola. It happened twice last year, but this year it is only June and it has happened three times already. Even when it is not actively infected there is always a small, sort of painful bump now. When it does become infected it must start deep inside because I have a low fever and fatigue for a week or so before I have visable symptoms. Once the infection comes to the surface, it spreads very rapidly and painfully until my whole breast is red and swollen. It actually continues to grow for a day or two before the antibiotics begin to work. My friends have never seen anything like it. Sometimes the infection comes all the way up and I just lance it myself, but sometimes it seems to go back down inside and then it must burst inside because I get pretty sick before meds work. Docs say they don't know what it is, or why, but that ultrasound shows it is not cancerous. They don't seem very concerned. It is beginning to effect my quality of life and sleeping and bras are impossible when it acts up. I need answers!
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • HiI have had the same thing it has been going on for almost 4 years now ,i have had 4 surgeries so far actually just had one today in the hospital ,seems there is no reason why these are continueing i have also had several needle byopsies and aspirations this infection is all on th inside until it swelled so large the dr opened it and left it open to heal,this did not work as the infection came back as soon as it closed,i have a pacemaker on the same side(left) i nevr had any infections until i recieved the pacemaker 12/05 by 2/06 i had the breast infection my dr said that wha i had today was closed in hopes that the infection will not come back and said if it did it would mean more surgery he also said as a last resort he might end up doing a mastectomy if this does not work so please let me know if anyone has any luck with anything i have also been on antibiotics about 9 times with no helpThanks Valeriemytrose43@yahoo.com
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Just a note to let you know that I also had breast infection after breast infection. When I had my first infection it drain itself through my nipple. It continued to do this for about 3 years. On day my breast was twice as large as the other one and very painful. The infection no longer had a way to get out. The first step was a needle aspiration and 2 days later surgery to remove all the infection. I had to pack it with gauze for weeks while on meds for infection. As soon as the hole closed up, my skin was inflamed and again the hole broke open. Leaving me to again pack the hole with gauze until it closed. Finally 8 months later and several more infections and meds my doctor recommended that I go to Piper Breast Clinic in Minneapolis, MN. Just so happen that my doctor was also a wound specialist. His name is Doctor O'leary. He recommended after ultra-sound that I again go through another surgery. I had very inflammed milk glands that needed to be removed. After surgery I was hooked up to a wound-vac for 4 weeks( this device helps to speed up the healing and also removes any infection left over) and was put on very high doses of antibiotics. Since December of '08 I have not had any problems with my breast. Also there was another lady with the same thing that he also preformed surgery on with the wound-vac and she also has had no reaccuring infection. Just maybe a thought that you have your doctor speak with this surgeon for any insight or help. I hope this is helpful to you, I totally understand your frustration and pain...Good Luck!!
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • October 6, 2009
    • 08:36 PM
    • 0
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  • This time, my surgeon treated me as though I had MRSA, and did "open wound" healing vs. stitching up the wound. The cultures not only came back negative for MRSA, but nothing at all grew--meaning still nothing to investigate further to determine the root cause for this recurring infection.Nothing at all grows, yet you have an infection that responds to cephalexin?I strongly suggest you consider chronic Lyme and join Lymenet. The spirochete that causes Lyme is difficult to detect (contrary to what we're told), it is VERY painful, and ceftin is often used to treat it. Lyme can 'hang out' in virtually any tissue.
    kermworm 81 Replies
    • October 7, 2009
    • 07:22 AM
    • 0
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  • Hi I just went through using the wound vac and the problems was that it healed it with the infection still inside, and also a new abcess showd up,i have been on keflx since jan 2009 for this breast infection i have had 5 surgeries that have been left open and packed to heal from the inside out,I am now scheduled for surgery 10/19/09 for the 6th time this time he is removing the nipple as well as a considerable amount of tissue and leaving it open with a very large opening 3-4 inchs so it does not heal outside before the inside does.I have been tested for cancer and has been neg.it has cultured out to ecoli,strep and staph so far ,this infection has been ongoing since 2006 after having a pacemaker installed but did not get severe until jan 2009, no one can figure out why i keep getting this .mytrose43@yahoo.com
    mytrose43 5 Replies
    • October 16, 2009
    • 05:35 AM
    • 0
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  • I have the exact same problem. I've had reoccurring breast infections for the last several years. I nursed 2 babies and had trouble with the same breast 15-20 years ago. The first few times it happened more recently I shoved out the infection myself through the nipple. When I have an infection, the nipple is very sore, the breast is very red and swollen. My doctor always puts me on heavy oral antibiotics. When that doesn't clear it up, I get daily shots in the butt until the infection clears. I also soak my breast in hot water (the hottest I can stand) to reduce the infection...per my doctor. That seems to really help. If it's too severe, my doctor will lance the breast (very painful) to let out the infection.All ultrasounds and mammograms show no cancers or other problems. My doctor says they're clogged milk ducts. Frequently, I have cracked nipples. When it gets dry, they get even worse. This allows debris into my breast and causes the infection.This last infection was caused by going braless for one day when I was sick (nipple irritated by sweatshirt). I've also had occurrences related to running (irritation of the nipple and running bra wasn't strong enough) and and an over-zealous husband (who knows now to leave that nipple alone). It can be painful, but it would be nice to prevent them if possible.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • November 3, 2009
    • 02:34 AM
    • 0
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  • Hi Well i last posted about recurrent brest infection,On oct 19th 2009 i had a partial mastectomy because of this infection this was the 7th surgery and last resort after the surgery i was in the hospital for 8 days on mega IV antibiotics so far i have had no re accurance of the infection and keeping my fingers crossed it satys this way.:o
    mytrose43 5 Replies
    • November 18, 2009
    • 01:55 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Over the past 5 years, I've had a recurring breast infection in just my left breast 5 times. I am post-menopausal and have never breast-fed. I had surgery the first time and the tissue was tested for cancer and came back negative. The surgeon was highly reputable and assured me he cleaned out the entire area and I should have no more problems. Unfortunately, not so. So far, each occurrence has been treatable with high doses of antiobiotics (2000 mg per day of Cephalexin for 10 days), however, the infection is VERY VERY painful. Just 6 months ago when I had the 4th occurrence, my surgeon sent me to a dermatologist and he did two punch biopsies--one right down the center of my nipple. That was extraordinarily painful. Both came back negative for cancer, and negative for Paget's disease. I now am going thru the 6th re-occurrence and am back on antiobiotics. I need a diagnosis of the underlying condition so this can be permanently fixed. I'm afraid I have something serious that will potentially get much worse if I can't get a diagnosis. Hello, I ran across these posts by accident and since you started the thread I thought I would reply to you first. I am sorry to hear of your painful struggle and it sounds very similar to two cases I have ran across. Although of course I'm not sure... it can't hurt to try. A friend of mine had breast reduction surgery and hadb MONTHS of painful wound ulcerations. She sought treatment from MANY drs... mayo, vanderbelt etc. Then came across a dermatologist who had previous experience and diagnosed her with pyoderma gangrenosum. she had none of the other associated systemic disease sometimes associated with pg such as ulcerative colitis etc. but yet they quickly began treatment for pyoderma gangrenosum. she was prescribed of what i remember as one pill a day for about four to six weeks and she was fine. she actually started getting a little better in 48 hrs. a few months later she had horrible scars but no more pain! I wish I could remember the pill but please go to a dr until they will listen to you. another friend of mine months later had the same problem. It is supposedly very rare??? good luck and god bless. p.s. Before she got diagnosed the previous drs. took biopsys and cut on her the worse she got! That is the way this pd works. you have to get the treatment! good luck and god bless
    melrenck 1 Replies
    • January 12, 2010
    • 08:22 AM
    • 0
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  • I have had breast infections on and off over the past 15 years or so.I was told that it is coming from the milk glands clogging up.I am given antibiotics to clear the infection,but told NOT to use warm compresses,but to use COLD.It works everytime.One other thing I was asked,which is a bit personal,is if my husband,during intimacy ever put my breast in his mouth,because bacteria in the mouth could enter the nipple and cause infection.Needless to say,my husband has done that on occasion,and that is exactly the times my breast got infected.He no longer does that,and I have been infection free for over three years now.I am totally sure,now,that that was the cause of my breast infections.Hope this helps someone...God Bless.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 28, 2010
    • 05:25 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Still no diagnosis, but I did have to have a 2nd surgery in February as the infection actually broke the skin and began draining while I was on the antibiotics for the 6th reoccurrence. This time, my surgeon treated me as though I had MRSA, and did "open wound" healing vs. stitching up the wound. The cultures not only came back negative for MRSA, but nothing at all grew--meaning still nothing to investigate further to determine the root cause for this recurring infection. I've not yet had another occurrence, which I good I guess since my surgeon has now indicated that he is "out of ideas" if this comes back. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Please let me know what develops with your case.I was reading this and wanted to let you know. I went to doctor after doctor and after over 30 infections i finally went to a breast clinic. The problem was my milk glands. After they removed the infected glands i have been infection free for 5 years. Unless you go to a clinic that specializes in the breast you will keep getting them. Get with one as soon as you can. Then you will know what the diagnosis is, I guarentee you. If not they will research it until they find it out. They are women just like us and wantt o know what is going on.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I also have a history of breast infections. I have had an abscess drained and have been on antibiotics several times for this issue. When I notice an infection coming on I go to a lymph drainage therapist. I still have to take the antibiotics but the lymph drainage helps a lot. It seems to make it possible for the antibiotics to get into the area with more ease. I have been to a surgeon here in Toronto who said that he would not operate unless I was getting them every month or two. This made sense to me. I think the cutting to drain the abscess added to the scar tissue in the area around the nipple thereby making it even more difficult for further infections to clear up.I really think finding a good lymph drainage therapist helps hugely.You all have my sympathy for this very painful and lonely experience.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • i am very interested to read these posts. i am 63, post-menopausal. i have a fluid-filled cyst in right breast that has become very tender and throbs. it was ruled non-cancerous at last mammogram followed by sonogram. have never had it biopsied. last mammo was 12/08. another scheduled for next week. meanwhile, i feel like i have an infection throughout my whole body. all my joints hurt, very achey, kinda like the flu. is that something all of you have had with your infections? i have long suspected i have some sort of parasite or bacterial issue. i had an HPV wart removed during a colonoscopy 3 years ago. i've never had any signs of HPV before and all PAPs have been normal. i guess i'll start with a mammogram. when you have a $3500 deductible on your insurance, you put things off. didn't used to, in the days when insurance was plentiful and cheap.
    cynthia7 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • I alo see the same doctor, I will be is 4th patient with the wound vac he stated the the three before me have not had any infections since the procedures. He will also be removing all of the ducts and tubes that he is able to. As he stated, the tubes breed the staph. I have had infections for the past 4 years and sevearl duct removals. the last one being 2 months agao. I am hoping that this procedure works for me.Just a note to let you know that I also had breast infection after breast infection. When I had my first infection it drain itself through my nipple. It continued to do this for about 3 years. On day my breast was twice as large as the other one and very painful. The infection no longer had a way to get out. The first step was a needle aspiration and 2 days later surgery to remove all the infection. I had to pack it with gauze for weeks while on meds for infection. As soon as the hole closed up, my skin was inflamed and again the hole broke open. Leaving me to again pack the hole with gauze until it closed. Finally 8 months later and several more infections and meds my doctor recommended that I go to Piper Breast Clinic in Minneapolis, MN. Just so happen that my doctor was also a wound specialist. His name is Doctor O'leary. He recommended after ultra-sound that I again go through another surgery. I had very inflammed milk glands that needed to be removed. After surgery I was hooked up to a wound-vac for 4 weeks( this device helps to speed up the healing and also removes any infection left over) and was put on very high doses of antibiotics. Since December of '08 I have not had any problems with my breast. Also there was another lady with the same thing that he also preformed surgery on with the wound-vac and she also has had no reaccuring infection. Just maybe a thought that you have your doctor speak with this surgeon for any insight or help. I hope this is helpful to you, I totally understand your frustration and pain...Good Luck!!
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hi , I too have been going through the exact thing for the past 3 and a half years, Just had my 3rd surgery a month ago , if you hear anything about yours could you please pass on any news, I will do the same.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Female, 40 yrs, began having severe rt breast pain, hard palpable mass and swelling on May 2, 2010. One doc treated it as MRSA, prescribed Vicodin & Bactrim...it did not heal entirely. This was after a handful of mammograms, ultrasounds and one attempt at aspiration. Mid June a second doctor, lacerated (half inch) at the side of the areola and drained it. Open would for two weeks with gauze replaced daily. It still didn't feel right and my legs and arms felt achy, so I returned and doc inserted catheter. Am now irrigating it with Betadine & peroxide twice daily. Am still taking Vicodin, Ibuprofen and sure wish it would get better. The prospect of surgery seems SO FRIGHTENING. This is the only place on-line where I have found any support or similar stories. Applying ice before we irrigate it twice daily seems to help with the searing pain as the stuff bubbles and oozes out. Applying warm compresses after seems to draw out more fluid. The goal is to draw out the fluid/pus and that they cavity will close. Has anybody healed from this by this method alone? The deep nerve like pain that I have intermittently throughout the day and night has gotten old. I will look up the doctor in MN and the condition that an earlier post mentioned. I'm also wondering if eliminating/reducing yeast from my diet would help.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Still no diagnosis, but I did have to have a 2nd surgery in February as the infection actually broke the skin and began draining while I was on the antibiotics for the 6th reoccurrence. This time, my surgeon treated me as though I had MRSA, and did "open wound" healing vs. stitching up the wound. The cultures not only came back negative for MRSA, but nothing at all grew--meaning still nothing to investigate further to determine the root cause for this recurring infection. I've not yet had another occurrence, which I good I guess since my surgeon has now indicated that he is "out of ideas" if this comes back. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Please let me know what develops with your case.OMG I have had like 30 infections over the last 6 years i am getting an ultrasound tomorrow my doctor kept putiing me on antibiotics, LISTEN TO ME CAREFULLY AND HEAR WHAT I SAY....I AM CONVINCED THEY WERE SPAWN FROM THE PADDED BRA I WORE..THE FIRST TIME I HAD THIS SILICONE BRA TO MAKE MY BREASTS LOOK BIGGER... I KNOW STUPID..BUT WHO KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN..I AM CONVINCED IT IS IN THE BRAS
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • September 12, 2010
    • 08:19 PM
    • 0
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  • I alo see the same doctor, I will be is 4th patient with the wound vac he stated the the three before me have not had any infections since the procedures. He will also be removing all of the ducts and tubes that he is able to. As he stated, the tubes breed the staph. I have had infections for the past 4 years and sevearl duct removals. the last one being 2 months agao. I am hoping that this procedure works for me.Thank you for posting this. I have been dealing with infections for 12 years now. The first one started right after I had my last child, I didn't breast feed her. They told me it was a blocked duct, take the antibiotic and don't pop it. Well it popped on it's own and I finally got some relief. It reoccured several times in that same breast and then started happening in the other breast as well. I always took care of it myself when it would come to a head because I'm not a big fan of anitbiotics. Last week I went for my gyno check up and of course my breast was flared up again...she said she had never seen it before and figured something should be able to be done about it so she sent me to a breast surgeon. The breast surgeon said there is nothing I can do...just when it occurs to get in and get an antibiotic right away.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • October 21, 2010
    • 04:45 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
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