What are the causes and treatments for yeast infection under the breast? 

yeast infection under the breast
Medically reviewed by Richard Honaker M.D.

Key takeaways 

  1. Yeast infection under the breast, caused by Candida overgrowth, appears as a reddish-brown rash, emphasizing the need for moisture management and timely intervention.
  2. Candida growth, obesity, health issues, breastfeeding, and poor hygiene contribute to infections, requiring attention to factors like HIV, hypothyroidism, and medication use.
  3. Yeast infection under the breast can be treated with topical or oral antifungals. Keeping the area clean and dry is essential to prevent infections, and consult a doctor for persistent or recurrent symptoms.


Are you tired of suffering from yeast infection under the breast? 

Yeast infection under the breast, marked by a raised reddish-brown rash, is fueled by Candida overgrowth in moisture-prone areas. 

Symmetrical rashes result from skin-to-skin contact, emphasizing the need to manage excess moisture. 

Candida, a naturally occurring yeast on the skin, becomes problematic when its overgrowth causes infection, commonly targeting the skin folds beneath the breasts. 

Recognizing symptoms such as itching and pain is crucial for timely intervention.

Addressing yeast infections involves antifungal creams and drying powders to combat Candida overgrowth and prevent recurrence. 

These topical solutions alleviate symptoms, promoting healing. Implementing proactive measures, like drying powders under the breasts, is crucial for preventing yeast infections in individuals prone to recurrence. 

The subsequent sections provide a comprehensive guide to causes, risk factors, symptoms, and effective treatments for yeast infections under the breast.

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What Causes Yeast Infection under the breast?

Candida, a versatile fungus, exists both inside and outside the body, notably in the digestive tract, mouth, vagina, and on the skin. 

Candida albicans is the predominant type, residing peacefully as part of the body’s natural flora when the balance is maintained. 

However, disruption to this equilibrium can trigger Candida overgrowth, leading to cutaneous candidiasis on the skin.

Intertrigo, a prevalent inflammatory skin condition, arises from skin-to-skin friction and trapped moisture, particularly in skin folds. 

This environment not only encourages the overgrowth of Candida but also allows the fungus to penetrate damaged tissues, resulting in candidal intertrigo.

Thrush, caused by Candida albicans, finds fertile ground in moist skin folds. Imbalances in the normal human skin microbiome can lead to infections. 

Breastfeeding, especially with oral thrush in babies, is another contributing factor. The main contributing factors in the growth of yeast under the breast include the following: 

1. Obesity

Obesity amplifies the risk due to deep skin folds, increased sweating, and the constant inflammation associated with excess adipose tissues. More folds increase the chances of trapped moisture due to sweating, increasing the chances of infection in obese people. 

2. Health Issues

Certain health conditions increase vulnerability to candidal intertrigo due to suppressing the body’s natural immune response. Associated conditions include menstruation, HIV, hypothyroidism, iron deficiency, pregnancy, vitamin B deficiency, the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, corticosteroids, estrogen-based birth control, and smoking.

3. Using Breast Pads

Breast pads, while essential for nursing mothers, may inadvertently create a warm, dark, sugary environment, fostering the growth of organisms such as yeast. Therefore, using nipple creams, lotions, and breast pads adds to the moisture-thriving fungal growth, causing more harm. 

4. Hygiene Practices

Poor hygiene practices can be a leading cause of yeast infection under the breast. Therefore, a lack of regular hygiene practices, such as daily showers coupled with a constantly damp environment, can contribute to developing chronic yeast infections. Especially if you have weak immunity can increase your chances of persistent yeast infection, especially if you have weak immunity. 

5. Diabetes

Uncontrolled diabetes, marked by high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia), creates an environment conducive to fungal growth. Moreover, it can damage blood vessels in the skin, compromising circulation and challenging to combat skin infections.

6. Climate Changes

Skin can become excessively moist in hot and humid environments, giving Candida ample opportunities to multiply. Climate change has even been linked to the emergence of new Candida strains, such as Candida auris, resistant to antifungal drugs.

7. Sweating

Women may develop yeast infections on their breasts during pregnancy or breastfeeding, especially if poorly fitted clothing traps sweat in skin folds. Excess body fat can create additional skin folds, providing an environment conducive to yeast infections.

8. Large Breasts

Large, unsupported breasts, especially when not well-ventilated, can rub against the skin of the upper torso, leading to intertrigo and, subsequently, a yeast infection. Tight clothing may inadvertently contribute to fungal overgrowth by impeding air circulation and allowing the accumulation of heat and moisture.

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Real-Life Experience

You experience a terrible rash under your breasts. With a temperature of 40 degrees in summer without an air conditioner, the rash worsens due to sweat and humidity. It’s been two weeks, and the rash turned from an itchy bump to a painful rash under the breast. Initially, you ignored thinking it was a heat rash. However, the rash continued to be painful and itchy, and wearing undergarments has worsened the situation. With large saggy breasts and hot temperatures, it is impossible to keep the area dry, and no remedy is working for your condition. 

Then, you consult a doctor online as you don’t have insurance or a family doctor; the doctor diagnoses your condition as a yeast infection under the breast, not just a heat rash. They prescribe antifungal cream and oral medications as your rash is quite severe. Your skin feels breathable and alive again with the proper diagnosis and medications. 

How do you get rid of yeast infection under the breast?

As per one study, around 30% of women experience yeast infection under the breast during breastfeeding. Cutaneous yeast infections, particularly candidal intertrigo, are commonly addressed with topical antifungal treatments in creams, ointments, and sprays directly applied to the affected skin. 

1. Over-the-counter medications

For mild yeast infections, over-the-counter options are available, containing antifungal agents such as 

Regular, twice-daily application of these topical antifungals often results in noticeable improvement within about a week.

2. Prescription medications

In more severe cases or instances where topical treatments prove insufficient, healthcare providers may prescribe oral antifungal medications like 

These oral antifungals are typically taken once daily for a duration ranging from two to six weeks until symptoms subside. Steroid creams could also be suggested for symptom relief.

Maintaining cleanliness and dryness under the breasts is crucial for effective treatment and preventing future yeast infections

Adequate ventilation, air exposure, and drying powders contribute to skin dryness, minimizing the risk of recurrent infections.

For infants diagnosed with oral thrush, additional measures are recommended. 

Thorough cleaning of bottle nipples and pacifiers, regular washing of hands after diaper changes, and proper hygiene practices with towels, bras, and cloth nursing pads help prevent the spread of thrush. 

If your baby is diagnosed with oral thrush, it may require a course of antifungal treatment, and it’s crucial to ensure the correct breastfeeding technique to avoid re-infection.

Mild yeast infections typically respond well to over-the-counter medications and may clear up in as few as three days. However, moderate to severe infections might require one to two weeks of treatment.

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How to prevent it?

The most effective approach to preventing yeast infections under the breasts is maintaining cleanliness and dryness. Consider the following strategies to prevent thrush:

1. Keep Nipples Dry

Use disposable breast pads to prevent leaks and change them frequently to keep nipples dry.

Allowing your skin to heal correctly is essential. Choose breast pads without waterproof liners if disposable. Change pads frequently. Wash reusable breast pads in warm, soapy water. If you experience sweating during the day, take breaks to dry the skin under your breasts. Consider using antiperspirant or moisture-absorbing powder to stay dry.

2. Choose Comfortable Bras

Opt for comfortable bras made of natural materials like cotton. This choice promotes breathability and minimizes skin irritation. Wear clean, supportive cotton bras. Change your bra at least once a day. Wash bras in hot, soapy water. Avoid sleeping in your bra.

3. Hygiene Practices

After breastfeeding or sweating, wash your nipples and the skin under your breasts with warm water. Pat them dry to maintain cleanliness. Wash your hands regularly, especially before and after breastfeeding. Also, wash your hands before and after applying antifungal cream to your breasts.

4. Treatment Response

Fortunately, yeast infections under the breasts typically respond well to treatment. If symptoms persist beyond a week or two, consult your healthcare provider. They may recommend a stronger treatment.

5. Recurrence Management

If the infection returns within two months, seek medical advice. Recurrent yeast infections, especially during breastfeeding, may require additional attention.

6. Dietary Considerations

Limit sugary and starchy foods and reduce alcohol intake. Consider adding a probiotic to your diet. Weight loss may contribute to preventing yeast infections. Adopt a healthy diet and exercise to reduce adipose tissue density in skin folds. This not only aids in weight management but also improves overall fitness, reducing perspiration levels during daily activities.

7. Ventilation

Wear loose-fitting clothes and avoid tight tops, especially those of unbreathable fabrics. In private settings, going shirtless can also facilitate skin ventilation.

Consult a doctor 

If you’re experiencing symptoms like itching, burning, and painful rashes under or around your breasts, there’s a possibility of a breast yeast infection. 

If you observe extensive redness, swelling, and itching that progress to tears, cracks, or sores, it indicates a more severe condition requiring medical attention.

Moreover, if you experience four or more yeast infections within a year, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare provider. 

Recurrent infections may indicate an underlying issue that needs comprehensive evaluation and treatment.

In such instances, a doctor’s expertise is essential for accurate diagnosis and formulating an appropriate treatment plan. 

Timely intervention can prevent the escalation of symptoms and contribute to effective management.

FAQs about yeast infection under the breast

How long does a yeast infection under my breasts last?

A yeast infection under the breast can last a few weeks to even months, depending upon the severity of the condition. However, proper antifungal treatment reduces the infection span to a week or less. If your infection keeps returning, consult your doctor for the proper diagnosis as it can be due to an underlying health condition that needs proper management to stop its recurrence. 

What cream is best for rash under the breasts?

Some of the most effective antifungal creams for rash under the breast include clotrimazole, nystatin, or miconazole. Your doctor may prescribe the dosage as per your condition severity. 

Is Vaseline good for rash under the breast?

No, applying Vaseline to the rash under the breast can make it worse as the thick, waxy texture of the petroleum jelly can add to the moisture, encouraging microbial growth, which can further complicate the infection. 

How do you tell your breast rashes are yeast infections?

If the rashes under your breast are painful and red and accompany itching and burning sensation, it can be a yeast infection. It can spread to the area under the breast and on the nipples. 

What not to do with fungus under breasts?

If you have a fungal infection under the breast, avoid wearing tight and unbreathable fabrics and sweaty environments, as it can trap moisture and worsen the infection. Instead, wear loose cotton clothes to let your skin breathe and avoid trapping moisture in the skin folds.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • Zeretzke, Karen. “Yeast infections and the breastfeeding family: helping mothers find relief for symptoms and treatment for the infection preserves the breastfeeding relationship.” Leaven 34.5 (1998): 91-6.
  • Jiménez, Esther, et al. “Mammary candidiasis: a medical condition without scientific evidence?.” PLoS One 12.7 (2017): e0181071.
  • Chow, Brian DW, et al. “Host defense proteins in breast milk and neonatal yeast colonization.” Journal of Human Lactation 32.1 (2016): 168-173.
  • Amir, Lisa H., et al. “The role of micro-organisms (Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans) in the pathogenesis of breast pain and infection in lactating women: study protocol.” BMC pregnancy and childbirth 11.1 (2011): 1-11.
  • Chow, B. D. W., et al. “Expressed breast milk as a predictor of neonatal yeast colonization in an intensive care setting.” Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society 3.3 (2014): 213-220.

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