Although breast infections usually affect women who are breastfeeding, issues can arise at other times, as well, for both women and men. Also known as mastitis, breast infections can be very painful and more serious instances may require antibiotics, depending on the type and cause.
There are two types of breast infections: fungal and bacterial. The fungus Candida albicans is the most common cause of fungal breast infections. Large-breasted women and those with diabetes are most susceptible to fungal infections, as are those who take transplant, cancer and steroid medications. Women with HIV, scleroderma, or rheumatoid arthritis are also more likely to develop this type of infection. Bacterial breast infections are caused by Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus, normal skin bacteria common among breastfeeding mothers. When an infection stems from breastfeeding, it is known as lactational mastitis.
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