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Nurse Susan
Nurse Susan, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
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Experience:  RN, BSN, MSN-ED, Nurse Educator whose passion is helping people understand their health and wellness
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I have been having a "burning" sensation on the very left edge/armpit

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I have been having a "burning" sensation on the very left edge/armpit of left breast. I had a thorough clinical breast exam done last week and was told that there was nothing to be concerned about. I had a mammogram in February. It came back inconclusive (no irregularities), but due to dense tissue they recommended more views (which i never did-i requested an ultrasound but was never "ordered"). I exercise regularly, have no family history of breast cancer, no hormones, and i take supplements daily (B, D, thyroid, Greenfoods, Cruciferous Complete, Primrose,etc.) The burning/irritation feels to be skin surface or just under. There are no other symptoms. It seems to vary and somewhat come and go. I thought it may be something as simple as irritation from bra. I am 44 and weigh 143 lbs.
Hello JACustomer,

I would like to try and help you but I need some more information. Are there any red marks, rashes, or lesions in the area of the "burning" sensation? How long have you had this? And, have you ever had the chicken pox?

Thanks for clarifying,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

no red marks or rash or lesions i have had chicken pox as a child

it's been there mildly off and on for a few weeks but since last friday it has been more prominent-i thought it may have been due to an underwire bra that i wore friday seemed to get a little relief with no bra or a sports bra it's a little hard to explain i did notice a very small lymph node a few weeks back but it is no longer there and my dr. that did breast exam didn't feel anything like that either please let me know if you need me to tell you more

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have not noticed any rashes, marks, or lesions i have had chicken pox as a child I have had minor off and on tenderness/irritation for a few weeks. But as of last Friday it seemed to "flare up" and has been much more noticeable. I thought maybe it had something to do with the underwire bra that i wore, seemed to relieve somewhat when wearing a sports bra or none at all. Please let me know if you need more information.

Hello JACustomer,


Please forgive the delay in my reply to you, I was unwell. I am sorry to read of your discomfort and hope I can help guide you here, but please also understand that online, no one can state with certainty what anything is. All I can do is offer my best educated guess based on what you wrote.


It may indeed be discomfort from a bra. However I would not expect that to last so long; when you removed the problematic bra that discomfort should have quickly eased.I asked you if you had chickenpox because I wonder if you could have shingles.


Shingles is a reactivation of the chickenpox virus, and in most people, it does cause a rash and varying degrees of discomfort from tingling to painful agony. The reactivated chickenpox virus inflames a nerve, and the pain of nerve irritation can be described as electrical. Because shingles does travel along a nerve, its felt..most of the time...only on one side of the body in a pattern called dermatonal distribution. The way you describe it under your armpit and breast could be so. However, you do not have a rash and most people with shingles do have a rash of some sort...but that does not mean you can not have a mild case; some people with shingles have no rash at all.


If this was shingles, if caught in the first day or so, antivirals can make it last fewer days and with less pain. That time frame has passed for you, but I can not state for sure that it is or is not shingles. You have had this for many weeks which is a long time to be in discomfort, you also had an swollen lymph gland that says that there is (or was) something going on (which may have been the acute stage of shingles). I think it is a good idea to have your health care provider see and examine this to make sure nothing horrible is happening and to confirm...or deny my guess, and to give you appropriate treatment for whatever it is he or she may find. Here is more information about shingles:


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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I did see my health care provider last week and she did a thorough breast exam and based on what the mammogram said in February did not feel that there was any reason for concern and suggested a follow-up in 6 months. I do know the mammo stated that I have dense breasts with some fibrocystic changes. Could my symptoms be the onset of fibrocystic breasts?? My mother did have this condition when she was younger. The discomfort has diminished over the past day or so and I also started my period today. Would there be any connection there?

Thank you

Hello JACustomer,

I am happy you saw your provider last week. I am presuming you saw her regarding this issue. I don't know if shingles was a possibility that was discussed.

Cystic dense breasts means that there is allot of breast tissue with allot of bumps...that can be connective tissue, glands, many things. Its not by itself a disease but it can make mammography more difficult to read as there is so much interference. Many women have fibrocystic breasts.

Dense breast material certainly can be more painful with hormonal changes such as occur during the menstrual cycle, and it can be the most uncomfortable in the upper outer segments of the breast. Some women even feel the "lumps" increase in size prior to their periods as well. I find that my own breasts hurt more before my period as well and the pain diminishes after the onset of my period. It is very probable and possible that the pain you felt was due to cystic breasts.

Here is more information about this condition:

I hope I was able to help,
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