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Ask Alan Gibstein, M.D. Your Own Question
Alan Gibstein, M.D.
Alan Gibstein, M.D., OB/GYN (Doctor)
Category: OB GYN
Satisfied Customers: 1833
Experience:  Assistant Professor of OB/GYN with 40 years of experience treating patients. Fellow of The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
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What causes breast itching, tingling, redness around nipple and areola (extending to just

Resolved Question:

What causes breast itching, tingling, redness around nipple and areola (extending to just around that area)? My breasts also feel heavy. I started antibiotics three days ago (for possible infection, but no blood tests were done to confirm) - the itchiness has subsided since the antibiotics, but I have now noticed an increase in heaviness and tingling.

Needless to say, I am scared to death that I might have breast cancer.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: OB GYN
Expert:  Alan Gibstein, M.D. replied 5 years ago.
Hello and welcome to JA; There is an uncommon but well known unique condition called Paget's disease of the nipple where a red, scaly and itchy rash of the nipple and areola is the sign of a occult breast cancer. Obviously that means you need to be seen, examined and guided by an expert, whether breast surgeon, oncologist or gynecologist for the mammography and ultrasound that is needed. Of course this may not be Paget's at all, but rather a localized eczema or contact dermatitis of no real significance. Get an appointment ASAP. In the meantime, you can safely use any OTC cortisone cream for some relief of the itching. But go!. Good luck
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for your response. However, cortisone made the itching worse and actually caused the redness in the first place. My initial symptom was itching with no other outward signs on the breast. My breast is not scaly. The antibiotics seem to have subdued the redness that occurred from the cortisone use. Is there anything else that may be causing this? (I am scheduled for mammography and ultrasound for this Thursday but the wait itself is killing me).

Thank you again.

Expert:  Alan Gibstein, M.D. replied 5 years ago.
As I mentioned, this could be a simple local eczema. The fact that the cortisone made it worse has more to do with the pH of the medicine than the cortisone itself. Remember that an itch is a very common occurrence anywhere on our body`s surface. Most often when we unconsciously scratch ourselves and look at the spot for the cause, none is found, Correct? That is because an itch is some irritation along the path of a nerve and the mind knows how to get rid of it, by making us scratch!. But because the areola is specialized skin, precautions must be taken with the diagnostic steps mentioned.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

That is very helpful. Thank you.


Just one last question, then ... I've been on Keflex since Saturday and while the redness has greatly subsided and itch is gone, now both breasts feel heavy and somewhat tingly. Is this a normal reaction to the Keflex? Or is this a sign that perhaps any bacterial infection is clearing up?


I'm not usually paranoid, but the fact that nothing like this has happened with my breasts before is causing me great concern, coupled with the fact that I have been on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for the past 18 months. (If the itch or reaction was anywhere else on my body, I would not be so concerned.).


PS: I have stopped all hormone treatments as a result of this incident.


Thank you again.

Expert:  Alan Gibstein, M.D. replied 5 years ago.

I don`t know how this will ultimately play out,but the additional information of the hormones is critical. I could just scream at the number of misinformed naive people who have been told that bioidentical hormones are better, safer, natural than the synthetics. NOT TRUE! Your problems could all be due to the improper amount of hormones and not the fact that you are taking estrogen itself.
Your symptoms are not likely from the Keflex. I agree to stop the hormones. If you get intolerable sweats, etc. in the future, see a really experienced gynecologist and discuss the risk/benefits of HRT and the length of treatment and how to start on tiny amounts and gradually increase.

FRom now, await the imaging and hope that it will all be negative It probably will. Be well

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