Medical News Today: What causes breast itchiness without a rash?October 27, 2019
There are several reasons why the breasts may feel itchy without an accompanying rash, however. Although most causes are benign, people should pay attention to their symptoms, as breast itchiness can also be an early sign of a rare form of inflammatory breast cancer.
In this article, we provide more information on the possible causes of itchy breasts with no rash.
1. Dry skin
A person may experience breast itchiness because of dry skin.
Dry skin on the breasts can cause itchiness and irritation. The skin typically appears flaky or scaly when it is dry.
Some people have naturally dry skin, but other possible causes include:
- the use of harsh skin care products
- sun exposure
Using moisturizers and sunscreen may help prevent dry skin. Keeping creams in the fridge and applying them to the breasts can help cool the skin and ease itching.
2. Breast growth
Whenever the breasts grow, the skin around them stretches, and this may cause itchiness and discomfort. The breasts may grow due to:
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3. Heat rash
Exercising in hot climates can cause heat rash.
Heat rash is a common occurrence in hot climates or when a person exercises in high temperatures.
Contrary to its name, heat rash can sometimes occur without any visual symptoms. However, many people also develop small, pin-like bumps or blisters in addition to the itching.
Heat rash can affect any part of the body with sweat glands, and it can often appear on, between, or under the breasts. Other names for it include “prickly heat” and “miliaria.”
Allergic reactions are another common cause of itchiness. Allergic reactions can sometimes cause a rash, but this is not always the case.
Products that may cause an allergic reaction include:
- laundry detergents
- cosmetic products
5. Breast cancer
In rare cases, itchiness of the breasts can be a symptom of breast cancer.
The National Breast Cancer Foundation list itchy breasts as a symptom of a rare form of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer.
In addition to experiencing itchiness, people with inflammatory breast cancer may see a rash and feel that the breast is warm and swollen.
If either the nipple or areolar region is itchy, this could be a symptom of a rare form of breast cancer called Paget’s disease of the breast.
When to see a doctor
Dry skin and growing breasts are two of the more common reasons for itchy breasts, and they do not usually require a doctor’s examination.
However, a person should talk to a doctor if they experience the following symptoms:
- itchiness lasting for more than a week
- intense itchiness
- an itchy nipple or areolar area, especially if the area is also flaky
- tenderness, pain, or swelling alongside the itching
- the appearance of a rash on, between, or under the breasts
- itchiness that does not go away with home remedies
Treatments and prevention
Using sunscreen may help prevent dry skin.
People can often treat and prevent breast itchiness at home.
For example, if dry skin is the cause of the itchiness, a person can try:
- using sunscreen
- using moisturizers that are not oil based
- staying hydrated
- keeping the breasts clean and dry
- using only nonscented products, including creams and detergents
If an allergic reaction causes the itchiness, a person can try to identify the source of the irritation and avoid exposure to it.
Other treatments for itchy breasts may include ointments such as pramoxine, which numbs the skin, or hydrocortisone, which reduces itchiness and swelling.
Antihistamines are another possible treatment option. Some examples include:
- diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- cetirizine (Zyrtec)
- loratadine (Claritin)
- fexofenadine (Allegra)
Antihistamines can help suppress the immune system’s response to the allergen. People can take these orally or use them in the form of a cream or ointment.
Breast itchiness without a rash has many possible causes, including dry skin or growing breasts due to puberty, weight gain, or pregnancy.
In some cases, allergic reactions or other underlying conditions may be responsible for the itchiness.
In very rare cases, itchiness of the breast, nipple, or areolar region can be a sign of some types of breast cancer.
People should speak to a doctor if the itchiness is intense, does not respond to treatment, lasts for a long time, or occurs alongside other symptoms.