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Women's Health

Breast infection

06/13/2006

Question:

As a young teenager(around 12ish), I had a breast infection in both breasts. I wasn’t even menstruating yet so I suspect it being due to some type of trauma. The entire aureola(s) crusted up in reddish bumps + secreted yellowish liquid, it was quite painful for awhile. (Being the responsible pre-teen that I was, I told no one, didn’t want them to worry) When that cleared up(around 8 months later), the left breast(entire tissue mass) swelled up and was greatly larger(and lighter) then the right. Almost like there was nothing there. Menstruated on time(4 months later), and eventually,(several years later) breasts got back to looking normal.(with the exception of the left, still being larger then the right) I’ve never had an exam on that part of the anatomy(not commonly inflicted, on 24 yo’s) but I’m worried it might have screwed up the mammary glands, or something in there. As I hope to have kids later(and want to breast-feed), I’m concerned about this. Should I have a mammogram?

Answer:

What you describe actually may be quite normal and common development of the breasts.  It is not uncommon for a woman to have one breast larger than the other.  A mammogram would not provide you the information you desire - that is, are your breasts normal and will you be able to breast feed.

To answer the first part (are your breasts normal?), the best advice would be to see your doctor for a clinical breast exam. They can be done at your age - that would be a great time also to review how to do a self breast exam.

As to the latter question (will you be able to breastfeed?), that can only be answered once you have a baby, as there is no test that can check the mammary glands.

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Response by:

W. Fred Miser, MD W. Fred Miser, MD
Associate Professor of Family Medicine
Director of Ohio State Medicine Residency Program
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University