Intertrigo is the term used to refer to yeast infections that occur when folds of skin, such as those under the breasts, come into contact with each other. Yeast infections under the breasts are caused by normal skin flora overgrowing due to the warm, moist environment. They are more likely to occur in women with large breasts.
The most common symptoms of a yeast infection under the breasts are redness and swelling. In some cases, there may be oozing and itchiness in the affected area. Tiny red patches sometimes surround the main part of the rash. The skin may peel and become quite sore. Untreated yeast infections in skin folds can remain indefinitely.
Because of its distinctive appearance, a yeast infection under the breasts is often clearly diagnosed by its appearance. However, if the diagnosis isn’t immediately clear, your doctor may want to perform additional tests. The most common test used to diagnose a yeast infection under the breasts is a KOH test. In this test, a swab or scraping from the affected area is treated with chemicals and viewed under a microscope to detect yeast. A bacterial culture may also be performed to rule out bacterial infections.
Yeast infections under the breasts can be treated with over-the-counter medication sold for athlete’s foot or jock itch. It is crucial to keep the area dry and clean until the infection has cleared up. You can use a warm blow dryer under your breasts after showering to speed healing. If the infection does not improve within a few days, consult your doctor. You may require prescription medication to treat the infection.
Although a yeast infection under the breasts does not usually cause any complications other than discomfort, some people are at a higher risk of developing problems from this condition. If you have diabetes, have an impaired immune system, or are taking medications that reduce your ability to fight infection, visit a doctor immediately if you develop a yeast infection under the breasts. Secondary bacterial infections, cellulitis, and skin ulcerations can result from an untreated yeast infection under the breasts.
If you find that you develop frequent yeast infections under your breasts, consider whether you have any habits that may be contributing to the problem. Bras made from synthetic material, such as nylon or rayon, can trap moisture and contribute to the problem. This is especially true if you put your bra on as soon as you get out of the shower, and the area is not yet completely dry. Another cause of yeast infections under the breasts is not showering after you exercise. Trapped sweat provides an excellent growth medium for yeast.