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Breast Fungus (Submammary Candiasis) Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

What is a Breast Fungus?

A breast fungus is a fungal infection¬†of the skin under the breast, specifically on the skin folds between the breast and chest wall. Like all types of skin fungus, a breast fungus tends to thrive in a warm, dark and moist environment and the area under the breast provides this ideal environment. A breast skin fungus is often a candida infection of the skin and is known as submammary candidiasis or cutaneous candidiasis. Less commonly it may be due to an infection with another types of skin fungus known as a dermatophyte, which is more often responsible for common fungal skin infections like of the feet (athlete’s foot or tinea pedis).

What Causes a Fungal Infection under the Breast?

Causes of Breast Fungus

A breast fungus is caused by skin fungi, either a dermatophyte or yeast (candida). The candida type of fungus is more often involved but a dermatophyte may also be responsible. A breast fungus often occurs in women with larger busts, either due to a naturally large bust, breast augmentation (breast enlargement), breastfeeding and with breast swelling in pregnancy.

A fungal infection will not affect every woman and is more often in women who wear tight brassieres (bra) or have a pre-existing skin disorder on the affected area, like psoriasis, eczema or seborrheic dermatitis. It specifically affects the fold of skin between the breast and chest wall. Therefore this infection is known as candidiasis and more correctly as submammary candidasis since the folds under the breast are known as the submammary folds or inframammary folds.

Constant scratching in itchy skin conditions or minor cuts and chaffing caused by tight bras (intertrigo) exposes the area to a fungal infection. Therefore the alternative name for submammary candidiasis is intertriginous candidiasis. Fungi are then quick to infect the damaged tissue. It is often the fungi that naturally occur on the skin, like Candida albicans, that are responsible for the infection. However, a skin fungal infection elsewhere on the body may also be transferred to the area under the body by carrying fungal strands and spores on the fingernails or using a common piece of clothing or towel.

Picture of breast fungus (submammary candidiasis) from

Picture of breast fungus (submammary candidiasis) from

What does Fungus under the Breast look like?

Signs and Symptoms of a Breast Fungus

A breast fungus presents similar to other types of skin fungal infections. There is inflammation of the skin, appearing red and swollen initially. The condition is usually itchy with dark brown specks noticed after scratching or within the clothing and bra. Moisture may be noticed on the affected area with a musty odor. With time, a dark discoloration of the skin under the breast will occur and the skin becomes rough and dry. The hyperpigmentation (dark skin discoloration) can be permanent even after successful treatment of the breast fungus.

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Since submammary candidasis tends to occur on damaged or chaffed skin, the area may be raw and red in color. Candida infections of the skin tend to affect the deeper lying tissue compared to other more common fungal skin infections caused by dermatophytes. These dermatophyte infections (dermatophytosis) are limited to the outermost (superficial) layers of the skin. Therefore submammary candiasis may also be painful and tender to touch.

How is Fungus under the Breast Treated?

Treatment of a Breast Fungus

Antifungal ointments are effective in eradicating the fungal infection and should be continued for 6 weeks to 2 months to prevent any recurrence of the infection. Oral antifungals, in the form of tablets or capsules, are not commonly used but may need to considered if the breast fungal infection recurs or is persistent and not easing with topical treatment alone.

These antifungal drugs include:

  • Nystatin
  • Miconazole
  • Clotrimazole
  • Terbinafine

Drying agents like antifungal powders should be used as a preventative, especially after bathing. If the skin irritation persists after the fungal infection resolves, a mild corticosteroid cream can be used to relieve itching and assist with normal skin growth. Sometimes antibiotics may first be prescribed if the affected skin has become infected by bacteria. Once this bacterial skin infection resolves, the fungal infection is then treated.

Although there are many different types of over-the-counter antifungal creams and ointments available, it is highly advisable that the treatment is prescribed by a doctor. This will require a consultation and examination of the affected area. A dermamatologist should be consulted where possible. The choice of treatment is largely dependent on the findings of the physical examination.

How to Prevent a Fungus under the Breast

Prevention of a Breast Fungus

  • Always ensure the affected area is thoroughly dried with a towel after you bathe.
  • Use properly sized bras. ‘Push up’ bras should be avoided.
  • Try to ventilate the area with thin, cool clothing.
  • Avoid scratching the affected area as it allows the fungus to persist.

11 Responses to Breast Fungus (Submammary Candiasis) Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

  • I have a rash under my breast which comes and goes. My doctor gave me a steroid cream which helped clear it up the last time but it came back. I have tried wearing different types of bras, different sizes and even going without a bra but it still keeps coming back. Do you think this is a fungus?

  • I have the same problem with mine jess86 and I am getting no answers from doctors on why it keeps coming back

  • I have the samething and noticed that if i shower and dry the are completely then apply baby power it goes away i think its caused from moisture and sweat under tge breast. So i started to use baby power daily

  • i also had breast fungus…and i suffered a lot…finally i used BETNOVATE-N ointment and got best relief

  • Thanks it kinda helped I’m concerned I just noticed it today and started to worry I feel scared I’m only 16 but I do have large breast.

  • I’m only 16 and noticed it yesterday under my left breast just a little but I’m really concerned I don’t know about any breast cancer in my genes but I’m really worried. I do have large breast though and most of my bra doesn’t fit an I force it know that I know I will ask my father to make a doctor appointment thank you.

  • This is my first time to have breast fungas. I used the cream the docto gave me. It got alittle better but never went away. I dud find if I put a couple of drops of tea tree oil in a cup of cool water and dip a cotton ball and wipes seems to be healing it. I also put cold wet cloth with witch hazel on and it immediately took all the swollen, heat and red out. Felt so much better. If your blood sugar is high, it will come back. Hope this helps.

  • I had them long time ago when I was working out sweat and it where it start and my mom had then and she gave me advised to use Montistat 7 It for yeast infection cream but it work on breast as well and put Ammen Powder be sure it is orginals. wash your bra every day . I goes work out I put wash cloth and roll under my sport bra prevent touch my skin cause that problem and It work and have not come back since. Be sure you feel moisture wash it right way and take off bra and shirt put new one and put Ammen Powder and it will help. I had them first time again yesterday since 1999. Now I getting better and it is fading. no itching but burn now I use Monistat 7 or 3 it work and it do not burn or itching. Now my friends are having same issues I suggestion to her and she said it work and now she is going share with every woman and girls about it.

  • I have the same problem..I started using anticeptic powder to keep the place dry and I reduce the hours I wear bra during the it’s getting better..what I need to know now is how to clear the dark spot

  • thank you all for the info. I am 89 and this is the first time i have had one My two breasts were covered, I stopped wearing a bra and am using an over the counter athletes foot cream and it is going awayslowly. Had i known about thie cream earlier i don’t think it would have progressed this far. IT IS GRADUALLY FADING BUT I AM SEEING AN IMPROVEMENT.

  • my fungus under breast is drying but it itches ssoooo badly am losing my miND. what kind of soap can I use and can I use powder I pack my breath with soft paper towel from sweating need help ame on the cream ketoconsole cream 2% and it’s under my belly fold need help

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