Infections and inflammation
Some benign breast conditions are characterized by infections and/or inflammation.
Mastitis (sometimes called "postpartum mastitis") is an infection most often seen in women who are breast-feeding. A duct may become blocked, allowing milk to pool, causing inflammation and setting the stage for infection by bacteria. The breast appears red and feels warm, tender, and lumpy.
In its earlier stages, mastitis can be cured by antibiotics. If a pus-containing abscess forms, it will need to be drained or surgically removed.
Mammary duct ectasia is a disease of women nearing menopause. Ducts beneath the nipple become inflamed and can become clogged. Mammary duct ectasia can become painful, and it can produce a thick and sticky discharge that is grey to green in color. Treatment consists of warm compresses, antibiotics, and, if necessary, surgery to remove the duct.