Medical News Today: What causes a lump on the areola

A lump on the areola, or area around the nipple, can occur in both males and females. A lump can be a local infection that may or may not be the result of inflammation of the breast.

Although this condition is possible in males, researchers suggest that more than 95% of people with a lump on the areola are females.

In females, there are two different types of lumps on the areola. These are nonpuerperal subareolar abscesses, which occur in a person who is not breastfeeding, and puerperal abscesses, which occur in women who are breastfeeding.

In this article, we review the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for a lump on the areola.


The most common cause of breast infections is breastfeeding.

Inflammation of the breasts during breastfeeding can affect between 2% to 3% of lactating women, and 5% to 11% of these women may develop an abscess.

Males and females who are not lactating may also develop a lump on the areola. These abscesses may occur in people across a wide range of ages.

Non-lactational breast abscesses seem to have links with smoking and diabetes.

Also, researchers have shown that people who are obese and black people may have a higher incidence of breast abscesses than others.

Individuals who have nipple piercings can develop lumps on the areola as well.

The most common bacteria that causes breast abscesses in lactating women are Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Streptococcus species.

Doctors are noticing that a specific strain of S. aureus that is resistant to methicillin antibiotics is sometimes also found in lumps on the areola.

Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) infections are more difficult to treat and require different antibiotics.

Bacteria that tend to cause breast abscesses in males and non-lactating females are usually a mix of S.s aureus, Streptococcus species, and anaerobic bacteria.