I woke up this morning and noticed my breast was swollen, sore, red just above the nipple, and I can feel a lump under the skin. I'm 20 years old, no children. I've been using a heating pad, but so far no change. Is there anything else I can do or do I need to see a doctor? Thank you.
The most likely cause for your symptoms would be an infection; even women who aren't breastfeeding get them from time to time. Mastitis would be the most likely infection you might be dealing with. You definitely need to call a doctor about this because an infection can get worse or chronic without proper treatment.
A possible, but less likely cause, for your symptoms is a type of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer, which is relatively rare. At your age, though, breast cancer would be an incredibly remote possibility. Please read our post on breast cancer and women under 40 for information about your risk of breast cancer at age 20.
Do get this checked out right away. Once you call the doctor and describe your symptoms to the scheduler, I'm sure you'll be able to see someone quickly.
Hi - Absolutely see a doctor. Sounds like you have a breast infection. Inflammatory breast cancer is also a possibility, but at your age, it's almost definitely something else. But don't treat this lightly; whatever is going on in your breast needs to be treated ASAP, OK? Good luck - PJH