MASTITIS

Description

  • An infection of the breast tissue
  • Results in breast pain, swelling, warmth and redness
  • Can develop during breast-feeding

Symptoms

  • Breast tenderness or warmth to the touch
  • Generally feeling ill (malaise)
  • Breast swelling
  • Pain or a burning sensation continuously or while breast-feeding
  • Skin redness, often in a wedge-shaped pattern
  • Fever of 101 F (38.3 C) or greater

Causes

  • Build-up of milk within the breast (milk stasis)
  • Damage to the nipple
  • Bacterial infection
  • Obstruction of a milk duct

Risk Factors

  • Breastfeeding for the first few weeks after childbirth
  • Sore or cracked nipples
  • Using only one position to breastfeed
  • Wearing a tight fitting bra
  • Previous episodes of mastitis
  • Extreme tiredness or fatigue
  • Poor nutrition

Diagnostic Tests

  • Clinically diagnosed
  • Physical examination
  • Testing the breast milk sample
  • Diagnostic mammogram
  • Biopsy (if the signs and symptoms persist)

Treatment

  • Antibiotics
  • Pain relievers
  • Adjustments to the breast-feeding techniques
  • Self-care
  • Incision and drainage (extreme cases)

Medications

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others)

Prevention

  • Fully drain the milk from the breasts while breast-feeding
  • Completely empty one breast before switching to the other
  • Change the position to breast-feed from one feeding to the next
  • Make sure the baby latches on properly during feedings

Lifestyle Management

  • Continue to breast-feed as often as the baby is hungry
  • Rest as much as possible
  • Avoid prolonged overfilling of the breast with milk
  • Vary the breast-feeding positions
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Wear a supportive bra