Is caused when a milk duct becomes blocked and the milk behind the blockage flows into the surrounding tissue causing inflammation and infection.
Frequent contributing factors can be due to your breasts are too full, you have an oversupply of milk, you have large breaks between feeds, previous breast surgery or there is poor attachment or nipple damage.
You can try and prevent Mastitis by:
- Breast feed as often as your baby requires
- Don’t put off feeds or allow your breasts to become too full
- Try and feed from both breasts and if they are still full, express
- Massaging regions that remain engorged after a feed has occurred
- Watch for nipple trauma and consider pumping the damaged breast
- Review attachment with lactation consultant
Signs and symptoms are red sore area of the damaged breast, sometimes the skin can present as red stripes and is quite shiny in appearance. You will also experience flu like symptoms, such as hot and cold shivers and aching joints. Mastitis differentiates from just blocked ducts by the presence of a high fever (>39 C), and generalised body symptoms.
As symptoms can advance quickly over a few hours it is important that as soon as you feel symptoms you seek treatment as early as possible from your Obstetrician or General Practitioner. If infection does settle into the breast tissue antibiotics will be required.
Some methods to unblock the duct and ease symptoms are:
- Use a warm heat pack just prior to assist let down and help unblock
- Massage the breast where lumps are
- Continue to breast feed– the infection will not affect your baby
- Rest as much as possible and drink plenty of water
- Use a cold pack just after feeding to help reduce swelling and pain
- Anti-inflammatory tablets such as Ibuprofen can be useful
- Therapeutic ultrasound to help unblock ducts can be arranged through certain physiotherapists
Please contact our practice for all the information you require about the obstetric and gynaecological services we offer. We are here to assist you during your pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and birthing journey and provide you the best after care services.