Mastitis is an inflammation of the tissue of the breast that sometimes involves an infection, it occurs most frequently during the time of breastfeeding. Mastitis might occur when bacteria, most times from the baby’s mouth, enter a milk duct through a crack in the nipple. Continuing to breastfeed, even while taking an antibiotic to treat mastitis, is better for you and your baby.
Chronic mastitis occurs in women who are not breastfeeding. In postmenopausal women, breast infections may be associated with chronic inflammation of the ducts below the nipple. Hormonal changes in the body can also cause the milk ducts to become clogged with dead skin cells and debris. These clogged ducts make the breast more open to bacterial infection. Infection tends to also come back after treatment with antibiotics.
- Breast tenderness or warmth to the touch
- Breast swelling
- Thickening of breast tissue, or a breast lump
- Pain while breast-feeding
- Skin redness
- Generally feeling ill
- Fever of 38.3 C or greater
Causes of Mastitis
- Trapped milk in the breast.
- A blocked milk duct.
- Bacteria entering the breast.
- Previous mastitis occurrence
- Sore or cracked nipples
- Anything restricting milk flow e.g wearing a tightfitting bra or putting pressure on your breast when using a seat belt
- Improper nursing technique
- Becoming overly tired or stressed
- Poor nutrition
Mastitis that isn’t well treated well just times cause a collection of pus to develop in the breast.
Treatment of Mastitis
- Use of Antibiotics
- Pain relievers
- Proper latching: this might be difficult when your breast is engorged, express a small amount of milk by hand before breastfeeding.
- Breast shouldn’t be overfilled for a long period
- Ensure to drain breast while breast feeding. Applying a warm and moist heat to the breast before breastfeeding usually helps.
- Breastfeed on the affected side first, when your infant is hungrier and sucking more strongly.