Lactation Mastitis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Home Remedies

What is Lactation Mastitis

Mastitis is defined as a breast tissue infection that is characterized by pain in the breast, swelling, redness, and warmth. The breast may feel hard and sore. It may also cause fever along with chills. It may affect mammary glands of one or both the breasts. However, it commonly affects one breast. Mastitis is commonly seen in nursing mothers and this condition is referred to as lactation mastitis. However, it may also occur in those women who are not breastfeeding but cases are uncommon. Lactation mastitis usually affects within six to 12 weeks after delivery. However, it may also occur in later phases of breastfeeding.

Lactation Mastitis

Lactation Mastitis


What is the Cause of Lactation Mastitis

Mastitis occurs either due to blocked milk duct or due to the entering of the bacteria in the breast through cracks in the skin. The most important cause is a poor feeding technique that traps the milk in the duct and blocks them. If breast does not empty properly ducts get clogged and milk backs up which finally results in breast infection.

Cause of Lactation Mastitis

Cause of Lactation Mastitis

Usually, bacteria do not thrive in fresh breast milk, but when ducts are blocked the stagnant milk provides a suitable medium for the bacteria to grow and cause infection. Bacteria that are present on the skin surface or from the mouth of the baby enters the milk duct through the cracks in the skin. However, the infection does not spread to the baby while feeding because the milk has antibacterial properties.

What are the Symptoms of Lactation Mastitis

The most common symptoms of lactation mastitis are pain, tenderness, warmth and soreness in the breast. Other symptoms include fever, chills, malaise, swelling, anxiety, burning sensation, and redness. It usually affects only one breast. The breast also hurt to touch and it becomes difficult and painful for the mother to feed the baby.

Symptoms of Lactation Mastitis

Symptoms of Lactation Mastitis


What is the Diagnosis of Lactation Mastitis

Mastitis is very easily diagnosed. Your doctor may perform a physical examination and may ask you a few questions related to the symptoms.

In case symptoms become severe, sample of breast milk is tested to identify the causative microorganism.

What is the Treatment of Lactation Mastitis

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, which will make you feel better in a period of 24 to 48 hours. However, the course of antibiotics may continue for 10 -14 days. Mild painkillers are recommended to provide symptomatic relief. Take proper rest, drink lots of fluids and continue feeding your baby. If you do not find relief in your symptoms even after completing the course of antibiotics do see your doctor immediately to prevent complications.

What are the Complications of Lactation Mastitis

Lactation mastitis may complicate to an abscess which may require proper drainage. Also, the chances of developing mastitis again, increases more if treatment is late or inadequate.

Complications of Lactation Mastitis

Complications of Lactation Mastitis


What are the Preventive Measures for Lactation Mastitis

Nurse your baby properly and improve your feeding technique. Fully drained breast is at less risk of developing mastitis. Feed on both breasts, but make sure that each breast is fully drained before switching to another one. Help your baby to latch properly while feeding. Maintain hygiene and keep your breasts clean.

Preventive Measures for Lactation Mastitis

Preventive Measures for Lactation Mastitis


What are the Home Remedies to Treat Lactation Mastitis

1.Heat and Cold Compress- Apply heat compress for 15 minutes before breastfeeding. This looses the blockage and nursing becomes easy. After nursing apply a cold compress for 15 minutes. This will reduce the swelling down.

Heat and Cold Compress

Heat and Cold Compress

2.Epsom Salt Bath- Due to the presence if magnesium Sulfate Epsom salt is very effective in reducing pain and soreness. Add 2 tablespoons Epsom salt to bath water or bath tub filled with water. Soak yourself in it for 30 minutes or have a bath to relieve your symptoms.

Epsom Salt Bath

Epsom Salt Bath

3. Echinacea- It boosts the immune system and helps the body to fight against infections. Being rich in flavonoids It acts as an antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Add a few drops of its tincture in a glass of water and drink 3 times a day. You may also apply the tincture to the affected breast directly.

4. Massage- Massage the breasts in small circles to unclog the duct in small circles. This is done while the baby is feeding.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar- This is an excellent remedy for lactation mastitis. Being anti-inflammatory and antibacterial it not only reduces inflammation but also prevents the infection. Take 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar In a cup of warm water. Apply it to the affected breast. Leave it for 15 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water. Repeat this 3 to 4 times a day. You may also drink a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar by adding a teaspoon of honey 3 times a day till the infection clears.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

6. Raw Garlic- Garlic works wonders in infections. Take a few cloves once in a day.

Lactation mastitis is really a frustrating and annoying condition. Many mothers wean their baby during mastitis. But continue breastfeeding to get relief fast relieve as it clears the blocked ducts.

Raw Garlic

Raw Garlic

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