Mastitis is a scary concern for a lot of nursing moms. I’ve heard some nasty stories about friends developing it and let me tell you I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. Mastitis usually occurs during the first 6 weeks of breastfeeding because that is when your milk is still trying to regulate. This doesn’t mean, however, that if you’re past the first 6 weeks of breastfeeding you no longer have to worry. Chances of getting mastitis decrease after 6 weeks but does not completely go away.
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Mastitis: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment
Causes of Mastitis
Mastitis is a painful inflammation of the breast that can make breastfeeding very uncomfortable. It could also cause an infection if left untreated for too long. It usually affects only one area of the breast but if left untreated it can affect the whole breast.
Mastitis usually occurs due to a clogged milk duct. Clogged milk ducts can occur from engorgement and not emptying the breast effectively during each feed. Cracked nipples can also contribute to mastitis.
Symptoms of Mastitis
- Severe breast pain. I’m not talking about your morning engorgement pain, this will be like nothing you’ve ever felt in your boobs before.
- red, hot, swollen area of the breast.
- Fever. Even if you don’t have a fever and you suspect mastitis visit your doctor because you may not have a fever until you have an infection.
- Flu like symptoms. Body aches, the feeling of being hit by a bus, lethargic, and weak.
You could have all of the above symptoms or only one. If you think you have mastitis it’s better to be safe than sorry, get into your doctor as soon as you can. I read a story about a woman who thought she had the flu. She started taking flu medication and she still wasn’t feeling better after 5 days. She finally decided to go to the doctor and that when they found out she had mastitis. She couldn’t believe it because she never even experienced any pain in her breast.
Treatment of Mastitis
For a lot of cases of mastitis, the only way to treat it is with antibiotics. Especially if it has turned into an infection. So please always get checked by your doctor
Other ways to treat mastitis are:
- Try to feed from the affected breast more often emptying it out completely. The most effective way to empty your breast is to lay your baby on their back and then lean over them and let your breast hang into their mouth. This method seems to be very effective for emptying the breast as much as possible.
- Warm compress
- Massage the breast
- Drink lots of fluids
- Stay hydrated
- Feed often
- empty out the breast during each feed
- Try not to wear tight bras
Mastitis is also a bitch for the fact that if you have it once you have a much higher percentage of getting in again. So if you’ve already endured this pain once, try the preventative measures above and watch out for the common signs and symptoms to get on top of it quickly.
Hopefully, these signs and symptoms help you understand what to watch out for when it comes to mastitis. Have you ever had to deal with mastitis? What helped you the most with relieving the pain? Leave your comments below.