If you need information about mastitis treatment and everything about it, this article is for you. Some are lucky never to have had it, but there are others who seem to have more trouble with it coming back. Here’s everything you need to know about mastitis, how to treat it, and how to prevent it.
Mastitis Treatment | What You Need to Know
In this article:
- What is Mastitis?
- Is it a Plugged Duct or Mastitis?
- Signs to Watch for
- When Should You Call Your Doctor
- Mastitis Treatment
- How to Treat Mastitis
- How to Prevent Plugged Ducts and Mastitis
What is Mastitis?
New moms and soon-to-be moms have so many things to deal with in the days, weeks, and months during and after pregnancy, including mastitis, hormone changes, and more. Plugged ducts are a common problem of post-pregnancy. Plugged ducts can lead to a condition called mastitis. Mastitis is an infection of the breast tissue that results in breast pain. Luckily, there are a few different mastitis treatment options.
Is It a Plugged Duct or Mastitis?
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A plugged duct is not always mastitis. You get a plugged duct when one of the milk ducts in the breast becomes inflamed. This leads to swelling and a narrowing of the duct, causing a backup of milk and reducing the flow. Milk becomes trapped in the swollen area and starts to get thicker.
This makes it harder for the milk to flow through the duct. For some women, it feels like a lump in the breast that is sore when touched. Fast treatment for a plugged duct may prevent the condition from advancing to the more severe condition of mastitis. Generally, a discharge of thick fluid, or blood, signals mastitis.
During mastitis, the area around the tender spot may become hot, swollen, and painful. This can happen anywhere in the breast or even under the arm because milk ducts extend into this area. What was once a plugged duct can turn into mastitis fast. It’s an infection that is painful and it can make you feel feverish. Cracks or sores on your nipples can also let bacteria into the breast, leading to mastitis.
Signs to Watch Out For
You may notice increased swelling of the infected area. It may also feel hot to the touch. It may even look red in color. Mastitis may cause flu-like symptoms. You may get a fever, feel tired, or have nausea. If you let mastitis go for too long, the infection can turn into an abscess. If this happens, your doctor will need to drain it and treat you for infection.
When Should You Call Your Doctor
It’s best to call your doctor at the first sign of pain in the breast. If it doesn’t go away within a day, call to get it checked out. Mastitis can also develop without plugged ducts. When there is tenderness, pain, heat, or swelling, there’s a good reason to go in and get it checked out. When you have a post pregnancy discharge of blood or thick fluid from your breasts, it’s time to call the doctor.
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The method of mastitis treatment or plugged ducts treatment is to take action at the first sign of trouble. Make sure there is no pressure on the affected area. Don’t sleep on your stomach or in a position that puts pressure on your breast. Wear a bra that fits well and isn’t too tight. Underwires can make it worse. If you use a baby carrier or backpack, make sure there is no pressure place near the breasts.
1. Nurse Your Baby
Milk ducts can become inflamed when your breasts are too full of milk. Even when you have developed mastitis, the milk is still safe for your baby. Encourage your baby to feed on the side that’s giving you problems. Find a position that allows milk to easily drain from your breast. Draining milk may be painful, but it will help to relieve the pressure, and, in some cases, it resolves the problem. Even if there is a post-pregnancy discharge coming from the nipple, the milk is still good and needs to flow to bring relief.
2. Apply Heat
Heat can help to relieve the pain and discomfort from a plugged duct. You can use heat compresses after your baby finishes nursing.
3. Take Anti-Inflammatory Medicine
Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory. This will help to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
4. Apply Gentle Pressure or Massage
Massage the area near the plugged duct in a gentle manner. This helps the milk to flow better. You can even do this while your baby is nursing.
How to Treat Mastitis
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Treat mastitis the same way that you do a plugged duct. Applying heat, massaging the breast, nursing your baby, or expressing milk with a breast pump can help. Anti-inflammatory medications also help. Your doctor may instruct you to stop breastfeeding and put you on antibiotics if your case is severe. With advanced cases, he may even make an incision and drain any abscess that has formed. You must also get as much rest as possible because your body is recovering from an infection.
How to Prevent Plugged Ducts and Mastitis
Moms who get mastitis once or more must take a lecithin food supplement. This helps to prevent the condition from returning. Stress is also known to put you at risk so slow down and take it easy. Make sure to nurse your baby with both breasts and try not to favor one side. If one side gets too full and you baby can’t or won’t nurse, use a breast pump to drain out some of the milk.
If you’re weaning your baby, make it a gradual thing, so your breasts don’t get too full. If you do get plugged ducts, take care of them right away, so mastitis doesn’t develop.
If your nipples have cracks or if they’re bleeding keep them clean. Only use clear water on them when you shower. Your breast milk has antiseptic properties to protect the nipples. Put a few drops on each nipple after washing, then use fresh nursing pads. Keep the pads changed to help prevent bacterial infections that can become mastitis.
Looking for a more holistic mastitis treatment? Watch the video below!
Mastitis after pregnancy can be a rough start for motherhood. However, if you experience symptoms, see your doctor right away to see what your mastitis treatment options are. Stay informed on the ailments or complications you may face, and take all the possible steps for prevention. If you have questions about possible complications during or after pregnancy be sure to ask your doctor during your next visit. If you are dealing with mastitis, proper treatment can typically clear up symptoms within 24 hours.
Share your experience with mastitis in the comments section below.