What is it?
Mastitis is a condition which causes a womans breast tissue to become painful and inflamed. Its most common in breastfeeding women, usually within the first three months after giving birth.
If mastitis is caused by breastfeeding, doctors may refer to it as lactation mastitis or puerperal mastitis. Non-breastfeeding women often have a type called periductal mastitis.
What are the symptoms?
With mastitis, signs and symptoms can appear suddenly and may include:
- Breast tenderness or warmth to the touch
- Generally feeling ill (malaise)
- Breast swelling
- Pain or a burning sensation continuously or while breast-feeding
- Skin redness, often in a wedge-shaped pattern
- Fever of 101 F (38.3 C) or greater
Although mastitis usually occurs in the first several weeks of breastfeeding, it can happen anytime during breast-feeding. Lactation mastitis tends to affect only one breast.
- The inflammation, swelling and pain can be greatly reduced by applying warm and cold compresses. Warmth helps to improve blood flow in the area and also aids in milk flow. Cold compresses help to soothe the discomfort.
- Massaging the affected breast is also an excellent way to unblock the ducts and relieve swelling.
- Drink plenty of water in order to flush out the infection from the body.
Things to watch out for
GP should be contacted immeditately as mastitis could lead to a painful collection of pus in your breast.