Breast Infections and Inflammations

Breast Infections and Inflammations

What is lactational mastitis?


Illustration of breastfeeding, latch-on

The most common type of breast
infection is lactational mastitis. This happens when a woman is breastfeeding. The
nipples become cracked and sore. This allows bacteria from the baby’s mouth to enter
the
ducts and rapidly multiply in the milk. Sometimes an infection also occurs because
of a
blocked milk duct. In both cases, the breast becomes hard, reddened, hot, and
painful.

Treatment for lactational mastitis

Treatment will depend on your
symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition
is.

Your healthcare provider may
suggest trying to unblock the duct with warm compresses and massage. They may also
prescribe antibiotics and an analgesic for pain. Your provider will advise completely
emptying the breast of milk regularly. Emptying the breast completely will also help
prevent lactational mastitis. In some cases, lactational mastitis progresses and forms
a
pus-filled infection (abscess). This is a more serious condition that may require
drainage.