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Mastitis

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by Alan R

(Breast Infection)

 

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. If the diagnosis is uncertain, or if mastitis recurs, your doctor may do a:
In some cases, your doctor may want to look for other conditions that may cause similar symptoms. In these situations, other tests may be performed such as a:
 

Treatment

Treatment may include:

Methods to Clear Blocked Breast Ducts

Relieving the blockage in the milk duct is an effective way to decrease the pain and swelling. To clear blocked breast ducts try:
  • Breastfeeding frequently—Breastfeeding with mastitis is not harmful to the baby. Talk to your doctor if you are also taking medications though, to make sure the medications are not harmful to your baby.
  • Offering the baby the inflamed breast first to promote complete emptying of infected breast
  • Using a breast pump to express milk
  • Applying warm compresses to breasts prior to feeding to stimulate milk ejection reflex

Pain Relief

To reduce pain and swelling in the breast:
  • Apply ice compresses to the affected area of your breast after breastfeeding.
  • Consider using over-the-counter pain relievers as recommended by your doctor.
  • Be sure to ask your doctor what pain relievers are safe for you and your baby. Taking aspirin is not advised during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
  • Drink lots of fluids.
  • Get plenty of rest.

Medication

Antibiotics may be used to treat the infection. They may help cure the infection or reduce the risk of more serious but rare complications such as blood infection. If you are breastfeeding, talk to your doctor about which antibiotics are best for you to take so you can continue to breastfeed.
If mastitis does not respond to antibiotics, a localized collection of pus called an abscess might be present. This is usually treated with other antibiotics and a drainage procedure or surgery.
If you are diagnosed with mastitis, follow your doctor's instructions .
If you are diagnosed with mastitis, follow your doctor's instructions .
 

RESOURCES

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
http://www.acog.org

US Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health
http://www.womenshealth.gov

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Women's Health Matters
http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca

 

References


Amir L. Breastfeeding and Staphylococcus aureus : three case reports. Breastfeed Rev . 2002;10:15-18.


Barbosa-Cesnik C, Schwartz K, et al. Lactation mastitis. JAMA . 2003;289:1609-1612.


Laibl VR, Sheffield JS, et al. Clinical presentation of community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol . 2005;106:461-465.


Mastitis. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/mastitis.html . Updated February 2011. Accessed July 22, 2013.


Masitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated May 1, 2013. Accessed July 22, 2013.


Spencer J. Management of mastitis in breastfeeding women. Am Fam Physician . 2008;78(6):727-731.

 

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