Mastitis is a condition that leads to the inflammation of the breast in breastfeeding women. The disease is common and normally occurs within the first few weeks of breastfeeding. Women with mastitis experience reddening of the breast, breast pain and swelling.
It is advisable that women with mastitis continue breast feeding their babies. Research has it that there are less chances of women with mastitis to harm their babies when breastfeeding.
Signs and symptoms to watch out for
- Breasts start swelling
- Reddening of the skin
- Fever that goes up to 38.3 degrees Celsius or even higher
- A feeling of warmth upon touch
- A burning sensation on the breasts when breastfeeding
Women suffering from mastitis also experience flu-like symptoms during the first few weeks before the breast start showing signs of the disease.
Because mastitis is caused by a bacterium, treatment basically involves the use of antibiotics. It is important that you visit your doctor when you see any of the above mentioned symptoms.
What causes mastitis?
- Breasting feeding using only one side which makes it hard to drain all the milk in the breast
- Breast feeding immediately after child birth
- Sore nipple which result from excessive breastfeeding
- Wearing tight bra which block the ducts, inhibiting the low of milk
- Unhygienic conditions
Why people confuse mastitis with blocked milk duct
Many people confuse blocked milk duct to mastitis because the two conditions have the same symptom. Just like mastitis, you will experience swollen breasts and pain with blocked duct. The skin also reddens and has a burning sensation upon touch. But with mastitis, the symptoms tend to be more severe.
Women with blocked ducts experience more pain when breastfeeding because of the pressure that builds up and it becomes difficult for the milk to actually come out. A large number of women experience blocked milk duct but the condition normally clears between the first and the second day. However, when the blocked milk duct becomes infected by bacteria, it results to mastitis.
Therefore, mastitis may results as a complication of blocked milk duct. It is important that you breastfeed you baby often to clear blocked ducts. You should also massage your breast gently after breast feeding to unblock any ducts that may have clogged with milk.
Mastitis affects a large number of women and although it’s that easy to escape, you can definitely reduce the risk to getting the disease.
How to reduce your chances of getting mastitis
- Ensure that your baby drains all the milk on one breast before moving to the other.
- If the baby is unable to empty both breast, ensure that you start breastfeeding with the one he or she did not empty the next day.
- Make sure that you frequently alternate breasts your baby starts breastfeeding with.
- Ensure that you change positions when breastfeeding
- If you notice any blocked ducts, ensure that you inform your doctor and massage the breast after breastfeeding.
How is mastitis treated?
Mastitis is usually treated with an antibiotic. In cases where the condition has become mild, it may be difficult to treat it. It is important when you experience any swelling or pain in your breast visit your doctor to determine whether its mastitis or blocked duct.
Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic that will help in treating the condition. In many cases, the condition clears a few days after starting the medication. It is also important that you seek medical attention if you don’t see any changes.