WHAT IS MASTITIS?
A suffix of 'itis' means inflammation of the part
to which 'itis' is added. In this case it means inflammation and infection in
the breast of a woman who has recently given birth. It occurs in about 1% of new mothers
and is more likely in women who are breast-feeding.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Symptoms may occur anytime while nursing, but usually
begin 3 to 4 weeks after delivery. Common symptoms include:
- Tender, swollen, hard, hot breast(s).
Infection from bacteria that enter the mother's breast
from the nursing baby's nose or throat. The most-common germs are Staphylococcus-aureus
and beta-hemolytic streptococcus.
MORE COMMON IN
- Abrasion of the nipple.
- Blocked milk ducts from wearing too-tight bras, sleeping
on the stomach or waiting too long between feedings.
HOW TO PREVENT
- Wash nipples before nursing. Wash hands before touching
- Wear a comfortable bra that is not too tight.
- Ask your doctor to recommend a cream, if a nipple cracks
- Observation of symptoms.
- History and examination by a doctor.
Without treatment, may lead to breast abscess.
Usually curable in 10 days with treatment.
- Apply an ice pack (ice in a plastic bag, covered with a
thin towel) to the engorged breast 3 to 6 times a day. Use for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
Don't use ice packs within 1 hour of nursing - use warm compresses instead.
- Wear an uplift bra during treatment.
- Continue to breast-feed, even though breasts are infected.
Offer the affected breast first to promote complete emptying.
- If an abscess develops, stop breast-feeding on the
affected side. Use a breast pump to empty the infected breast regularly, and continue
breast-feeding on the unaffected side.
Your doctor may prescribe:
- Antibiotics to fight infection.
- Pain relievers.
No special diet. Drink extra fluids while you have fever.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY, IF
If the following occurs during treatment:
- Fever spikes to over 101°F (38.3°C).
- You have signs of a developing abscess: a localized area
with increasing redness, pain, tenderness.