Mastitis : Learn About Causes, Prevention And Treatment


Mastitis is an infection-related breast tissue inflammation that can occur. Pain, swelling, warmth, and redness in the breasts are symptoms of inflammation. Also possible are fever and chills.

Women who are breastfeeding are most typically affected by mastitis (lactation mastitis). Yet, men and women who are not nursing are also susceptible to mastitis.

You could feel exhausted from lactation mastitis, which makes it challenging to care for your child. Mastitis might occasionally force a woman to wean her child earlier than she had planned. Nonetheless, it is best for you and your baby if you continue breastfeeding even while taking an antibiotic to treat mastitis.


Mastitis is mostly brought on by milk that has been stuck in the breast. Other factors include:

Milk duct that is obstructed. One of your milk ducts may be blocked if a breast does not drain entirely during feedings. Milk backs up because of the obstruction, which can infect the breast.

Invading your breast with bacteria. Via a nipple crack or a milk duct hole, bacteria from your skin's surface and the baby's mouth can get into the milk ducts. Breast milk that has stalled and is not expelled allows germs to grow.

Breastfeeding mothers frequently have mastitis because it might result from a milk buildup.

Mastitis can affect both male and non-breastfeeding women. This is possible because of:

  • Smoking - Toxins in cigarettes can harm the nipple and cause skin conditions like eczema or piercings as well as damage to the breast tissue.
  • Shaving or plucking the hair around your nipples
  • Having a weakened immune system because of a medical condition like diabetes

How to check if you have Mastitis?

If you experience breast symptoms that worry you, consult a doctor.

Mastitis often affects only 1 breast, and symptoms might appear suddenly. They consist of:

  • A breast area that is swollen and could feel hot to the touch. It could be harder to see the redness if you have darker skin.
  • A breast bulge that resembles a wedge or a rough spot on your breast
  • A searing breast ache that may be persistent or only present during breastfeeding nipple discharge that may be white or contain blood streaks
  • Moreover, you can experience flu-like symptoms such as pains, fever, chills, and fatigue.

Risk Factors

Among the mastitis risk factors are:

  • Prior mastitis episode while nursing
  • Even though mastitis can occur without skin breaks, sore or cracked nipples
  • Placing pressure on your breast when using a seat belt, carrying a large bag, or wearing a tight-fitting bra, which might prevent milk from flowing.
  • Incorrect nursing practise
  • Becoming too exhausted or stressed
  • Unsound nutrition
  • Smoking


Mastitis symptoms and signs might strike abruptly. They may consist of:

  • Breast sensitivity to touch or tenderness
  • Breast enlargement
  • Breast tissue thickening or a breast lump
  • When breastfeeding, you experience ongoing pain or a burning feeling
  • Redness of the skin, frequently in a wedge pattern
  • Feeling generally unwell
  • 101 F (38.3 C) or higher fever


Consider consulting a lactation consultant to help you and your baby start breastfeeding successfully and help you prevent problems like mastitis. You can get pointers and important guidance for optimal breastfeeding procedures from a lactation consultant.

By using the following advice, you can reduce your risk of developing mastitis:

  • When breastfeeding, completely drain the milk from your breasts.
  • Before moving to the second breast during a feeding, let your infant finish emptying the first breast entirely.
  • From one feeding to the next, switch up your breastfeeding position.
  • During feedings, watch that your baby latches on properly.
  • Ask your doctor about quitting smoking if you smoke.


Treatment options for mastitis include:

Antibiotics. Antibiotics are often prescribed for a 10-day treatment if you have an infection. To reduce the risk of recurrence, it is crucial to take all of the prescribed medicine. See your doctor again if your mastitis does not go away after taking antibiotics.

Drugs that reduce pain. A prescription painkiller such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, among others) or ibuprofen may be suggested by your doctor (Advil, Motrin IB, among others).

If you have mastitis, you can still breastfeed without risk. In fact, breastfeeding aids in the infection's healing. Your indications and symptoms are likely to get worse if you quickly wean your infant.

Your doctor might suggest that you seek assistance and continuing support from a lactation consultant. The following are some tips for modifying your breastfeeding techniques:

  • Avoid chronic breast overfilling before breastfeeding, and drink milk.
  • Attempting to make sure your baby latches on properly, can be challenging if your breast is engorged. Before breastfeeding, you might find it helpful to manually express a tiny amount of milk.
  • During breastfeeding or pumping, massage the breast from the afflicted region down towards the nipple.
  • Ensuring that your breasts completely discharge when breastfeeding. Apply warm, moist heat to the breast before breastfeeding or pumping milk if you are having problems emptying a portion of it.
  • Breastfeed your baby on the side that is afflicted initially, when they are more hungry and sucking more forcefully.
  • Vary the positions in which you breastfeed.
  • Typically, a doctor will recommend antibiotics.
  • A very little quantity of the antibiotic may enter your breast milk if you are nursing. Your infant is not at risk, but it could irritate and make them restless.

How to proceed if mastitis reappears

Mastitis that persists when you are nursing may be brought on by issues with positioning and attaching.

It is crucial to get assistance from a midwife, health visitor, or breastfeeding professional as soon as you have any nursing difficulties.

To make you feel better:

  • Before breastfeeding, try not to load your breasts with milk for an extended period of time.
  • After breastfeeding, use cold compresses or ice packs on your breast.
  • Wear a bra with support.
  • Get as much rest as you can.

Complications of Mastitis

Abscesses (collections of pus) can form in your breast as a result of untreated mastitis or mastitis brought on by a clogged duct. Surgery is typically required to drain an abscess.

As soon as you experience mastitis symptoms or indications, consult your doctor to prevent this problem.

For further information please access the following resources:

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Front Desk : +91 98018 79584

Page last reviewed: Mar 22, 2023

Next review due: Mar 22, 2025

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