Mastitis is the inflammation of the breasts that leads to an infection. This condition is usually found in women who are breast-feeding. The area shows redness, soreness, hardness and you can also feel heat from your breast and swelling of the affected milk duct. The condition can leave the feeding mother feeling tired and low. The condition is usually seen to occur in the first few weeks of breast-feeding. At times, it can also occur when you stop breast-feeding, which results to the breasts becoming enlarged with milk.
However, mastitis can also occur in some women who are not breast-feeding. The milk ducts get affected by bacteria that cause infection. This usually occurs through a cracked nipple or soreness in the nipple. The bacteria can multiply in the fatty tissue of the breast that surrounds the milk ducts that can cause swelling, pain or warmth. The swelling can result to blockage of the milk ducts. In women who are going through menopause, the milk ducts below the nipple become inflamed and the milk ducts get clogged with dead skin cells and debris.
The symptoms of mastitis include the breast becoming sore, red, swollen and shiny and the nipples could also produce pus. Other general symptoms would include high fever, muscle aches, shivers, nausea and vomiting. There is also a form of cancer called inflammatory carcinoma that can result to mastitis. With the enlargement of the breast, the mastitis becomes worse because the milk ducts are unable to empty properly at the time of the feed and they become lumpy and sore. The superficial ducts appear hard on the surface of the breast. In some cases both breasts might get infected.
For treating mastitis, usually antibiotic medications are the best. It is always advisable to continue breastfeeding even when undergoing treatment for mastitis, as it will relieve the breast enlargement. The milk is perfectly safe for the infant, and every time that you breastfeed some part of the infection gets eliminated. Usually, the course of treatment continues for 10-14 days so as to treat the infection. The doctor might also recommend that the patient be put on medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen to be able to treat the local discomfort and also the fever.
In case the mastitis occurs because of the infant having a poor latch on then the breasts can be expressed to remove the milk, so that the fullness of the breast is reduced. The expressed milk can be frozen and used later on. Also, keeping your mind and body stress free and taking ample rest can make the healing process quicker. You should be in bed with the baby as it will be easy for you to feed and you can also feed the baby whenever there is a need to. It is very important to maintain a fluid balance in the body by consuming a lot of liquids. Women suffering from mastitis should have almost 12 cups (8 ounces) of water and other fluids on a daily basis. Also, avoiding caffeine can be a good move to quicken the healing process.