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What Is Mastitis? Here Are Certain Signs And Preventive Measures

By Nishkak +2 more


New mothers often get so busy caring for their kids that they ignore their health and well-being. With being a new mother, the body goes through a lot of changes. Lactation is one of those things. The breasts are extremely gentle and sensitive areas in the body that tend to be even more delicate during breastfeeding. Mastitis can occur to anyone but is seen more commonly in breastfeeding mothers (lactation mastitis). 

Mastitis: Meaning

Mastitis is a condition that causes inflammation of breast tissue that sometimes may involve an infection. The inflammation results in breast pain, swelling, warmth and redness. Fevers and chills are also some of the symptoms of Mastitis. 

Mastitis can occur in women who aren’t breastfeeding. Even men may get Mastitis. Lactation mastitis can cause you to feel low, weary and drained, making it difficult to care for your baby. Doctors will prescribe antibiotics which have to be taken regularly. These medications will keep you going and help you get your strength as you feed your baby. 

It is safe to continue breastfeeding if you have mastitis. The milk supply in the affected breast may be reduced for several weeks after mastitis but will return to normal with stimulation from the baby. Breast pain and redness often peak on the 2nd or the 3rd day and return to normal by the 5th day.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj, M.B.B.S., M.D

Mastitis: Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Mastitis can appear suddenly. They may include:

  • Breast tend to be very tender or warm to the touch.
  • Swelling of the breasts and the adjoining area.
  • Thickening of breast tissue, which may cause a breast lump.
  • Pain or a burning sensation continuously or while breast-feeding.
  • Skin redness, often in a wedge-shaped pattern.
  • Generally feeling ill, weary and tired.
  • Fever of 101 F (38.3 C) or greater, if at all.

Worldwide, lactational mastitis occurs in 2%-30% of breastfeeding women. The incidence is the highest in the first three weeks postpartum. The initial management of lactational mastitis is symptomatic treatment. Continuing to fully empty the breasts has shown to decrease the duration of symptoms in patients treated both with and without antibiotics.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

When to see a doctor?

If you notice any symptoms of mastitis, it is best to consult with your doctor without delay and follow the full course of mastitis treatment that is prescribed to you. 

Mastitis: Causes

The main cause of Mastitis is when milk gets trapped in the breasts. Other causes of Mastitis include:

  • A blocked milk duct: If a breast doesn’t empty its milk at feedings, one of your milk ducts can become clogged. The blockage causes milk to accumulate, thus leading to breast infection.
  • Bacteria entering your breast: Bacteria from your own skin’s surface or the baby’s mouth can enter the milk ducts through a crack in the skin of your nipple or milk duct opening. If there is stagnant milk in a breast that has not been emptied, it provides a breeding ground for the bacteria.

What are the risk factors of Mastitis?

Risk factors for mastitis include:

  • Previous any condition of mastitis while breast-feeding.
  • Sore or cracked nipples. However, mastitis can also develop without broken skin.
  • Wearing an ill-fitted bra or putting pressure on your breast when using a seat belt or carrying a heavy bag or any other causes which may restrict milk flow.
  • The improper nursing technique of the baby.
  • Becoming overly tired or stressed.
  • Poor nutrition supply.
  • Smoking

How can you lower the risk of Mastitis?

To avoid complications such as mastitis and having a healthy breastfeeding relationship with your baby, meeting with a lactation consultant at the beginning of your breastfeeding is beneficial. A lactation consultant can give you tips and provide invaluable advice when it comes to having proper breastfeeding techniques.

Some of the preventive measures that can be taken to prevent Mastitis are as follows:

  • the milk from your breasts while breastfeeding by squeezing the last drop, if the baby has not finished already. 
  • Allow your baby to empty one breast before switching to the other breast during feeding.
  • Changing your position and your baby’s when you breastfeed from one feeding to the next.
  • Make sure your baby latches on properly during feedings.
  • If you smoke, ask your doctor about smoking cessation.


Although Mastitis is a common condition that may occur in lactating women, it may be prevented by following your doctor’s advice. If conditions worsen, visit your doctor and ask for medications that will give you relief. 

Also Read: Can Men Lactate? Unveiling the Surprising Biological Possibilities

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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