What is mastitis? How Is Mastitis Treated?

You’re finally ready to breastfeed your baby. But what is that? While breastfeeding her baby, there is pain and redness in her breasts, cracks and sores on the nipple hurt her badly. Let us introduce you to the disease called mastitis.

What is mastitis?

mastitis; Inflammation of the breast tissue due to infections or blockages. It usually occurs in nursing mothers or newly weaned women.

What are the symptoms of mastitis?

  • Redness, pain and tenderness in the breast,
  • A mass in the hand when touching the breast,
  • Abnormal discharge from the nipple
  • Fire,
  • Swelling in the armpits,
  • Unusual warmth in one area of ​​the breast
  • Hardness of the breast after breastfeeding,
  • Weakness.

What causes mastitis?

One of the causes of mastitis is infections caused by bacteria. Bacteria entering through cracks in the nipple during breastfeeding can cause infection. The bacteria that cause the infection are usually Staphylococcus aerus or, rarely, from the streptococcus family.

The other is congestion caused by the accumulation of excess milk in the breasts. If the breasts are not emptied when they are full (whether sucking or milking), chest duct obstruction occurs, and if chest duct obstruction is not treated, mastitis occurs.

Therefore, mastitis is an inflammation of the breast that is mostly seen in the puerperium. The types of mastitis differ, but the type called milk (lactation) mastitis and abscess is the type of mastitis seen in the puerperal period.

  • Mastitis is seen in 1-4% of postpartum women in the first weeks after birth. It is very rare for the breast to be inflamed due to bacteria, except during the postpartum period.
  • Sudden weaning or irregular breastfeeding are also among the causes of mastitis in the breast.
  • Other causes of mastitis include wearing tight clothes, difficulty in breastfeeding due to sores and cracks in the nipples, and the baby’s inability to grasp the breast correctly.

How is mastitis treated?

First of all, if;

  • If your fever exceeds 38.4°C,
  • If mastitis symptoms persist even after 24 hours, even though you are trying to prevent milk accumulation in the breast,
  • If there is inflammation or blood in your milk,
  • If red lines occur on the breast,
  • If you have flu-like symptoms, you should definitely go to the doctor. Your doctor will begin the appropriate mastitis treatment. If mastitis is not treated, your problems may increase, the inflammation may spread throughout the body and form masses in the breast. So you shouldn’t waste your time.

Your doctor should also tell you whether you need to use antibiotics for mastitis and what medications you can take. Do not take antibiotics and any mastitis medicine that you think will work for you.

Let’s talk a little bit about what is good for mastitis apart from doctor treatment.

  • Be sure to continue breastfeeding. Sudden cessation of breastfeeding exacerbates the problems.
  • We said that you may feel warmth in your breast because of inflammation. To overcome this problem, you can make a cold compress. A towel soaked in warm water may also be good.
  • Mastite cabbage leaf is said to be good. You can wrap the cabbage leaves that have been soaked in cold water around their breasts, and change them as the leaf warms up.
  • Taking a shower with warm water during the day can help your breasts relax.
  • Painkillers recommended by your doctor can relieve the pain.
  • You can use a supportive but not too tight bra.
  • By drinking plenty of water, you can get the infection out of your body faster.

What should you do to avoid mastitis?

“I keep getting mastitis!” mothers are looking for a solution. Let’s repeat this; Breast pain and stiffness are very common in breastfeeding mothers. Let’s see what to do for mastitis in order to prevent this situation from continuing and turning into a disease;

  • Feed your baby from both breasts frequently, every 2-3 hours, including at night. In this way, you can prevent the accumulation of milk in the breast.
  • Express your milk even when you are not breastfeeding.
  • Put a hot water bag on the problem area on your breast, make a warm compress. “What good is mastitis?” For the answer to the question, hot compress is among the first ones we will count.
  • Massage your baby from the nipple to the chest wall before and after breastfeeding to open the milk ducts.
  • Make sure you get more rest.
  • Drink 2 liters of water a day.

> If you do not apply these substances, you may not be able to end your mastitis or cause it to recur. The reason for the mastitis problem that does not go away is due to not realizing these recommendations and the incomplete treatment.

Can you breastfeed your baby in case of mastitis?

The most curious question of mothers in this situation is “Can I breastfeed from the breast with mastitis?” is happening. Yes. It hurts a lot while breastfeeding during mastitis, but you need to empty the milk ducts to heal. Of course, the baby has to be fed. You should continue to breastfeed your baby to prevent milk knotting and cessation.

Mastitis usually occurs in one breast. Because of the inflammation, the milk coming from this breast is a little salty. That’s why your baby may not want to suckle. This causes the breast to not empty. In this case, you can empty your breast with the milking machine and give your milk to your baby with a bottle. As long as it is treated, the salt content of the breast generally decreases within a week in mastitis.

In short, not breastfeeding while having mastitis, on the contrary, increases the disease more; because that milk needs to be emptied. Use the breast pump whenever you have to. Try getting your baby to suckle first.

By the way, when there is mastitis, there is no risk for the health of the baby to breastfeed.

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