27 C
Lagos
Saturday, October 31, 2020

Mastitis – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

- Advertisement -

Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed our babies. Mothers are encouraged to engage in exclusive breastfeeding for their babies because breast milk contains all the essential nutrients a baby needs to grow strong and healthy. 

- Advertisement -

Not only is breastfeeding the cheapest form of infant feeding, it is also a beautiful way for a mother and her child to bond.

However, this experience may be a very painful one for some mothers causing them to avoid breastfeeding completely. The breast is made up of various glands and ducts that grow during puberty to form an obvious pair of protruding flesh on a woman’s chest.

The mammary glands are responsible for milk production and are connected to the breast surface by the lactiferous duct or milk duct.

What Is Mastitis?

Mastitis is a breast infection that causes painful inflammation of the breast tissues. It mostly occurs during the first three months of breast feeding, but it can also occur after breast feeding, after menopause, and on rare occasions in men.

Mastitis affect only one breast at a time, only on rare occasions have there been reports of pains in the second breast. Mastitis requires no tests for diagnosis except in cases where the patient is not a breastfeeding mother, or the patent is a man.

What Are the Possible Causes of Mastitis?

Mastitis is caused by entry of bacteria into the milk duct through an injury or skin breakage in the nipple. This can happen when bacteria from the child’s mouth or when any of the bacteria commonly found in the skin gets into the nipples through the skin breakage and multiplies itself.

Other causes include taking long intervals between breast feeding sessions, skipping breast feeding sessions, allowing the breasts to become too full of breast milk, the baby sucking only one breast and hardly sucking the other, incomplete emptying of the milk ducts which leads to clogging.

Putting on tight clothing and poorly fitting bra are also possible causes as they cause irritation and disrupt blood flow in the breasts. Because breast milk contains a large amount of anti-bacteria, mothers with mastitis need not worry about passing the infection to their children during breastfeeding.

For non-breastfeeding women mastitis can be caused by introducing foreign objects to the breast tissues.

- Advertisement -

Things like contaminated or infected breast implants, piercings, and tattoos can lead to mastitis and will have to be removed in such cases. Staphylococcus aureus is the bacterium most often responsible for mastitis.

Who Is Vulnerable to Mastitis Infection?

Asides lactating mothers, smokers, non-lactating women and people with weak immune system can have mastitis. This kind of mastitis is called periductal mastitis.

Women who are aging can also be victims of mastitis as the milk ducts begin to shorten and widen with the aging of the breasts. This shortening and widening process is called duct estacia.

Females between the ages of 18 to 45 who smoke are susceptible to mastitis. Although the reason why this happens has not been ascertained, it is however assumed that there are toxins in tobacco that provide a favourable environment for bacteria growth when combined with the blood vessel constriction produced by nicotine.

Symptoms of mastitis

The symptoms of mastitis could mimic your regular flu.  Typical mastitis symptoms include pains in the breasts, cold, tiredness, a higher than normal body temperature like that of a fever.

Other symptoms are itchiness and redness, breast tenderness and sensitivity, lumps in breast, hotness in breast tissues, a change in the colour of breast milk from white to a watery almost teal colour, and puss discharge from nipples.

Mothers are encouraged to continue breast feeding when they have mastitis as it is still safe to breast feed except when they notice a discharge of pus.  However, lactatic mothers living with the HIV virus are at a high risk of passing the virus to their suckling babies if they breastfeed while they have mastitis.

How to Treat Mastitis?

Doctors usually prescribe antibiotics for treatment of mastitis but only in cases of periductal mastitis. The use of antibiotics by lactating mothers to treat mastitis is usually discouraged because of the baby but there are other ways mastitis can be treated at home.

Massage

When you feel a mole or painful lump in your breast it is best to start massaging it immediately because it most likely is a lump of milk clogging a milk duct/ massaging usually is painful, but it is better to endure the pain of massaging one lump and clearing it out of the clogged spot than having many lumps cause you more pain.

Treat Sore Nipple

Immediately you notice a breakage or sore in your nipple, you should treat at once without hesitation to prevent an infection. Breast milk itself is a good treatment for such sores.

- Advertisement -

Take Supplements

Taking supplements to boost your immune system is not a curative but a preventive measure against mastitis. These supplements are meant to help your body build strong defences against a wide range of infections

Eat Fruits

Fruits like papaya, guava and oranges are rich in vitamin C and probiotics that will help boost your immune system just like supplements.

Breastfeed as Often as Possible

Breastfeed your baby at the slightest chance you get. This will help you drain your breasts and prevent clogging of your milk ducts.

Feed with Both Breasts Equally

While it is humanly impossible to comfortably feed a child with both breasts at the same time, it is however, possible to alternate breasts each time you feed your child so that one breast doesn’t suffer neglect and become too full.

If you breastfeed with your right breast now, breastfeed with your left breast the next time you feed your baby

Pump Your Breasts

You can pump out excess breast milk from your breast by using a hand or electric pump to expel excess liquid and unclog your milk ducts.

Apply Heat

Take a hot bath or simply soak a face towel in hot tap water and press against your breasts. Heat aids the flow of blood around your breads and also helps your breast milk flow more freely by melting lumps of milk clogging your milk ducts.

Avoid Tight Things

This is very important. Avoid wearing tight bras and clothing that put any form of pressure on your breasts.

IF you notice any form of smell in the discharge from your breasts you are advised to see your doctor for proper attention.

Disclaimer: This article is purely informative & educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.
- Advertisement -

Trending Now

12 Most Dangerous Cancer Causing Products in Your Home Today

The dozen products you will see on the list below are considered carcinogenic. You might be surprised to learn that some of these common...
- Advertisement -

Skin Rashes: Causes, Symptoms and Effective Home Remedies

Skin rashes are common skin problems experienced by millions of people worldwide; it is characterized by a visible change in the color...

Stressed For Your Exams? Try Out These Snacks to Secure Top Grades

Do you remember that age old saying which goes something like this – As you sow, so shall you reap! The meaning of this...

7 Types of Disability and Examples

For disabled people life is a lot different than the rest of us. They don’t lead normal lives like we do and need assistance...

How to Increase Sodium Levels in Your Blood?

Levels of sodium in the blood is often a misunderstood topic and it is extremely necessary that we as individuals understand the meaning and...

What Needs to Be Done About Your Ovarian Cyst?

Life can throw you many curveballs and you need to be ready to combat the problems you face. When you’re feeling sick...

8 Ways to Remove Dandruff Without Washing Hair

There are about 50 million Americans are diagnosed with dandruff which is an alert problem. Dandruff not only cause damage to your...

Oral Surgery Recovery – What Foods to Eat

Had oral surgery? Then it’s very hard to have foods while in recovery. An oral surgery makes you feel weak and nauseous. So it’s...

Edward Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Edward syndrome is also known as Trisomy 18. It is the second most common trisomy behind trisomy 21 which is the Down Syndrome. It is...

Friends

Newsletter

Nurture yourself with health tips, wellness advice, and more.

- Advertisement -

Related Posts

5 Different Chiropractic Treatments That Reinvigorate

Chiropractic is a discipline that focuses on the diagnosis of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine and the treatment associated with...

Benefits of Milk Thistle

Milk thistle also referred to as Mary thistle or holy thistle, is utilized as a natural remedy for treating a range of...

Bell’s Palsy: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

If you have never heard about bell’s palsy before now, then you must know that you are not alone. Bell's palsy is...

How Seniors Can Be Safer at Home?

There really is no place like home – and it might sometimes seem as if there can be no safer place either. However, for...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.