Inflammation of the breasts is known as mastitis. This pathology is usually related to the breastfeeding period and can affect one or both breasts.
It usually happens due to obstruction of the milk ducts. However, on occasion, its cause is bacterial contamination from a crack in the nipple or congestion in the mammary glands. It is one of the most common problems during the breastfeeding period, in fact, it statistically affects about 5% of mothers. Sometimes its cause is due to the baby’s incorrect way of breastfeeding.
Types of mastitis
This pathology can lead to an infection, but this does not mean that all mastitis is infectious. In this sense, non-infectious mastitis occurs when the breast is not completely empty of milk, this produces an increase in pressure in the breast alveoli, causing an inflammation in the breast. This circumstance is caused by the compression performed by the fingers when holding the breast to express the milk or by wearing a bra that is too tight, preventing the flow of milk and causing a painful lump.
Infectious-type mastitis means an infection of the glandular mammary ducts and its cause is bacteria found in the skin. This type of illness causes fever, malaise, swelling in the chest, redness and some pain.
In most cases, symptoms disappear with a gentle massage over the affected area towards the nipple (this way the milk is pushed towards the nipple) or by applying warm compresses.
When these symptoms appear it is necessary to visit a specialist, as mastitis can lead to a cyst or abscess , which could potentially infect the baby. For this reason, the first step is to stop the infection. During the treatment of the infectious process , breastfeeding is suspended, but once the infection is overcome, it should return to normal. In fact, it is common for medications against infection to be compatible with breastfeeding.
Doctors recommend feeding babies frequently and expressing milk regularly to prevent engorgement.
It should be taken into account that adequate breastfeeding is the best way to prevent mastitis. The gynecologist is the specialist who gives the correct diagnosis of this disease.