What Is Mastitis?

Mastitis is a condition that occurs mostly in lactating mothers when their milk ducts are clogged in some form or another. There are several different factors that can lead to a woman getting mastitis, and in some cases it can’t be fully avoided due to certain biological traits inherent in the mother. One thing that is certain is that mastitis is an extremely painful ailment that is a curse for mothers. Imagine having going through the pain of child birth and just a few weeks later mastitis occurs, it’s like a curse that comes around to remind a mother of pain.

There are a few different approaches to mastitis treatment which may differ due to the severity of the condition and the underlying causes. Some treatments will be effective while others will only cause more pain and anguish, choosing the right treatment of mastitis is differs from woman to woman as there is no surefire way of solving the problem. To properly treat the condition it is necessary to have a good understand the condition.

What are the Symptoms of Mastitis?

  • When women are afflicted with mastitis there are several different symptoms to look out for, these include:
  • Discomfort or pain on the breast
  • Reddening of the breast which feels warm and tender to the touch
  • A lump in the breast
  • Aching joints
  • Flu like symptoms including a fever and chills
  • Enlargement of one of the sides of the breast
  • Discharge of pus and strange sensations in the nipple

While mastitis often occurs in only one breast at a time it can, in rare cases, occur simultaneously occur in both breasts. By being able to identify these symptoms a nursing mother can properly administer the correct form of mastitis treatment.

What causes Mastitis?

Quite Simply mastitis is the swelling of the breast due a blockage in the milk ducts. Mastitis usually happens to nursing mothers who incorrectly breast feed their babies or have a hectic feeding schedule. Most mastitis occurs due to an excess of milk being left in the milk ducts due to insufficient consumption of the milk the mother should be providing the child.

Rapidly weaning a baby can cause mastitis because the body still has a high output of milk and all of a sudden it is allowed to stagnate in the breast. In some cases a blockage will allow the milk within the breast to reach such a level that the milk starts to seep into the surrounding breast tissue. This then triggers an auto-immune response and the mother’s body starts making antibodies which proceed to attack the milk proteins treating them like foreign protein. This is where the pus build up can come from and can occur in severe cases.

Aside from not properly draining the milk from a breast, there are also behavioral factors that can trigger mastitis. For instance, the wearing of tight fitting clothing for a mother can cause the breast milk to reach high pressure which can trigger the condition. The wearing of tight bras, and bras with under wires are some of the leading reasons nursing mothers get mastitis.

Also physical and mental stress can aggravate the situation and exacerbate the condition.
In some cases none of the above are the causes of the condition. In some cases where the mother has a weak immune system, viral or bacterial infections may cause the inflammation of the breast. These infections can be acquired from sick family members with flu symptoms or can come directly from the environment. Infections usually lead not only to clogged milk ducts, they can lead to a build up that eventually becomes an abscess on the breast.

How to Administer Mastitis Treatment

The treatment of mastitis can at times be painful, but these are necessary and after doing so mothers will be much more relieved. One thing that needs to be done before doing any home treatment of mastitis is to consult a doctor about the condition. The fact that the many of mastitis’ symptoms can be similar to breast cancer should prompt women to get checked to make sure that they do not have breast cancer and not mastitis.

In less severe cases of mastitis the mother can clear the blockage by allowing the nursing baby to feed from the afflicted nipple first. A baby feeds much more vigorously at the beginning of the feeding, this extra suction may be enough to clear minor blockages. A mother should only do this if it does not cause unbearable amounts of pain. This should only be done if the mastitis is rather minor and does not involve the issuance of pus. If pus is observed it is highly recommended that a mother not breastfeed their child to clear the blockage.

Another home remedy mastitis treatment involves a nice hot shower. While in the shower a mother suffering from mastitis should use the shower head to heat the afflicted breast. It is best to get the water as hot as possible while still being within a comfortable range. While hitting the afflicted breast with the hot water the mother should massage the breast in a downward motion. By doing this the blockage may be dislodged and the offending mass will come out of the breast. This can be anything from pus to crusty milk or even stringy milk. After the blockage has been cleared the mother will feel worlds better.

Preventive Measures

Instead of treating mastitis it is best to make active decisions to treat it in a pre emptivefashion Mastitis treatment is often painful which is why stopping the problem before it occurs is the best solution.Mothers should avoid wearing tight clothing when lactating. Restrictive clothing including underwire bras or any bras that she wore before pregnancy should be completely avoided to ward off mastitis.

Aside from wardrobe selection, mothers should breast feed often and correctly. This is one of the most effective pre emptive mastitis treatment strategies. When a mother is breast feeding a baby it is ideal to only allow the baby to feed from only one breast per feeding to properly drain the milk. The buildup of “stagnant” milk raises the risk of mastitis.

One of the aggravating conditions of mastitis is stress, and the lack of rest. Getting good rest and stress relief are great ways of warding off mastitis.

Mastitis often occurs when a mother is weaning their baby and their body still continues to create milk which tends to build up. When weaning a baby it is also important to do it in a gradual manner, this works to the benefit of both mother and child. Weaning drastically and quickly can cause mastitis in the mother and without the child breast feeding the blockage will not be cleared. For some women who produce a lot of milk, it is best to use a breast pump while weaning to get the excess milk out that the baby will not consume. This must also be done in a gradual fashion as continuing to remove milk from the breast will trigger the mother’s body to continue producing milk.

Mastitis treatment can be painful at times, which is why the best treatment is to avoid it all together.

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