Mastitis symptoms

Mastitis is a breast infection that usually occurs during the first few weeks of breast feeding, but may occur at any point while a woman is still nursing. Mastitis is a breast tissue infection that causes swelling, redness and, of course, pain. Mastitis most often affects females that are in the beginning stages of breast-feeding, but in rare cases this condition has occurred while the female is not even in lactation. Among other debilitating symptoms, the infection can make you feel drained and fatigued, making it even hard for you to take care of your child. Many mothers decide to stop breast feeding when they get mastitis for fear of their child being affected by the infection, but it should be known that you can still continue breast-feeding with mastitis without any detrimental effects for your baby.

The symptoms of mastitis usually appear suddenly without warning and might include:

  • Pain and burning while breast-feeding
  • Tenderness/ warm feeling in the breast when touched
  • Feeling ill or fatigued
  • Red skin, sometimes expressed in odd pattern
  • Moderate to high fever

These symptoms can definitely be difficult to deal with especially when you are trying to take care of a young infant. It is advisable that you see a medical professional as soon as possible if you begin experiencing any of these symptoms. Mastitis can become a serious complication if it is not dealt with, and it may lead to even more severe symptoms. Also, the above symptoms may be caused by a number of other illness and ailments that may be even more serious than mastitis. This is why it is important that you seek treatment as soon as you begin experiencing of these symptoms. Do not just assume that you have mastitis and forget about it, as you may have something more serious, and possibly life-threatening wrong with you.

Why Does it Happen?
Mastitis is a bacterial infection that occurs when harmful bacteria infiltrate the breast tissue through a breached area of the nipple skin such as a scratch. The bacteria may also enter the breast tissue through the small holes in your nipple’s milk ducts. Usually the source of this bacteria is the surface of your skin or the mouth of your baby. After this bacteria infiltrates the body, it can multiply, causing redness and localized swelling of the breast and pain as the infection worsens, as well as the other symptoms listed above.

How Can I Avoid It?
To avoid a case of unnecessary mastitis, you should try to practice very good hygiene during breast feeding. Keeping your skin clean and washing your baby’s mouth out with water before breast feeding can make a big difference. Wipe down your breasts with a sanitizing wipe and then wipe your breasts down with a sterile damp cloth to remove the alcohol (you obviously don’t want your child ingesting it). It is crucial that the cloth you use to wipe down your breast is sterile, because if it is not then you are wasting your time. Bacteria thrives in moist and warm conditions, so make sure your breasts are cleaned and then dried after you breast feed as well. Putting your shirt back on while your breasts are damp can provide the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. Also you should make sure there is no food residue in your baby’s mouth before breast feeding. The mouth carries more bacteria then any other area of the human body, so it is no surprise that most breast infections are caused by germs in their baby’s mouth.

If you take the above precautions and keep an eye out for the listed symptoms, you should have minimal problems with mastitis in the future.

Last updated on Jun 8th, 2010 and filed under Women's Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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