Mastitis: Causes and Treatment


In my previous piece last week where I wrote about one of the challenges woman faces in relating to their health. Today, we will be looking at Mastitis another challenges of women’s health; this affects the organ responsible for providing the essentials in starting life (which is the breast). Every child must be breast fed except if unfortunately the baby losses his or her mother after birth.

As we celebrate the world cancer day, this is a prompter to encourage adequate care and checkup for the breast as there has been an increase in the prevalence of breast cancer in the world today. Early detection will go a long way to save your life.y

What is Mastitis?

It is a condition of inflammation in one or both breast leading to development of severe pains. It is also called lactation pains.

How does mastitis occur?

This condition occurs as a result of an inflammation in the mammary glands (inside the breast) affecting mostly the lactating mothers. It is caused by an infection or blocked milk duct.

Mastitis can occur in two ways;

  1. Non-infectious mastitis is common in both breasting and women not breast feeding. This occur as a result of blockage in the milk duct hindering the flow of milk out of the breast, and as milk stays long in the breast duct, bacterial infection develops.
  2. Infectious mastitis is caused by development of abscesses on the breast which directly produce bacterial infection or a direct fungi infection on the breast surface. These organisms can easily enter the breast through the ducts.

Signs and symptoms of mastitis

  • Burning sensation in the breast
  • Redness of the breast especially the affected area
  • Localized tenderness and severe pains at the site of infection
  • Chills
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Peeling of the breast surface
  • Feeling of malaise
  • Secretion of pus-like substance

Why it happen in women

  1. Blockage caused by tight clothing
  2. When the baby does not suck well
  3. When your baby is not breast fed frequently
  4. Yeast infection
  5. Mastitis can also occur by autoimmune response; cytokines are proteins in breast milk delivered to the baby, but the mother’s immune system might mistakenly attack the breast milk identifying the cytokines as bacteria, virus or any foreign substance to stop the production of the substance.

Cancer and Mastitis

Cancer and mastitis might have few similar symptoms but are different in mode of exposure; therefore a biopsy must be carried out for differentiating in diagnosis. But the gospel truth is that routine checkups should be carried out on the breast.

Complications of mastitis

The infection could cause swelling of the arm and surrounding organs. Another complication is when a child is feed with a breast suffering from mastitis can cause runny stool and restlessness.

Treatment of mastitis

Mastitis is managed by initially doing the following;

  1. Avoid resting on the affected breast.
  2. Rinse the breast regularly with freshly prepared Epsom salt in water.
  3. Loosen the bra and any constrictive clothing that can reduce milk flow.
  4. Express milk and thoroughly (either with a breast pump or the hand).
  5. Also apply general massage on the breast.
  6. Use cold compresses between feeding for pains and inflammation.

Clinical intervention: visit your doctor or pharmacist to carry out regular test like biopsy to rule out cancer and prescription of the antibiotics and analgesic for proper recovery.

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Enjoy the rest of the week.


  1. Christian Nordqvist, Mastitis; Medical Needs Today (MNT)
  1. Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC, Plugged ducts and mastistis;


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