General Illness Information
Medical Term: None Specified
Infection of breast tissue, occurring most often during nursing. The infected area becomes filled with pus.
Bacteria that enter the breast through the nipple (usually a cracked nipple during the early days of breast-feeding).
- Clean the nipples and breasts thoroughly before and after nursing.
- Lubricate the nipples after nursing with lanolin or Vitamin A & D ointment.
- Avoid clothing that irritates the breasts.
- Don’t allow a nursing infant to chew nipples.
Signs & Symptoms
- Breast pain, tenderness, redness or hardness, swelling.
- Fever and chills.
- A generally feeling unwell.
- Tender lymph glands in the underarm area.
- Postpartum pelvic infection.
- Diabetes mellitus.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Use of steroid medications, low immunity states.
- Heavy cigarette smoking.
- Lumpectomy with radiation.
- Silicone implants.
Diagnosis & Treatment
- Use warm-water (or cold water if it is more comforting) soaks to relieve pain and hasten healing.
- Discontinue nursing the baby from the infected breast until it heals. Use a breast pump to express milk regularly from the infected breast until you can resume nursing on that side.
- Surgery to drain the abscess (infrequent).
- Antibiotics to fight infection.
- Pain relievers.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
After treatment, resume normal activity as soon as symptoms improve.
No special diet.
It may be necessary to discontinue breast-feeding temporarily, if the infection is severe enough to require extensive treatment with certain antibiotics (especially tetracycline) and pain relievers.
Usually curable in 8 to 10 days with treatment. Draining the abscess is occasionally necessary to hasten healing.