Mastitis refers to the inflammation of the breast tissue. With pain as one of the typical chief complaints of a person with this condition, interference to the activities of daily living is likely. The following are the causes, signs and symptoms, and home remedies for mastitis.
Mastitis has two causes, according to Mayo Clinic. As per the publication, they include a blocked milk duct and bacteria. Milk duct blockage results to inadequate emptying of the breast after feeding. The milk back up and results to breast infection. Then, bacteria comes from the breast skin surface and the baby’s mouth during breastfeeding. The break in the skin of the nipple allows entry of microorganisms that cause the infection. Also, stagnant milk due to poor breast emptying serves as a breeding place for the bacteria. Meanwhile, the breast milk contains antibacterials, which protects the baby from infection.
Signs and Symptoms
Mastitis presents a number of symptoms. According to Mayo Clinic, these include breast tenderness or warmth, breast swelling, pain or burning sensation during breastfeeding, skin redness (usually in a wedge-shaped pattern, body malaise or weakness, and fever. As per the publication, the combination of flu-like symptoms, as well as redness and tenderness of the breast should prompt medical consult with the doctor.
Mastitis treatment usually includes pain relievers for pain, antibiotics for infection, and some adjustments to the mother’s breast-feeding technique. However, some home remedies can also be done to manage the condition.
One management for mastitis is to correct the mother’s breast-feeding method. As per Mayo Clinic, the baby should latch on the beasts correctly and mother should fully empty her breasts after breastfeeding. According to the publication, the doctor may advise reviewing the breastfeeding technique, as well as refer the mother to a lactation consultant.
Hot and Cold Compress
Another remedy for mastitis is heat and cold application. According to Top 10 Home Remedies, hot compress relieves blockage, promotes blood flow, and improves milk flow. On one hand, cold application helps reduce swelling and pain. As per the publication, the person prepares a hot compress by wrapping a hot water bottle in a thin towel. Next, she prepares a cold compress by packing few ice cubes in a thin towel. Then, the hot compress is placed on the infected breast for 15 minutes while the cold compress is applied for five minutes. The remedy is repeated for two to three cycles.
Cabbage also serves as a remedy for mastitis. According to Wellness Mama, it relieves pain secondary to pressure, blockage, or infection in the breast duct. To use the remedy, the cold cabbage leaf is directly put on the breast, over the site of the infected duct. As per the publication, the leaf is changed every hour as needed. It is also noted to check for milk production, since some women notice a decrease in milk production due to cabbage leaf use.
Coconut Oil and Potatoes
Women can also use coconut oil for mastitis. According to Mama Natural, the oil relieves breast tenderness and pain. It is is massaged around the entire breast to the arm pit, with emphasis on the area with the clogged duct and cracked nipples. As per the publication, thinly sliced potatoes are also applied to the breast and a bra is worn to support the potatoes. The remedy is intended to last for one hour.
Mastitis involves inflammation and pain in the breast tissue, which may hinder a person from doing her daily activities. Thus, it is best to consult a doctor if the pain persists for a long time; this is to establish a good assessment, planning, intervention, education, and evaluation.