Mastitis and Blocked Milk Ducts

Download PDF version

Mastitis is described as an infection of breast tissue whereas blocked milk ducts is characterised by inflammation. Blocked milk ducts with or without flu-like symptoms are experienced by 25% of breastfeeding women. 

Causes

  • Blocked ducts are caused by a build up of dry milk in the milk ducts which can subsequently become infected (mastitis).

  • The risk factors for blocked ducts are attachment difficulties, cracked and sore nipples, compression from a tight bra and a change in feeding frequency.

Shin Splints Fact Sheet.png

Signs & Symptoms

  • Firm and tender lump in the breast

  • Redness

  • Heat

  • Flu-like symptoms: fever, malaise (only present in mastitis)

Differential Diagnosis

  • Breast abscess

  • Breast cancer

PROmotion Assessment 

  • Ultrasound treatment

  • Heat before feeding, cool compress after feeding

  • Gentle massage towards the nipple while feeding

  • Changes in feeding position

  • Vibration to the breast

  • Avoidance of tight bras and clothing

  • Treatment of sore nipples

How to Manage

  • Ultrasound treatment

  • Heat before feeding, cool compress after feeding

  • Gentle massage towards the nipple while feeding

  • Changes in feeding position

  • Vibration to the breast

  • Avoidance of tight bras and clothing

  • Treatment of sore nipples

References

  1. Fetherston, C. (2016). Risk Factors for Lactation Mastitis. J Hum Lact, 14(2), 101-109. https://doi.org/10.1177/089033449801400209