Breast inflammation (mastitis) is often caused by bacteria during breastfeeding. The breast is painful, red and warm. Cooling after breastfeeding can provide relief, otherwise antibiotics can be prescribed.
Causes and treatment
Breast inflammation is caused by milk that is trapped in the breast (galactostasis) or by bacteria. This most commonly affects women who are breastfeeding, but can also occur in non-breastfeeding women.
Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital
A careful examination is done to find out whether there is a bacterial infection.
- Palpation (i.e. examination by touch)
- Blood test (search for signs of infection)
- Analysis of milk secretion (bacteria)
- Ultrasound (sonography)
- Antibiotics (for bacterial infections)
- Small operation (if pus has collected under the skin)
What can I do myself?
- A midwife or breastfeeding counsellor can explain the right position to breastfeed, which can often provide symptom relief
- Try to continue breastfeeding (doesn’t harm the baby)
- Warm the breast before breastfeeding, cool it afterwards (e.g. with quark)
- Gentle treatment
- Painkillers, if needed (in consultation with the doctor!)
When to see a doctor?
- If the inflammation doesn't improve within 1 to 2 days or the symptoms worsen
breast inflammation, mastitis, non-puerperal mastitis, puerperal mastitis, galactostasis