What Are The Signs Of Mastitis?

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Breastfeeding can be a rewarding journey with many benefits. But it can also be difficult for a number of reasons. Many women struggle to breastfeed in the beginning, and some have issues that can continue for months. One issue that lots of nursing moms have experience with is mastitis. Mastitis is an infection in the breast, and it’s common in the first few months of breastfeeding. It’s generally not serious, and can be easily treated with home remedies or medication. But it’s painful and uncomfortable! It can also make breastfeeding even more difficult. What are the signs of mastitis? And how can you get some relief?

Recognizing mastitis is important so you can start treating it right away. So what are the signs of mastitis?

Mastitis can come on suddenly, sometimes seemingly overnight. Common symptoms include breast tenderness and your breast being warm to the touch, swelling in the breast, pain or burning while breastfeeding, or a mass or lump that doesn’t disappear after nursing. Some women will also have a low-grade fever and general feeling of malaise.

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Some symptoms can indicate a serious infection. Seek medical treatment immediately if a persistent fever over 101.5, nausea or vomiting, pus draining from your nipple, red streaks extending out from your breast, or confusion or dizziness.

What should you do if you suspect you have mastitis?

If you think you may have mastitis, it’s a good idea to get it confirmed by your doctor. A simple infection can easily become something serious. Your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection (antibiotics are safe to take while breastfeeding). Remember to take all of your meds, even if you start to feel better after a few days!

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In addition to the antibiotics, there are some things you can try at home to help relieve some of the pain and discomfort. The most important thing is to keep nursing on the infected side! Nursing on the infected breast can help clear the infection and prevent painful engorgement and clogged ducts. You can also take over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol or Motrin. A hot compress before and after nursing can help relieve some of the pain, as well. And make sure to drink plenty of water.

Mastitis is common, but luckily, easily remedied! Antibiotics, pain meds, and lots of nursing will have you back to normal in no time.

(Image: iStock / DGLimages)