Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast that occurs
most commonly in breast-feeding women. It may be caused by
breast engorgement, a blocked milk duct, or cracked
skin on the woman's nipples that allows bacteria to enter the breast. In women
who are not breast-feeding, it is related to changes that occur with aging,
such as expanded (dilated) or irregular milk ducts.
Symptoms of mastitis may include:
Increased pain, swelling, redness, or warmth in
an area of a breast.
Red streaks extending from a
Drainage of pus from a breast.
nodes in the neck or armpit.
Flu-like symptoms, such as fever,
chills, and fatigue.
Mastitis will not go away without treatment. Most women can safely
continue to breast-feed or pump breast milk while being treated. Treatment
usually involves a combination of antibiotics and home treatment to increase
the flow of milk through the breast and relieve discomfort while the infection
clears up. In some cases, a breast
abscess (a pocket of infection) may form. An abscess
may need to be drained by a doctor, and the woman may need to stop
breast-feeding for a few days while the infection is treated.
Breast infections never lead to cancer, but some breast cancers look
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.