What is mastitis?

Mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary glands usually caused by infection. Mastitis may be called by other names such as ductal ectasia, periductal inflammation or Zuska’s disease, which occurs when the milk ducts become blocked. Due to its close resemblance to the symptoms of breast cancer, one should be ruled out in order to make a correct diagnosis of mastitis.

What are the symptoms?

The usual symptoms of mastitis are: breast pain, swelling, having a tender and reddened area, swollen lymph nodes in the armpits, fever, chills and fatigue, among others.

During lactation, the skin of the nipples may crack and allow bacteria to penetrate the fatty tissue of the breast.

Causes of mastitis or why it occurs

One of the main causes of mastitis is poor hygiene. However, this pathology often occurs when a woman is breastfeeding. During breastfeeding, the skin of the nipples can crack and allow bacteria living on the skin to penetrate the fatty tissue of the breast. The proliferation of bacteria causes a phlegmon that makes it difficult for milk to flow out of the breast ducts.

Can it be prevented?

Breastfeeding helps prevent mastitis. When the baby sucks, the ducts are emptied and cleaned of possible infections or obstructions that may occur.

What is the treatment?

To eliminate the infection, the medical specialist usually prescribes antibiotics and analgesics to relieve pain. Other recommendations are the application of local heat by means of wet cloths for 15-20 minutes four times a day, extreme hygiene, expressing milk from the breast, getting enough rest and drinking plenty of fluids. In any case, breastfeeding can be continued. If mastitis is not treated properly and the infection worsens, an abscess may develop. Abscesses need to be drained, either by outpatient treatment or surgery.

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What specialist treats mastitis?

The gynecologist is the specialist who treats mastitis. Top Doctors can find the best specialist according to the pathology suffered by the patient. In addition, the patient can find the nearest doctor according to his or her location and preferences.