Do You Need Antibiotics For Mastitis?

Mastitis is the condition in which the breasts are inflamed and the patient experienced pain, redness and burning sensation. This may be caused either due to bacteria or may be non-infected.

Do You Need Antibiotics For Mastitis?

Do You Need Antibiotics For Mastitis?

Generally, the mastitis is accompanied with infection. Most of the patients with mastitis are found to be infected with bacteria. However, this is not always the case. Thus, the use of antibiotic is usually done after the result of culture is available. The result of culture helps in two ways. First, the physician may determine whether the antibiotic is required or not and the second purpose of culture test is to aid the physician in selecting the type of antibiotic. Various antibiotics are recommended in the treatment of mastitis. Further, the feeding should not be stopped during mastitis as this will further complicate the infection due to deposition of milk in the already clogged milk ducts. Further, apart from administering the antibiotics, the reasons of the infection should be identified to prevent the recurrence of infection. The other opportunistic infection such as fungal infection should be taken care of.

The most common bacteria responsible for infection in mastitis are methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Empirical treatment may be provided with the antibiotics effective against Staphylococcus aureus till the culture report is awaited. The treatment period for infection is recommended for about 10-14 days and depends upon the severity of infection and the type of antibiotic used. The antibiotics generally used in mastitis includes Amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, cephalexin, dicloxacillin and clindamycin.

Symptoms Of Mastitis

Following are the symptoms experienced by the patient suffering from mastitis:

Pain And Burning Sensation: Mastitis is caused due to the breast engagement and clogged milk ducts; thus, the pressure is created by the clog on the tissues leading to pain and burning sensation. At this stage, the milk ducts can also be visible.

Tenderness And Redness: As there are pain and burning sensations, the inflammatory mediators are generated leading to redness on the skin of the breast. Due to the pressure created from inside, the breasts become tender.

Swelling: The patient of mastitis experiences swelling on the breast due to the pressure created by the clog in the milk ducts. If the swelling or lump does not disappear after the treatment, further advice from the physician should be taken.

Mild Fever And Chills: Fever and chills is also experienced by the patients due to the generation of inflammatory mediators. Fever is more common in patients in which the mastitis is due to bacterial infections.

Inconvenience In Breastfeeding: Although it is recommended to continue the breastfeed as there is no harm to the infant, the women experiences inconvenience during breastfeeding due to pain and inflammation.

Fatigue: The patient with mastitis also experiences fatigue.

Nipple Discharge: There is a discharge from nipple, which may be white or contain some blood.

Treatment For Mastitis

Rest: Rest is essential in both infected as well as non-infected mastitis, as it will provide adequate energy to the body for fighting against the disease.

Plenty Of Fluid: Drinking Plenty of fluid is recommended to the patients suffering from mastitis.

Avoiding Tight Fitting Clothes: Tight fitting clothes may worsen the condition of mastitis, as this reduces the flow of milk. Thus, tight fitting clothes should be avoided.

General Medicines: In order to relieve the symptoms of pain inflammation and fever, over-the-counter drugs can be administered. The drugs used may be anti-inflammatory, analgesics and antipyretics.

Warm Compress: Warm compress helps reducing the symptoms of mastitis by increasing the flow of milk and reducing inflammation.

Breast Pump: Breast pump can be used to remove the excess milk from the breast so as to relieve the pressure from the milk ducts.

Antibiotic: If the mastitis is caused due to bacterial infections, antibiotics may be prescribed.

Continue Feeding: Feeding should be continued to drain the maximum amount of milk from the breasts.

Improving Breastfeeding Techniques: Breast feeding techniques should be improved to reduce symptoms.


If the mastitis is caused by the bacteria, antibiotics are prescribed. The common organism responsible for infection is Staphylococcus aureus and the antibiotics used are amoxiclav, dicloxacillin and clindamycin.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 2, 2019

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