Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast tissue. It is mostly seen in lactating women or women who are breastfeeding. It can either be due to an infection or a clogged duct. It can result in extreme tenderness, swelling and soreness of the breasts. When an infection is present then there can be flu-like symptoms such as fever chills and fatigue. It can also sometimes occur in non-lactating women and men.
Can Cabbage Leaves Help Mastitis?
Proper breastfeeding techniques can help prevent mastitis. A number of home remedies are known to relieve the symptoms and discomfort of breast. Cabbage is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. A lot of women who have suffered from mastitis swear by the healing properties of cabbage. Although its benefits have not been clinically proven, but it is considered a natural remedy and is being used by many women. It is mostly used as cold compresses that helps relieve inflammation and swelling.
The cabbage leaves that are mostly used are refrigerated leaves that are placed directly on the breasts. They are not only in soothing to the breasts, but also helps relieve pain and swelling. Researchers still do not know if the cabbage itself has any healing properties or the pain and swelling goes down because the cabbage acts a cold compress.
Mastitis is mostly seen in women of 21 to 35 years old with the highest risk being in the age group of 30 to 34 years. It is also more common in women who have previously been affected with mastitis. Incomplete voiding of breasts can also lead to clogging of the milk duct. Women who are chronic smokers also increase a woman’s odds of having mastitis.
The most common cause of mastitis is a clogged milk duct that does not allow free flow of milk from the breast resulting in tender lumps. An infection occurs when the bacteria creeps into the milk duct via a crack on the nipple. The common organisms that lead to infection are Staphylococcus and Streptococcus species.
The symptoms of mastitis include tenderness and swelling in the breasts along with one or more painful lumps. The breasts are warm or hot to touch with redness on the overlying skin. There is pain and burning sensation in the breasts while breastfeeding and sometimes even when not breastfeeding. Flu like symptoms is present that include fever of 101 degree Fahrenheit or more with chills and fatigue.
Treatment And Management Of Mastitis
It is usually recommended to seek medical help immediately if you notice any breast changes such as a painful lump or nipple damage. Mastitis if not treated on time might lead to formation of an abscess, which will typically require surgical drainage. Antibiotics are mostly prescribed for the infection typically for 10-14 days. It is important to take the entire recommended course to prevent recurrence. Analgesic such as ibuprofen is also given to relieve pain and discomfort in the breast.
Home remedies for managing mastitis include proper nursing care, warm compresses and hot showers to increase circulation to the breast area. Garlic is known for its anti-inflammatory properties that can be used in form of gel, capsules and can be consumed raw. Cabbage leaves have also healing properties and keeping cold crushed leaves over the breasts for at least four to five hours helps in relieving the swelling and pain.
Adequate rest is also important to fight the infection. Massaging of the breasts especially towards the nipple when breastfeeding the baby and in between feedings helps in loosening the milk pocket. Drinking lots of water will keep the milk supply up and continuation of breastfeeding even though its uncomfortable and painful is encouraged. Breastfeeding helps clear up the infection by unclogging milk ducts. It is advised to continue lactation even when the mother is on antibiotics. Taking healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals help strengthen body’s immunity and help fight infection naturally.