Various treatments are provided in the literatures for managing the symptoms of mastitis as well as treating it effectively. One of the methods is imparting heat to the affected tissue through heating pad which provides a number of advantages.
Can I Use A Heating Pad For Mastitis?
The symptoms of mastitis include pain, swelling, inflammation and fever. The reasons for mastitis are different and may include clogged duct, infection, menopause and nipple piercing. Further, there are other risk factors associated with the development of mastitis. Various approaches for the managing symptoms and treating mastitis are applied such as prescribing general medicines, breast pump, garlic and administering anti-inflammatory diets.
One of the important methods used to relieve the symptoms of mastitis such as pain and inflammation is the heat or warmth provided to the breasts. This can either be done through taking warm water bath or warm Epsom salt bath or by using heating pads. Heating pads are used to provide warmth to the various body parts. The heating pad has the advantage of portability so that the heating can be done at any place such as home and office. The heating pad has various functions, but the primary goal is to reduce the pain and inflammation. Following are the various mechanisms through which pad works in mastitis:
- The heat dilates the blood vessels, resulting in increasing the quantity of oxygen and other nutrients to speed healing of the damaged tissue.
- It helps in reducing the pain by blocking the signals of pain from the skin.
- It also reduces the stiffness of the soft tissues of the breasts leading to reduction in pain.
However, care should be taken while applying the heating pad on the breast skin as it has the potential to burn the skin.
Risk Factors For Mastitis
Various risk factors are associated with mastitis. If these factors exist in the women, they are at higher risk of developing mastitis. Following are those factors:
History of Mastitis: If the women already have the history of mastitis, the risk of recurrence of mastitis is high. This may either be due to breach of defense or incomplete treatment of previous bacterial infection.
Nipple Cracks: Any crack in the nipples or soreness of the nipples increase the risk of mastitis as these conditions initiate the inflammation in the body leading to pain and swelling. Further, the patient is more prone to bacterial infection.
Nipple Piercing: During nipple piercing, the primary defense of the body against the bacterial infection is compromised and increases the chances of breast infection and inflammation.
Smoking: Smoking also increases the risk of mastitis.
Menopause: Mastitis is also developed in the women with menopause and the condition is known as duct ectasia. In this condition the ducts become shorter and widener causing pain and swelling.
Improper Nutrition And Rest: Not taking proper nutrition and rest also increases the risk of mastitis as it will reduce the flow of blood from alveoli to nipples leading to the conditions such as breast engorgement and clogged ducts.
Therapy For Mastitis
Following are the therapies available for mastitis:
General Medicines: Medicines such as analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretics are prescribed to the patient.
Antibiotics: In case of infective mastitis, antibiotics such as cephalexin and amoxiclav are prescribed.
Garlic: Garlic reduces the symptoms and also enhances immunity.
Probiotics: Probiotics are immunomodulators that helps the body in fighting against infection. They further reduce the side effects of antibiotics.
Heating and Warming: Heating and warming through heating pad or warm bath reduces pain and inflammation.
Rest: Rest is must as it prepares the body in fighting against infection and fatigue.
Breast Pump: Breast pump is used to drain excess milk from the breast that reduces pain and swelling.
Continuous Feeding: Feeding should be continuously done during mastitis to ease the symptoms and preventing further complications.
Heating pad is the device use to transfer heat to the breasts. It helps in easing pain and accelerates the healing of damaged tissues. However, care should be taken while using heat pad as it may burn the skin.