Can You Die From Mastitis?

Mastitis is not a life threatening condition. Various complications due to unmanaged mastitis are usually responsible for increasing the severity of the condition. Proper treatment and care should be provided to the patient to reduce the symptoms.

Mastitis is the inflammation of the breast tissue due to clogged milk duct. There are various reasons of mastitis, primary of which is clogged ducts and the accompanied infection. The symptoms experienced by the patient includes swollen lump, pain, fever, chills, inconvenience in providing breastfeeding, nipple discharge, redness and tender breasts. The condition is usually managed by the administration of drugs such as analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretics. In case of infections, the antibiotics are generally prescribed.

Can You Die From Mastitis?

Mastitis, if properly managed, is not a life-threatening condition, but if the disease is not properly controlled, it may lead to lethal complications. The complications are more severe if the mastitis is accompanied with infection. The mastitis is the condition developed due to clogged ducts, which are not properly managed. Once the condition of mastitis occurs, efforts should be done to treat it as early as possible especially when it is due to infection. The infection in mastitis is caused by various bacteria causing life threatening complications if not controlled at an initial stage. Various bacteria involving in mastitis include Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus species and E. coli. Further, if the infected mastitis is not treated and allowed to spread, it may further complicate to cause sepsis.

Sepsis is the life threatening condition, which is due to the response of the body’s immune system against the severe infection. This immune response is so strong that it may result in tissue damage and organ failure. In some cases, death may also occur. Further, the opportunistic infections such as fungal infection or viral infection are also a cause of concern as they also add up to the severity of the disease. Thus, proper care should be taken to prevent opportunistic infection. Properly managed mastitis is not a life-threatening condition provided the severity of the disease should be managed, and steps should be taken to reduce complications.

Complications of Mastitis

Mastitis, as such, is a manageable condition. But if this this condition is not properly treated, it may lead to various complication which increases the severity and thus more aggressive treatment is required. Following are the complications that may occur due to mastitis:

Severe Fever: As the inflammation is increased in mastitis as compared to clogged duct, the patient experiences severe fever. Further, if the mastitis is due to infection, the chances of development of fever are high and the body experiences fatigue.

Abscess: Mastitis, if not properly managed, may lead to the development of abscess. Abscess is defined as the condition in which a cyst filled with pus is formed in the tissues. The tissue having abscess is warm, swollen and painful. Usually the abscess is due to bacterial infection and the treatment is generally done by draining the pus from the affected tissue.

Sepsis: Sepsis is a life-threatening condition which occurs due to sever immune response by the body against infection. This condition develops when the isolated infection is not managed properly, and the infection spread to various body parts. This may result in tissue necrosis, organ damage, coma or death.

Fungal Infection And Viral Infection: When the body experiences compromised immune system due to bacterial infection, risk of developing opportunistic infection increases. In case of bacteria induced mastitis, the risk of developing fungal and viral infection significantly increases which further complex the disease.

Severe Pain And Swollen Lump: Mastitis is more severe condition as compared to the clogged ducts thus, this condition results in severe pain and swelling. Various anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs are prescribed to reduce the symptoms of mastitis.


Mastitis is not a life-threatening condition and can easily be treated with drugs including antipyretic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic along with antibiotics. Untreated mastitis along with infection may lead to life threatening condition such as abscess and sepsis which are severe and potentially lethal.

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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 3, 2018

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