Breast is a type of gland, the function of which is to secrete the milk and nourish the infant. The milk secreting cells are present in the alveoli and through the ducts, the milk flows towards the nipple for breastfeeding.
Do Clogged Milk Ducts Go Away On Their Own?
The clogged milk ducts themselves can go away on their own or requires a little assistance. If the condition of the clogged milk duct persists for a longer period, the risk of developing mastitis increases. The treatment of mastitis is more complex as compared to clogged milk ducts. Thus, if clogged milk duct remains for longer than normal, it is advised to seek consultation from medical professional. Following are the methods through which the clogged milk ducts can be treated without the use of medicine:
Massage: Massaging the breast may lead to increased milk flow that will take away the clog along with it. However, proper technique for massaging should be followed.
Warming The Breast: Warming the breast through moist warm cloth may reduce the pain and also helps in removing the clog.
Breast Feeding: The woman should continue to feed the child, as it will allows proper flow of milk. This will remove the prior plug and also reduces the risk of formation of clog.
The ducts are the type of small pipes that are used to carry the chemicals or products synthesized by the cells. The ducts are initiated from the milk-producing cells of the breasts and ends up carrying milk to the nipples. As soon as the baby starts sucking the milk, the oxytocin is released which stimulates the muscles of the alveoli and the milk starts flowing in the ducts to the nipples for breastfeeding. However, sometimes the ducts are clogged by the milk and may be felt as a lump. These clogs may be painful and are red, irritated and sore. The feeding from the affected breast is painful. Even after feeding from that particular breast where the lump is present, the breast feels full due to the presence of clogged ducts. However, after feeding, the pain in the clogged duct gets reduced due to reduced pressure. If the condition does not go of its own and persists for a longer period of time, there is a risk of developing breast infection, known as mastitis. In some cases, the patient may see small white dots on the nipple known as milk bleb or nipple blister.
Causes Of Clogged Milk Ducts
There are various reasons for the development of the clogged duct. Clogged duct is caused when there is a restricted milk flow, or the transport system of the milk glands becomes abnormal. Following are the reasons for clogged milk ducts:
Change In Breast Feeding Pattern: If the baby has changed the feeding pattern and also skip the feeding, the milk produced during that particular time may clog the duct. In order to reduce the risk of clothing, the milk should be pumped out from the breasts.
Baby’s Early Withdrawal Of Mother’s Milk: If the baby does not take the mother’s milk and adopted an adult diet early, the milk produced during that time may clog the ducts.
Insufficient Use Of Breast Pump: If the breast pump used is such that it does not pump out the complete quantity of milk, this may cause duct clog.
Nursing In Same Position: If the mother feeds the baby in a similar position and does not change the nursing position, this may lead to clogged ducts.
Breast Constriction: Wearing a tight fitting bra compresses the ducts leading to improper drainage.
Fatigue And Stress: The milk is transported to the nipples via ducts with the help of muscle contraction. Any fatigue or stress reduces the contraction of muscle leading to improper supply of milk to the nipples.
Trauma To The Breasts: If the breasts are tightly compressed, the ducts may clog.
The clogged milk ducts go away their own or may require a minimum intervention. However, if the condition persists for longer than normal, the patient should seek medical advice as this may lead to complications.