Mastitis is a condition which is characterized by swelling and inflammation of the breast tissue. The common cause of mastitis can be an infection of the milk ducts of the breast. Milk gets accumulated in the milk ducts and nearby breast tissue and cannot be cleared off resulting in the inflammation of the breast. Its symptoms include pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness of the breast with itching over the breast tissue and other symptoms resembling flu. It affects women mostly during the lactation period. However, it can affect women who are not in the lactation period and man also.
Does Mastitis Make You Tired?
The symptoms of mastitis are similar to flu that may make you feel tired and weary. Mastitis is a condition marked by abnormal swelling and inflammation of the breast tissue. This happens when the flow of milk through nipple is interrupted and the milk flows back into the breast tissue. This leads to the swelling and inflammation of the breast tissue.
The milk duct when get plugged or blocked, it causes the back flow of the milk. If the milk continues to flow backward for some more time, the milk becomes thicker and pasty like toothpaste. Then, it becomes more troublesome to flow again. This may lead to the formation of a lump in the breast. Sometimes, it may result in the growth of bacteria in the breast duct which causes infection and then inflammation of the breast. Thus, it progresses to mastitis.
The sign and symptoms come suddenly. This include-
- Swelling in the breast
- Pain in the breast especially during breastfeeding
- Persistent burning sensation
- The breast feels warm to touch
- Tenderness in the breast
- Redness in the skin in a wedge-shaped pattern
- General illness
- Fever above 101 F or above
- Lethargy and weakness
- Cut or wound in the nipple or nearby areas
Causes Of Mastitis
Trapping of milk in the breast ducts mainly induce mastitis. The causes of mastitis are-
Infection- the nipples can get infected by bacteria which may enter the breast through cracks near the skin of nipple or opening of the milk duct. Sometimes, stagnant milk which is not evacuated from the ducts triggers the growth of bacteria in the duct leading to mastitis.
Blocked Milk Duct- milk gets trapped in the milk duct and breast cannot empty the whole milk. This may in turn back flow of the milk leading to breast infection.
The risk factors of mastitis in one or both breast are-
- Lactation in the first few weeks of the childbirth
- Breastfeeding from only one position
- cracked nipples
- extreme weakness
- Wearing a tight-fitting bra
- History of mastitis
Diagnosis Of Mastitis
Your physician will investigate your symptoms, personal and family medical history. He will inquire if you are breastfeeding or not or you are having any medicine. He will perform a physical exam to understand the extent of mastitis. If you have a severe infection, he will order you a test of the breast milk. This will help to identify the specific bacteria that have caused the infection. Identification of particular bacteria guides for the right antibiotic to treat the infection.
Treatment For Mastitis
The treatment options of mastitis involve following
- Antibiotics- specific antibiotics as prescribed can treat the bacterial infection.
- Anti-Inflammatory Medicines – these medicines include ibuprofen or acetaminophen to control pain and swelling.
- Surgery- minor surgery may be needed to evacuate the excess milk.
- Breastfeeding can be continued throughout the treatment as the infection affects the breast tissue only not the breast milk.
Mastitis is an inflammatory condition of the breast most prevalent in the lactation period. It is represented by the symptoms like pain tenderness, swelling in the breast and others discussed above. Some women feel flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, and malaise due to mastitis which makes them tired and weary.
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