How Do You Tell If You Have A Clogged Duct?

Various symptoms are present in case of clogged duct and the patient, by analyzing these symptoms, may conclude the presence of clogged duct. However, if the lump persists for a longer period and is growing, proper advice should be taken from physician.

How Do You Tell If You Have A Clogged Duct?

How Do You Tell If You Have A Clogged Duct?

Pain: Milk ducts are clogged due to the improper drainage of the milk from the ducts to the nipples. Thus, the body is producing milk, but the milk is not carried outside the breasts. This leads to a pressure inside the breasts leading to moderate to severe pain, depending upon the pressure. In order to manage the pain, the milk should be drained from the breast, may be with the help of breast pump, or properly feeding the child.

Lump: As the pressure in the breast is created due to clogging of the duct, it looks as if there is a lump in the breasts. The presence of any lump in the breast should be critically monitored. Although, most of the lumps are benign, if the lump persists for long time, seek advice from the medical professional.

Hot Sensation: The patient with clogged ducts also experiences the symptoms of hot or warm sensation in the breast due to pain and inflammation. In order to lower the swelling and hot sensation, massage of the breast can be done.

Redness: Redness on the skin of the breast can be experienced due to clogged duct. This may be due to pain and inflammation in the area of blocked duct.

Mild Fever: The patient may sometimes experience mild fever due to clogged duct. It may be caused due to pain in the breast or due to the inflammatory mediators generated due to inflammation and redness.

Nipple Blister: Also known as milk bleb, these are small white blisters occurs on the nipples of the patient suffering from clogged duct.

Unpleasant Breastfeeding: The mother may experience pain and inconvenience in breastfeeding her child.

Tender Breasts: The breasts of the patient suffering from clogged ducts are hard and tender due to the pressure created inside the breast.

Causes Of Clogged Duct

There are various reasons for the development of clogged milk ducts and occurs during first few weeks of the start of breastfeeding. The condition usually goes away of its own or requires only a little intervention. Following are the general reasons for the development of clogged ducts:

Baby’s Early withdrawal: The milk is routed to the nipples through the hormonal action and early withdrawal of the milk by the baby and shifting on adult diet does not allow the proper milk outlet. This results in clogged ducts.

Fatigue And Stress: The milk is transported to the nipples from the milk producing cells through muscle contraction. Fatigue reduces the muscle contraction leading to clogged milk ducts.

Feeding In A Single Position – Feeding in the single position also results in the clothing of ducts as this will prevent the even drainage of milk from all the ducts.

Breast Constriction: Tight fitting clothes compresses the breasts, thereby puts the pressure on ducts leading to improper drainage. Any remaining milk in the ducts leads to clogging.

Trauma: If the breasts are compressed in order to provide air to the baby or the latching is not properly done, clogging of duct may occur.

Change In Feeding Pattern: If there is a change in the feeding pattern of the baby, the milk will be stored in the duct leading to clogging.


The clogged milk ducts go away of their own or require little medical intervention. The medicines used in such cases are limited to manage the pain, inflammation and fever. The patient should also use home remedies in order to reduce the symptoms. If the clogged ducts remain for a lengthier period, it may cause breast infection which may further cause breast abscess.


The patient can easily identify the presence of clogged duct. Various symptoms such as pain, redness, hot sensation, mild fever, swollen and tender breasts and nipple blisters are experienced by the patient.

Also Read:

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:August 5, 2023

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