Mastitis is an inflammation of the breasts or breast tissue. It can also include an infection sometimes. It mostly affects women who are breastfeeding or lactating commonly known as lactational mastitis. It can also sometimes occur in women who are not breastfeeding and in men.
Is Headache A Sign Of Mastitis?
It is an extremely painful condition along with redness and swelling of the breast. A woman experiences flu like symptoms that include fever, body ache, sweating and headaches. Headache is one of the signs of mastitis, but it is not seen in all women suffering from mastitis. Although a number of women who have mastitis complain of severe headache similar to migraine while others remain unaffected by it.
It mostly occurs during the first three months of initiation of breastfeeding. Women who have had mastitis before (45% of women) are also at a greater risk of developing mastitis. It also occurs in women in the age group of 21 to 35 years old with highest risk being in women of age 30 to 34 years. Any injury or trauma caused to the breast tissue might increase chances of having mastitis. In women who are employed full time outside the home will have longer intervals in between pumping milk and will not have enough time to completely void the breast of milk that may lead to stasis of milk in the breast which will further lead to blocking of the duct and infection of the mammary gland. It is important to take proper nutrition during the nursing period. It is also advised to quit smoking and take proper rest and avoid stress during this period.
Mastitis will cause breasts to become tender and swollen with one or more lumps in them. The skin over the breast will be warm or hot to touch with redness over the underlying infected tissue. Flu-like symptoms such as fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or greater with chills and fatigue will be seen. Breast pain and burning sensation in the breast will be present while breastfeeding and sometimes even not breastfeeding. Generally mastitis that occurs without infection will be over a widespread area whereas a clogged milk duct will occur in a localized area. Both will have similar symptoms of redness pain and swelling but symptoms of mastitis are more pronounced, and flu like symptoms is seen in an infection of the duct.
Treatment Of Mastitis
It is important to treat any painful lump or nipple damage right away because a clogged duct can lead to an abscess formation that requires surgical intervention later.
Breastfeeding is encouraged during mastitis because it helps clear the infection.
The treatment of mastitis involves the use of antibiotics and painkillers. In case of an infection a 10 day course of antibiotics is needed. It is also important to take the full course of medication to prevent recurrence of infection that is quite common in case of mastitis. The pain relievers used are acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
It is important for a mother to know proper breastfeeding techniques to prevent infection from worsening during mastitis. A lactation consultant can help brief you with proper care measures to be taken while breastfeeding. They include proper attachment of the baby to the breast while feeding, changing positions while breastfeeding the baby can help to prevent engorgement of the breasts. It is also helpful to massage the breasts while breastfeeding or pumping from the affected area towards the nipple. It is also important to completely drain the breast of the milk during breastfeeding. In case where there is trouble emptying the breast of milk, application of warm and moist to the breast before feeding and pumping milk is helpful. It is also better if the hungry infant is fed from the affected breast first because he will suck milk more strongly when he is hungry and there will be effective emptying of the breast. After breastfeeding applying ice packs or cold compresses to the breasts can help soothe them.