What Causes Menopausal Women To Get Mastitis?

What Causes Menopausal Women To Get Mastitis?

Yes, menopausal women can get mastitis. Post-menopausal women get mastitis due to the hormonal changes that occur during menopause. With aging the breast tissue composition changes from glandular to fatty tissue. This change might cause the ducts to widen, short and fill with sticky fluid containing dead cells. Accumulation of fluid cause blocked and clogged ducts with secretions, which lead to the inflammation of the ducts and breast tissue. This leaves the ducts and breast tissue more prone to get bacterial infections. This is how post-menopausal women get mastitis. If you have cracks, cuts, open sores or nipple piercing you are at more risk of getting mastitis because the bacteria has an easy way into the breast tissue.

Complications Of Mastitis

Abscess Formation: Abscess is a collection of pus within a body tissue. When mastitis is not diagnosed or not treated adequately or when there is plugged milk duct it leads to an abscess formation. The breast will be very painful, swollen when the abscess is formed and a lump may be felt on examination. Abscess has to be drained surgically to remove the pus completely.

Recurrence: If you get mastitis once it tends to recur afterwards.

Structure And Function Of The Breast

In a healthy woman the breast is made up from 12-20 lobes, each lobe is made up from lobules which are glandular structures (glands) that produce milk. The lobes and lobules are connected by ducts which carry the milk to the nipple. In-between the glandular tissue and ducts there are fatty tissue. There are no muscles in the breast. During puberty and pregnancy the breast size increase, the size increase during pregnancy is more uniformed.

The nipple is surrounded by a darker area called the areola, which contains modified sweat glands. These sweat glands secrete a lubricant during breastfeeding to lubricate the nipple during breastfeeding. The milk production starts during your pregnancy and with the hormonal changes during delivery the milk secrete when the baby is born.

What Is Mastitis?

Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast tissue due to an infection. Mastitis occurs commonly in breastfeeding women but it is not the only time when mastitis occur. Mastitis can occur in lactating women in the following circumstances

If you do not follow the proper technique of breastfeeding there can be cracks in the nipple from poor attachment. Through these cracks organisms can enter the milk duct and breast and cause mastitis.

When milk is not completely emptied from the breast or if you miss a feed, milk gets accumulated in the ducts. This causes blocks in the ducts and clogged ducts. Then the milk flow back to the breast tissue and this causes an inflammation in your breast tissue leading to mastitis.

Summary

Yes, menopausal women can get mastitis. Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast tissue due to an infection. Mastitis occurs commonly in breastfeeding women but it can occur in post-menopausal women due to the hormonal changes that occur during menopause. With aging the breast tissue composition changes from glandular to fatty tissue. This change might cause the ducts to widen, short and fill with sticky fluid containing dead cells. Accumulation of fluid cause blocked and clogged ducts with secretions which lead to the inflammation of the ducts and breast tissue. This leaves the ducts and breast tissue more prone to get bacterial infections. If you have cracks, cuts, open sores or nipple piercing you are at more risk of getting mastitis because the bacteria has an easy way into the breast tissue.

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