What Is Non-Lactational Mastitis?

What is Non-Lactational Mastitis?

Non-lactational mastitis is an inflammatory disease of the breast tissue in non-breastfeeding women. The non-lactating women with the weak immune system are more likely to develop the condition of Non-lactational mastitis. Diabetes, smoking and radiation therapy done for lumpectomies are the risk factors of Non-lactational mastitis. Infection does not trigger mastitis in all cases and does not improve with antibiotics. Mastitis in non-lactational women can be a sign of breast cancer in rare cases. Its symptoms are the pain, redness, tenderness and swelling in the one or both breast. It is treated with antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medicines, and surgery if symptoms persist.

What Is Non-Lactational Mastitis?

Non-lactational mastitis is an inflammatory condition of the breast in non-breastfeeding women which is not always associated with infection. It is not a common disease.

Non-lactational mastitis develops in women who are habitual smokers in their late 20s and early 30s. Smoking is considered the main factor that damages the milk ducts and may induce infection.

Glands under nipples get clogged and blocked which may result in bacterial infection in this area. This result in the accumulation of pus and the condition is called subareolar abscess. It can be a hard lump that often does not improve with antibiotics and drainage becomes a must. This abscess is formed only in non-lactating women.

Risk Factors For Non-Lactational Mastitis

The risk factors of non-lactational mastitis are-

  • Weakened immune system.
  • Previous history of radiation therapy for lumpectomies
  • Diabetic women
  • Smoking is a risk factor for non-lactational mastitis
  • Inflammatory cancer (rare condition)

Types Of Non-Lactational Mastitis

Non-lactational mastitis is of two types-

Periductal Mastitis– it affects the alveolar ducts. It is mostly seen in young women. It can affect men also. Many pieces of research reveal that smoking is the main causative factor that causes damage to the milk ducts in periductal mastitis.

Idiopathic Granulomatous Mastitis– it is a rare inflammatory disease of the breast which is marked by a palpable mass in women who have children and a history of lactation. This disease has a recurrent course and is often associated with high prolactin in the blood.

Symptoms Of Non-Lactational Mastitis

The following are the symptoms of non-lactational mastitis:

  • Swelling in the breast
  • Pain in the breast
  • 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

Diagnosis Of Non-Lactational Mastitis

Non-lactational mastitis can be diagnosed ion the basis of your symptoms, medical history, physical examination, and certain tests. During a physical examination, the physician will check the presence of an abscess and will determine whether it should be drained or not. To check for the infection, she will send the milk expressed from the affected breast. Other tests are a mammogram and biopsy to rule out any cancerous growth.

Treatment For Non-Lactational Mastitis

Antibiotics– your physician may run a course of antibiotics for 10-14 days to treat the infection. Most patients feel relief within the first two-three days of starting the antibiotics. But it is recommended to complete the course of the antibiotics to avoid resistance against the particular antibiotic.

Painkillers– anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen are given to control the inflammatory changes and to provide relief from pain and swelling in non-lactational mastitis.

Surgery– The surgery for non-lactational mastitis is recommended if the symptoms do not improve even after medications. It is conducted under a general anesthetic. The incision is made on the skin of the breast and all the milk ducts are removed from the breast. The duration of the operation is about 30 minutes. The patient will not be able to breastfeed through the operated breast anymore. Some sensation in the nipple of the operated nipple is also lost.


Non-lactational mastitis is a disease of the breast tissue that causes swelling and inflammation of the one or both breasts in a non-breastfeeding woman. It causes swelling, redness, tenderness, pain, and flu-like symptoms. It can occur in women and men in rare cases.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 5, 2023

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