Breast Infections

Mastitis is inflammation of the breast, with or without infection.

Symptoms

  • Breast pain

  • Redness of the skin of the breast

  • Painful lump

  • Feeling unwell, feverish

Types

Lactational (breastfeeding) mastitis

This is the most common type of breast infection and occurs in up to 10% of breastfeeding women.

It may be associated with problems with breastfeeding such as cracked nipples or difficulty draining the breast.

Non-lactational mastitis

  • Periductal Mastitis

    • associated with cigarette smoking​

  • Infections of the breast skin​

Treatment

Treatment is to relieve symptoms (pain relief, cold packs) and fix the underlying cause (encourage breastfeeding to drain the breast, consider lactation consultant to help with breastfeeding technique).

Antibiotics may be necessary.

Women with untreated mastitis are at risk of developing a breast abscess (a collection of pus in the breast).

Breast abscesses require drainage, either with a needle or sometime an operation.