Mastitis refers to a benign inflammation in the breast that requires immediate medical treatment. Its symptoms include general malaise, reddened indurate breast and fever. If there is a time lapse of even a couple of days in the treatment then it can lead to serious complications such as a breast boil and recurrent mastitis.
A lactating mother who has chills, sweat or general malaise should be assumed to be suffering from mastitis unless it is proved otherwise.
Histological, mastitis can be divided into 3 categories namely, adenitis, cellulitis and abscess. In all these cases the women is usually advised to nurse from the affected breast as frequently as possible as it can dilate the mammary blood vessels. This improves the blood flow towards the affected area. The milk flow also helps to oust the bacteria from the milk ducts. There has been no documented evidence of any harm to the child due to nursing through the affected breast even if there is a problem of a breast boil.
If mastitis is not treated on time then a breast boil may develop. In such a case the doctor’s have the option of a minor surgery that includes incision and drainage. For this the doctors need to determine the region that is most fluctuant to palpation or medical examination by fingers. The incision is made directly above this region unless the mastitis boil is directly beneath the areola. If the boil points beneath the areola then the incision is made at the edge of the areola. The incision that is made is usually 1-2 centimeters long and it cuts only the skin and the subcutaneous tissues to avoid ripping the milk ducts.
Breast boils often occupy many loculated areas. The doctors have to evacuate each area thoroughly by applying external pressure.
The nursing mother is advised to squeeze out the pus from the boil after every two hours or so during daytime and after every 4 hours during night.
Hence, we find that these complications can be prevented if the lactating women examine their breast periodically and consult a doctor immediately if there are any signs of inflammation.