Is Mastitis Dangerous?

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One of the more common problems that can come as a result of breastfeeding and/or pregnancy is mastitis. In fact, it is tremendously rare for someone who is not breastfeeding to have mastitis. Mastitis is, in the most basic sense, an infection of the tissue of the breast. Some of the common symptoms of mastitis include swelling, redness and pain of the breast that’s infected.

Mastitis occurs when bacteria work their way into the breast. In some cases, this happens through the openings for the milk ducts, but in other cases it comes along with small cracks or breaks that can occasionally occur in the breast during breastfeeding.

Mastitis is dangerous, if it is not treated. It is an infection, and like any other sort of infection you might get it can turn into quite a problem. Eventually, untreated mastitis might lead to a breast abcess. An abscess refers to a boil under the skin that is filled with pus.  This abscess may even need to be treated by draining it in a hospital, via an incision in the breast.  This is why it is important to identify and treat mastitis earlier rather than later.

Mastitis isn’t, however, harmful or dangerous to your baby. Chances are pretty good that mastitis will interrupt your breastfeeding cycles, largely because the infection changes the taste of your breast milk. Instead of being sweet as it usually is, your breast milk may taste salty when you have mastitis.  Still, breast milk will not harm your baby when you have mastitis because of the fact that there are antibodies in the breast milk that protects your baby from various infections and diseases.

If you show some of the symptoms that go along with mastitis, talk with your doctor. Like other infections, mastitis is not a condition that will right itself on its own, and you will generally need some degree or another of medical attention to clear up the infection that is causing mastitis.

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This entry was posted in Breastfeeding.


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