Synonyms: Breast infection

Medical Specialties: Family practice, Internal medicine, Obstetrics/gynecology

Clinical Definition

Mastitis, an inflammation of the breast, is most prevalent in lactating women but can affect others. The etiology is typically an infection and the condition is typically unilateral. Pain, edema and a burning sensation while breastfeeding are reported, as well as fatigue and chills. Treatments include antibiotics and over-the-counter pain medicine.

In Our Own Words

Mastitis, an inflammation of the breast, is typically caused by an infection and most often affects breastfeeding women, especially during the first six weeks. Pain, swelling, a burning feeling while breastfeeding, fever, chills and fatigue are common symptoms. Usually just one breast is affected.

Treatment includes antibiotics to clear up the infection and, if necessary, pain medicines such as ibuprofen. Breastfeeding women should continue to breastfeed unless their physician recommends otherwise. To prevent recurrence, breastfeeding women can air nipples when possible, avoid tight-fitting bras and have the baby empty one breast before switching.

Side Effects
  • Breast pain
  • Swelling
  • Burning sensation during breastfeeding
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
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