Mastitis

What is mastitis?

Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast tissue. Infections may
or may not occur with mastitis.  It often affects women who are breastfeeding. 

What causes mastitis?

Mastitis may occur because of sore or cracked nipples, latch
problems, plugged ducts, yeast infections, or milk not draining well. 

What are the symptoms of mastitis?

These are the most common symptoms of mastitis:  

  • Hot, swollen breasts
  • A red, painful, or hot “wedge-shaped” swelling on a breast,
    or both breasts
  • A red, painful, or hot lump in your breast
  • Red streaks on your breasts
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Fever of 100.4°F or (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your
    provider

If you have these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider as
soon as possible. You may need treatment for mastitis.

How is mastitis diagnosed?

Your provider will examine your breasts. In most cases, you won’t
need lab tests. But you may need the following tests:

  • Breastmilk culture. This
    may be done if an infection is severe, occurred in the hospital, or hasn’t
    responded to a previous course of antibiotic treatment. This can be used to
    guide the choice of antibiotics.
  • Ultrasound. You may need
    this imaging test if the mastitis is linked to breastfeeding and doesn’t get
    better with treatment in 48 to 72 hours.
  • Blood cultures. These will
    be done if the breast redness keeps growing or your vital signs become
    unstable.