Please be patient! It may take up to ONE minute to load all the Engines.
Problems? Please contact our support.
Alternative namesMastitis; Infection - breast tissue; Breast abscess
DefinitionThis infection is located in the tissue of the breast. In most cases, bacteria entered the tissue through cracks in the nipples.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Breast infections are usually caused by a common bacteria found on normal skin (Staphylococcus aureus). The bacteria enter through a break or crack in the skin, usually the nipple.
The infection then takes place in the parenchymal (fatty) tissue and causes swelling of the parenchymal tissue outside the milk ducts. This swelling compresses on the milk ducts, and the result is pain and swelling of the infected breast.
Breast infections usually occur in women who are breast-feeding. Breast infections that are not related to breast-feeding must be differentiated from a rare form of breast cancer .
Signs and tests
In women who are not breast-feeding, testing may include mammography or breast biopsy . Otherwise, tests are usually not necessary.
Self-care may include applying moist heat to the infected breast tissue for 15 to 20 minutes, 4 times a day.
Antibiotic medications are usually very effective in treating mastitis. You are encouraged to continue to breast-feed or to pump to alleviate engorgement while receiving treatment.
The stress of an illness can often be helped by joining a support group in which members share common experiences and problems. See breast-feeding - support group .
The condition usually clears quickly with antibiotic therapy.
In severe infections, an abscess may develop. Abscesses require more extensive treatment, including incision and drainage. Discontinuation of breast-feeding may be recommended in this case.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if any portion of the breast tissue becomes reddened, tender, swollen, or hot, or if the lymph nodes in the armpit become tender and/or enlarged.
Good breast care, especially after delivery and while breast-feeding, may decrease the potential to develop breast infections.
Update Date: 2/7/2002Peter Chen, M.D., Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT