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Breast Infection Treatments


Treatment may include:


Antibiotics are generally used to treat the infection and there is evidence that they may reduce the duration of symptoms. Whether antibiotics are necessary for a cure or to reduce the risk of more serious, but rare complications, such as bloodstream infection, is unknown.

If mastitis does not respond to antibiotics, a localized collection of pus called an abscess might be present. This is usually treated with antibiotics and a drainage procedure or surgery. The bacteria known as Staphylococcus aureus is responsible for many cases of bacterial mastitis and most abscesses, but in recent years “staph” has become resistant to many of the commonly used antibiotics. Resistant bacteria have so far only rarely been reported in association with mastitis, but it seems likely that antibiotic resistance will eventually be seen in mastitis, probably requiring a change in the usual antibiotics chosen for this infection.

Methods to Clear Blocked Breast Ducts

Methods to clear blocked breast ducts include:

  • Breastfeeding frequently—Breastfeeding with mastitis is not harmful to the baby when treatment involves antibiotics such as cephalexin, amoxicillin, or erythromycin. The use of some other antibiotics may dictate caution, especially when breastfeeding an infant under eight weeks of age. Ask your doctor’s advice if antibiotics such as bactrim (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole) or doxycycline are used.
  • Using a breast pump
  • Applying warm compresses to breasts prior to feeding (to stimulate milk ejection reflex)
  • Offering the baby the infected breast first (to promote complete emptying of infected breast)

Pain Relief

To reduce pain and swelling in the breast:

  • Apply ice compresses to the affected area of your breast after breastfeeding.
  • If your mastitis is not caused by breastfeeding, consider using over-the-counter pain relievers as recommended by your doctor.
  • If your mastitis is caused by pregnancy or breastfeeding, be sure to ask your doctor what pain relievers are safe for you and your baby. Taking aspirin is not advised during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
  • Drink lots of fluids.
  • Get plenty of rest.

If you are diagnosed with mastitis, follow your doctor's instructions .

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