Mastitis - Symptoms and causes

Mastitis occurs when one or more milk ducts in the breast become blocked, preventing milk from flowing normally. This can result in painful lumps or nodules in the breast.

Ingela Ågren

Read time: 1 m

Verified by Ingela Ågren

Certified Midwife

Mastitis - Symptoms and causesPhoto: Preggers

Mastitis usually occurs suddenly and often only in one breast. The most common symptoms of mastitis are:

  • A hardened area or lump under the skin
  • Pain, warmth, and tenderness over the affected area
  • Fever, sometimes with chills
  • A general feeling of illness with muscle aches and headache
  • Pain during breastfeeding

Mastitis can occur for various reasons, including:

  • Inadequate latch during breastfeeding, where the baby does not get a good grip on the breast.
  • Irregular breastfeeding, with longer intervals between feedings than previously.
  • Pain during breastfeeding inhibits the letdown reflex that makes the milk flow.
  • Use of breastfeeding aids such as nipple shields or breast pumps that do not function optimally.
  • Ill-fitting bras that are too tight.

Complications and sequelae

If mastitis is not treated correctly or if there are sores and cracks on the nipple, it can lead to a breast infection or abscess. Infections and abscesses require medical treatment.

Ingela Ågren

Verified by Ingela Ågren

Certified Midwife


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