How to treat mastitis at home

Mastitis is a bacterial infection of the breast ducts and nipple. It is most often seen in women who are breast-feeding, but it does occur in women who are not. Typical characteristics of mastitis include cracking of the skin around the nipple, swelling, and red, painful breasts that are warm to the touch. Mastitis occurs when bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus, enter the breast duct through the skin cracks. Fever occurs in some women.

How to treat mastitis
How to treat mastitis

Mastitis is an infection of the breasts that causes them to become hot, swollen, and painful. It is caused by milk that becomes clogged in a breast duct, or it may be the result of an infection passed from the infant to the mother. If bacteria enter the duct through a cracked nipple, an infection can occur.(see WHAT IS MASTITIS)

Mastitis should be treated immediately, because it can lead to a high fever, chills, headache, and an abscess. Treat mastitis or an abscess as follows:

How to treat mastitis
How to treat mastitis
  • Apply hot compresses immediately before each nursing session.
  • Massage your breasts.
  • Express breast milk either manually or using a breast pump if nursing is not possible.
  • Use calendula cream, vitamins, or homeopathic remedies.
  • Avoid use of ice packs.
  • Get as much rest as possible and drink plenty of fluids.
  • As a last resort, use broad-spectrum antibiotics such as ampicillin, cephalexin, or erythromycin, which are not harmful to breast-feeding infants.

If an abscess does not disappear after treatment, it must be drained. Typically, physicians use an aspiration needle for small abscesses, or make a small incision for draining larger ones.

Mothers are encouraged to continue to breast-feed when they have mastitis, because it can actually improve the condition. In fact, many physicians recommend nursing every 2 hours around the clock. This helps eliminate the infection from the breast. Infants do not become infected with the bacteria associated with mastitis.

How to treat mastitis
How to treat mastitis

Many physicians prescribe an antibiotic, but other, natural options are available, including homeopathic remedies and application of hot compresses to relieve the pain. If an abscess containing pus forms, it needs to be drained.

If your physician tells you that you have fibrocystic breast changes, ask for a detailed explanation. You are most likely experiencing symptoms caused by hormonal fluctuations or a benign breast change. An inaccurate diagnosis of fibrocystic breast disease on an insurance form can result in your insurance carrier refusing to cover your medical costs, as well as cause you additional coverage problems down the road. Most benign breast problems can be resolved using homemade and nondrug treatments: herbs, massage, compresses, and homeopathic remedies.

If you experience fever, get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids to help flush the infection from your system. Also follow the recommendations for echinacea and vitamin C below:

  • CABBAGE Place raw cabbage leaves in your bra to relieve the inflammation associated with mastitis.
  • CALENDULA Apply calendula cream to the nipples after every feeding.
  • ECHINACEA To help eliminate an acute infection, take 1 drop of tincture for every 2 pounds of body weight on the following schedule: dose every 2 hours for 1 to 2 days, then every 3 hours for 1 to 2 days, then every 4 hours for 1 to 2 days, then three times for a day, then twice a day, then once a day for a week.
  • HOMEOPATHY Homeopathic remedies include belladonna, bryonia, and phytolacca. Consult a homeopath.

    How to treat mastitis
    How to treat mastitis
  • HONEYSUCKLE A Chinese remedy uses honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) to fight mastitis bacteria. Prepare a standard infusion using the dried flowers and drink 1 to 4 cups daily.
  • LEMON To help prevent infection, rub your nipples with lemon juice.
  • POTATO To draw out the heat of inflammation, make a poultice of grated raw potato and place on the breast.
  • VITAMIN C Take 1000 milligrams with bioflavonoids three times daily.

 Optional Video : Signs and Symptoms of Mastitis | CloudMom