Breastfeeding? That Hot, Hard, Painful Lump in Your Breast Might Be an Abscess
Mastitis is an infection that causes breast inflammation and makes you feel flu-like all over, while a breast abscess is a painful, walled-off collection of pus that is treatable but does not mean the end of breastfeeding.
How can you tell the difference between an abscess and mastitis?
“An abscess is a walled-off collection of pus in the breast,” says Amelia Henning, a certified nurse midwife and lactation specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Does a breast abscess feel hard?
Mastitis that occurs during breast-feeding is also known as lactation mastitis, and it usually affects women who are producing milk and breast-feeding. It causes a hard, sore spot inside the breast, which can be caused by a blocked milk duct or bacteria entering the breast through a break in the skin.
How do you treat a breast abscess at home?
To relieve pain and swelling, apply ice or a cold pack to your breast for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, in between feedings if you’re breastfeeding. Place a thin cloth between the ice and your skin. If pus is draining from your infected breast, gently wash the nipple and let it air dry before putting your bra back on.
How do you get rid of a breast abscess?
Lactational breast abscesses are currently treated with incision and drainage or needle aspiration, with or without diagnostic ultrasound, and antibiotics may or may not be prescribed. Incision and drainage involves cutting open the abscess with a scalpel (blade) and draining the infected fluid.
What happens if a breast abscess is left untreated?
If left untreated, a subareolar breast abscess can develop into a fistula, which is an abnormal hole from the duct to the skin. If the infection is severe enough, nipple inversion can occur, which is when the nipple is drawn into the breast tissue rather than pointing out.
Should I go to the ER for breast abscess?
Breast abscesses are one of the few breast-specific emergencies that necessitates immediate treatment in the emergency room, and ultrasound is used to diagnose them.
Do breast abscesses go away?
An abscess in a lactating woman can be successfully treated with antibiotics, but it usually requires surgical drainage as well. If you have an abscess, your health care provider may advise you to temporarily stop breastfeeding. An abscess in a non-breastfeeding woman is generally considered a benign lesion of the breast.
Can a breast abscess burst?
If an abscess is not drained, it may grow larger and fill with pus until it bursts, which can be extremely painful; however, if an abscess is allowed to burst and drain of pus on its own, there is a risk that it will not drain properly, causing the abscess to return or the infection to spread.
Can antibiotics cure breast abscess?
Antibiotics are the first line of treatment for breast abscesses; if mastitis is detected early, antibiotic therapy may be enough to cure the problem without surgery; however, most women with a breast abscess will require an incision (cutting) and drainage.
How long does it take for a breast abscess to go away?
Before this procedure, your skin will be numbed; you will be able to go home the same day and may be given antibiotics to take at home; the abscess should heal completely in a few days or weeks. If possible, continue feeding with both breasts.
How long does it take for a breast abscess to heal?
The majority of isolated cases of breast abscess have good outcomes, but recurrent infections can cause pain, scarring, and a poor quality of life in women. Most patients recover from mastitis within 2-3 weeks.
Can a breast abscess make you sick?
Fever: Most people with a breast abscess will develop a fever and feel sicker than usual, and in rare cases, they may need to be admitted to the hospital for observation.
Is it OK to squeeze an abscess?
Squeezing the pus out of the abscess can easily spread the bacteria to other areas of your skin; if you use tissues to wipe the pus away from your abscess, throw them away right away to prevent germs from spreading.
What antibiotics treat breast abscess?
Although many antibiotics are secreted in milk, penicillin, cephalosporins, and erythromycin are considered safe. In the case of an abscess, aspiration of the pus, preferably under ultrasound control, has now supplanted open surgery as the first line of treatment.
Why does my breast abscess keep coming back?
Recurrent mastitis and breast abscesses can be caused by underlying breast lesions, as well as delayed, incomplete, or inappropriate therapy and chronic Staphylococcus infections .