Mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary glands that can affect any female mammal.
In women, this inflammation usually occurs in the puerperium phase (postpartum period), but it can occur at any stage during the breastfeeding period. This inflammation is caused by the action of several microorganisms, Staphylococcus aureus being the infectious agent in 50% of cases.
Mastitis is usually accompanied by factors such as breast engorgement (insufficient milk extraction by the baby), obstruction of the breast ducts, stress, fatigue and nipple fissures. Many experts believe that the wrong way in which the mother holds the baby at the time of breastfeeding is the cause of nipple injuries and breast engorgement. Once injured, the nipples become a gateway for microorganisms that can cause mastitis.
The symptoms of mastitis are: hardened breast regions, redness, tenderness, pain and swelling of the breasts, followed by fever, chills, malaise, prostration and asthenia.
Depending on the degree of infection, the specialist doctor will prescribe the most appropriate treatment. Local massages are usually prescribed to stimulate the production of oxytocin and facilitate the fluidization of milk. Following the massages, the mother should milk, drink plenty of fluids and rest. In some cases, the doctor may prescribe the use of antipyretics, analgesics and antibiotics compatible with breastfeeding.
Doctors recommend that a mother does not stop breastfeeding during mastitis, even if she is on prescription medication. The presence of drug toxins in milk is minimal and does not interfere with the baby’s health. Interruption of feedings during treatment can lead to the formation of abscesses, causing psychophysiological problems for both mother and baby.
The best way to avoid this type of inflammation is to hold the baby correctly, so that he can suckle more milk without causing nipple injuries or breast engorgement.
Mastitis is an infection that also affects females of other species of mammals. In dairy herds, mastitis has a high incidence, which causes many economic losses.