A breast abscess is a painful infection brought on by bacteria. The type of bacteria that most frequently produces breast infection is Staphylococcus aureus. Bacteria can enter through a crack in the skin of the breast or on the nipple. The resulting infection, called mastitis, invades the fatty tissue of the breast, leading to swelling and pressure on the milk ducts. An abscess is a hollow space in the breast that becomes filled with pus from the infected milk ducts. A breast abscess can develop in the presence of severe mastitis.
Breast infection can affect all women but occurs most often in women who are breastfeeding. A small percentage, 2% to 3%, of breastfeeding (lactating) women typically experience mastitis. In lactating women, an abscess can be successfully treated with antibiotics, but usually also requires surgical drainage. Your health care provider may tell you to temporarily stop breastfeeding if you have an abscess.
Enlargement of breast due to swelling, lumps or painful abscess formation on the breast, itching, tenderness of breast, and fever are some of the symptoms of breast abscess. The lump gets swollen and hot to touch hence can cause high fever or flu like symptoms. Pus is formed inside the abscess and sometimes there can be discharge from nipple. The lymph nodes on the armpit can get swollen and painful making it difficult to lift the hand.
Breast abscess is caused by staphylococcus aureus bacterial infection. It enters the breast through minute cracks of the nipple and feeds on the milk ducts. A mother who is diabetic has increased risk of developing mastitis causing abscess or plugged ducts. Similarly mothers who have undergone surgery on the breast and breast implants have more chances for getting breast abscess.
Smoking and intake of powerful corticosteroids can cause infection leading to breast abscess.
Young mothers often have knowledge of the pathology of breast abscesses and will consult a professional prior to the development of the abscess. Also, when a patient consults a doctor or gynecologist, it is to put an end to the pain, often intense, caused by mastitis. The diagnosis will be confirmed after a simple clinical examination. Additional tests are generally unnecessary.
In rare cases breast abscess can become chronic infection causing painful swollen breast. It can disfigure the breast area with chronic pain and if not attended properly it may cause sepsis which is a bacterial blood infection.
In the case of mastitis - that is to say a simple inflammation of the breast without abscess - breastfeeding can be continued after the patient is reminded of how to properly give the breast to the infant. Local treatment by applying warm compresses to promote the expansion of ducts associated with pain treatment by anti-inflammatory drugs is recommended. If breast abscesses are found, hospitalization is necessary to drain the abscess by surgery and antibiotics are given intravenously. In case of a breast abscess, breastfeeding is prohibited.
It is possible to prevent the occurrence of breast abscesses. To do this, young mothers should be informed of how to breastfeed correctly and pay special attention to the position they choose to breastfeed as well as the hygiene of their chest. The application of a restorative cream after each feeding is sometimes recommended.
You can apply raw honey on the abscess since honey is an excellent antibiotic for curing bacterial infection. Apply warm or cold compress on the affected area to reduce pain and swelling. You can take warm showers followed by application of cold compress to get relief. Avoid breastfeeding the child if you have developed lumps or abscess on the breast area.
For women who are not breastfeeding can apply moisturizing cream on the nipples to prevent cracking and drying.