Mastitis: Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment


Mastitis is an infection in the breasts that attacks mainly breastfeeding women.  It usually occurs during the first three months after delivery when the mother produces milk. There is a hard spot inside the breast if you have mastitis.  Though it is rare, but mastitis can also affect women who are not lactating. This infection happens when one milk duct is blocked.

Mastitis can spread rapidly once it affects you. There are many symptoms of this infection like chills, pain in the affected breast, swelling etc. Mastitis can have flu like symptoms as well.  There are natural remedies for treating mastitis. When these remedies do not work, doctors usually suggest antibiotics for treating mastitis. A few simple preventive steps can be taken to ensure the milk duct is not blocked.

What is Mastitis?

Inflammation of the breast tissue is called mastitis. It is an infection of the mammary glands in your breasts. It is very common in the first three months after giving birth. Mastitis happens in usually one breast at a time. Rarely, mastitis may also affect women who are not breastfeeding and sometimes even males.  Mastitis usually occurs during the phase of weaning the baby, but it can occur after that as well. This infection of the breast can cause women to feel very tired and make the process of lactation extremely painful. This is why many mothers give up on breastfeeding even before they want.



  • There will be extreme pain in one area of your breast if you have mastitis. The spot will be hard to touch. This is the primary symptom of this kind of infection.
  • Swelling and redness also accompany pain in the infected area.
  • Mastitis affected part of your breast might also feel warm when you touch.
  • There can be reddish streaks in the affected breast.
  • Pus can also drain from the breast infected with mastitis.
  • Cracked nipple is also a symptom of this condition.
  • The lymph nodes of your neck and underarm can also swell in this situation. It is a potent symptom.
  • You can also experience flu like symptoms, like chills and high fever.
  • Pain and fatigue can also be symptoms of mastitis.
  • You can also feel a burning sensation during breastfeeding, or all the time. Burning sensation is definitely an indication of this kind of breast infection.
  • Sometimes even anxiety and stress can be symptoms of mastitis. If you feel anxious and stressed together with any of the other symptoms, you should definitely consult your doctor.


Mastitis can easily be cured with natural non-medicine treatment. There are many home remedies such as:

  • Lactating mothers catch mastitis because they are not nursing often. One of the best natural remedy for mastitis is resting and nursing as much as you could. Not breastfeeding sufficiently will keep the milk clogged up in the ducts. This will cause infection in the breast. The milk has to flow constantly to treat the infection.
  • Both heat and cold therapy work as excellent remedy for this kind of infection. Applying heat on the affected area of the breast right before nursing will help the milk to flow easily and without pain. After breastfeeding, you can apply ice pack on your breast to reduce the swelling. Doing this alternately is very effective in treating mastitis.
  • Drinking plenty of water is very necessary to treat mastitis. Water helps the body to fight any kind of infection and boost milk supply. Therefore, if you have mastitis you need to have sufficient water to successfully cure the infection.
  • Vitamin C capsules are also very effective in fighting the infection of mammary glands. Check with your physician before taking any supplement or capsules.
  • Often lactation consultants suggest using cold cabbage leaves on the infected area. This is a home remedy that can fight infections of the breast quite effectively. However, cabbage leaves might also dry up your breast milk. It is best to consult a doctor before applying this home remedy.
  • Massaging the affected area of the breast is one of the best remedy for mastitis. This brings down the swelling as well as makes the milk flow easily through the ducts. Massage in small circles and apply little bit more pressure on the swollen red area.
  • Raw garlic is a powerful home remedy for treating mastitis because of its antibiotic properties. You can consume two cloves of raw garlic every morning in an empty stomach. Doing this everyday for a week will cure the infection. Ask your doctor for best advice.

If the home remedies do not seem to work and your condition worsens, you should get immediate medical attention. Anti biotic treatment is necessary in that case.



  • Avoid wearing tight clothes and bras. This might put pressure on your breast and can lead to the clogging up of milk duct. Wear loose comfortable undergarments and clothes.
  • It is very important to ensure that your bay’s lips attach properly to your nipples. Most of the time mastitis occurs in lactating mothers because the babies do not attach to the breast properly and suck insufficient amount of milk. This leads to the excess milk backing up in the duct.
  • Make sure to fully drain the milk from your breasts.
  • You can change your position while breastfeeding from one bout to the next.
  • Make your baby empty the milk from one breast entirely before moving on the next.
  • Never let your breasts become too full with milk. Pump out the excess milk between feeding.
  • Taking plenty of rest is must if you want to prevent mastitis. Being exhausted can lead to infection when you are breastfeeding. Eating healthy is equally important.


Mastitis can be extremely painful, especially if you are nursing your little one. You may feel run down and too ill to look after your baby. It is very important to notice the symptoms and start self help home remedy to cure this. If the infection still persists, notify the doctor to get immediate treatment. An untreated mastitis might need surgery. If you have recurring mastitis you must consult with your doctor. It might be an indication of breast tumor in rare cases.