Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast tissue, which may also involve an infection. Common symptoms include breast pain, swelling, warmth, and redness, often accompanied by fever and chills.

This condition can affect anyone, but it is most seen in women who are breastfeeding (known as lactation mastitis). Nevertheless, mastitis can also occur in women who are not breastfeeding and even in men.

Lactation mastitis can be challenging for a breastfeeding mother, as it can make her feel fatigued and unwell, making it difficult to care for her baby. In some cases, mastitis may lead a mother to wean her baby earlier than planned. However, it is advised to continue breastfeeding, even while undergoing antibiotic treatment for mastitis, as it benefits both the mother and the baby.


Signs and symptoms of mastitis can manifest suddenly and may include:

  • Swelling of the breast.
  • Tenderness of the breast or warmth to the touch
  • Pain or a burning sensation continuously or while breast-feeding.
  • Breast tissue thickening, or a breast lump.
  • Skin redness, often in a wedge-shaped pattern
  • General feelings of unwellness.
  • Fever or flu-like symptoms

If you experience any breast symptoms that worry you, it is important to seek medical advice from your doctor.


The primary cause of mastitis is milk that becomes trapped in the breast. Other contributing factors may include:

  • Blocked milk duct: One of the milk ducts may clog when a breast does not completely empty during feedings. A breast infection results from the milk building up due to this obstruction.
  • Bacteria in the breast: Bacteria from your skin and baby’s mouth can enter the milk ducts through a crack in your nipple or a milk duct opening. If milk stays in the breast without being fully emptied, it gives these bacteria a chance to grow and multiply.

Risk factors

The following risk factors of mastitis includes:

  • Nipples that are sore or cracked, however mastitis can still occur without skin breaks.
  • History of mastitis while breast-feeding
  • The use of a seat belt, a tight-fitting bra, or placing pressure on the breast while carrying a large bag can all prevent milk production.
  • Improper nursing technique
  • Exhausted or stressed.
  • Having poor nutrition
  • Smoking