Inflammatory breast cancer, a rare kind of the disease, can also exhibit redness and swelling at first and first resemble mastitis. The following procedure will assist the healthcare provider to properly diagnose mastitis.
- Physical Examination: The healthcare provider will conduct a clinical examination of the breast, focusing on identifying signs of inflammation such as redness, localized tenderness, increased warmth, engorgement, and swelling. Additionally, any signs of nipple damage will be noted.
- Culture test: A sample of your breast milk may be collected for a culture test. This helps the doctor determine the most effective antibiotic treatment, particularly in cases of severe infection.
- Imaging Test: The healthcare provider may recommend imaging tests like mammography, ultrasound, or both. These tests are important to rule out any potential malignant involvement or breast cancer.
- Biopsy: If symptoms persist even after completing the antibiotic course, a biopsy may be necessary to definitively rule out breast cancer as the cause of the symptoms.
The treatment for mastitis aims to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain while also preventing the occurrence of infection. Treatment may include the following:
- Antibiotics: A 10-day antibiotic program is often needed in infections. To reduce the risk of recurrence, it is essential to finish the entire course of medicine that has been given. It is crucial to follow up with a healthcare provider for additional assessment and care if the mastitis symptoms continue despite taking antibiotics.
- Pain relievers: The healthcare provider may suggest an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to help manage the discomfort associated with mastitis.
Continuing to breastfeed while experiencing mastitis is safe and can even aid in clearing the infection. Abruptly weaning your baby is likely to exacerbate your symptoms and make the condition worse. Therefore, it is recommended to continue breastfeeding to help alleviate the mastitis and support your overall health.
Patients may receive a referral to a lactation consultant from their doctor to receive assistance and ongoing support. Some recommendations for modifying breast-feeding techniques could involve the following:
- Avoiding breast engorgement: Encourage frequent, regular feedings to prevent excessive breast fullness before breastfeeding sessions.
- Correct latch-on technique: Ensure your infant latches onto the breast correctly, even when dealing with engorgement. If needed, consider expressing a small amount of milk by hand before nursing to facilitate proper latch.
- Breast massage during feeding or pumping: Employ gentle massage from the affected area towards the nipple while breastfeeding or pumping to alleviate discomfort and aid milk flow.
- Complete breast drainage: To promote optimal milk removal, ensure the breast is thoroughly emptied during each feeding. Applying warm, moist heat to the breast before nursing or pumping can help with challenging areas.
- Strategic feeding on the affected side: Begin breastfeeding on the engorged or tender side first, when your baby is hungrier and more eager to nurse, which may improve milk removal and reduce discomfort.
- Varied breastfeeding positions: Experiment with different breastfeeding positions to identify the most comfortable and effective one for both mother and baby.