In this article we discuss:
Breastfeeding isn’t always sunshine and flowers. One of the most common and painful issues is a blocked or clogged milk duct, if left untreated this could lead to breast infections and Mastitis, which then requires a visit to the GP and possibly antibiotics.
Blocked milk ducts happen when a milk duct in your breast gets clogged or has poor drainage and inhibits the milk flow. It can occur if your breast isn’t completely emptied after a feed, if your baby skips a feed if you or your baby are having breastfeeding difficulties, or if you’re under stress — which can be common in new mums. Tight clothing or constrictive clothing can also cause unnecessary pressure.
Symptoms can come on slowly and generally affect just one breast.
You may experience:
Milk stasis is a primary cause of mastitis. Mastitis, an inflammation of the breast, is secondary to milk stasis.
Mastitis symptoms may include a red, swollen area on one breast (usually not both) that can feel hot and painful when you touch it. (nct.org.uk)
Symptoms may come on suddenly and include:
When should I go to the doctor for a clogged milk duct?
*IMPORTANT NOTE*: If your blocked ducts are accompanied by a fever, intense pain, and swollen, red breasts, or if you have a history of mastitis you should consult your doctor immediately. This could be a huge risk factor for further bacterial infection and signs of infection should be closely monitored not to compromise your health. In this case, although not ideal, antibiotics might be needed.
If you can’t seem to unblock this by yourself, here at The Osteopathic Centre, we have various treatment options to reduce the risk of further complications, including therapeutic ultrasound, to ease the discomfort of blocked ducts.
Why not speak to one of our experienced Osteopaths to see if we could help?
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Updated: July 2021