An infected area of breast tissue that becomes filled with pus when the body fights the infection. It involves breast tissue, milk glands, and milk ducts.
FREQUENT SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- Breast pain, tenderness, redness or hardness.
- Fever and chills.
- A general ill feeling.
- Tender lymph glands in the underarm area.
Bacteria that enter the breast through the nipple (usually a cracked nipple during the early days of breast-feeling).
RISK INCREASES WITH
- Postpartum pelvic infection.
- Diabetes mellitus.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Use of steroid medication.
- Heavy cigarette smoking.
- Lumpectomy with radiation.
- Silicone implants.
- Clean the nipples and breasts thoroughly and after nursing.
- Lubricate the nipples after nursing with vitamin A & D ointment or other topical medication if recommended.
- Avoid clothing that irritates the breasts.
- Don’t allow a nursing infant to chew nipples.
Usually curable in 8 to 10 days with treatment. Draining the abscess is occasionally necessary to hasten healing.
- It is rarely necessary to discontinue breastfeeding even with severe infection. Occasionally, certain antibiotics (especially tetracycline) and pain relievers will require that breast-feeding be discontinued for a brief period of time and it will be necessary to pump the breasts.
- Rarely, a fistula (abnormal passage between two organs or between the body and the outside) may develop.
- Use warm water (or cold water if it is more soothing) soaks to relieve pain and hasten healing.
- Discontinue nursing the baby from the infected breast until it heals. Use a breast until you can resume nursing on that side.
- Surgery to drain the abscess (infrequent).
- Antibiotics, if needed to fight infection.
- Prescription pain medication should generally be required only for 2 to 7 days following the procedure.
After treatment, resume normal activity as soon as symptoms improve.
No special diet.
NOTIFY OUR OFFICE IF
- You or a family member has symptoms of a breast abscess.
- Any of the following occur during treatment:
- Pain becomes unbearable.
- Infection seems to be spreading, despite treatment.
- Symptoms don’t improve in 72 hours.
- New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drug used in treatment may produce side effects.