post mastitis problem - Mothering Forums

post mastitis problem

tanjarine's Avatar tanjarine (TS)
12:38 AM Liked: 10
#1 of 11
09-15-2005 | Posts: 572
Joined: Apr 2003
Ok i will try and keep this short, last friday i noticed my breast was feeling tender.. having had plugged ducts a few times over my ten years of breastfeeding, I knew well enough that i should rest drink lots of water and nurse my babe. But instead we went hiking for the afternoon, grocery shopping.. all the usual things.. and by the time i got home i was shivering.. nauseas.. sweating.. and my breast really hurt.. I spent the next two days feeling achey, fevery, chilly, sweaty, restless and exhausted. I took advil a few times and homeopathic phytolacca decandra for the plugged duct.. i actually rested as much as possible and nursed even though it was so painful as much as possible. By Sunday i was feeling much better and up and about and no more fever. By monday i felt fine but my nipple was still tender..By wednesday i feel 95% better but NOW i have a hard lump right behind my areola that feels like a wad of gum.. that i can move around slightly.. and it hasnt changed in size and it hurts to apply pressure to it. It is attached to inside parts of my breast (like the milk ducts etc)
What the heck is it? I know its not meant to be there because there isnt one on the other breast.
I dont want to go to my family doctor because he literally knows nothing about breastfeeding/breasts or women in general.. and i dont want to bother my midwifes because i know they are crazy busy and i havent been there client for 18 months.
So i dont know what to do..Im not in pain but im starting to worry that i have a cyst or worse. Is it just normal after mastitis to still have a lump?
I would appreciate any perspective...
thank you
Lucky's Avatar Lucky
11:04 AM Liked: 0
#2 of 11
09-15-2005 | Posts: 691
Joined: Nov 2004
Your experience with mastitis seems all too familiar to me. It's been nearly 2 years, but I remember the pain like it was yestersday. However, I don't remember any specific lump after all other symptoms were gone.

Is the lump still there? has it changed at all?

I hope everything is better, soon.
tanjarine's Avatar tanjarine (TS)
01:57 PM Liked: 10
#3 of 11
09-15-2005 | Posts: 572
Joined: Apr 2003
the lump is still there and hasnt changed.. even if i could get an appt with our doctor it would be ridiculous to try and go with all my little ones.. i always end up sitting in the waiting room for an hour or more.
jerawo's Avatar jerawo
06:09 PM Liked: 10
#4 of 11
09-15-2005 | Posts: 1,438
Joined: Jan 2003
It could be a breast abcess. I know it's talked about in the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, but my copy in where DS is sleeping so I can't fetch it. I seem to remember that some women develop abcesses after plugged ducts or mastitis, which is the main reason you want to treat both of those conditions quickly and thoroughly. I bet kellymom would have more info for you.

Hope it gets better!
mamabella's Avatar mamabella
08:17 PM Liked: 0
#5 of 11
09-15-2005 | Posts: 345
Joined: Dec 2004
Oh mama the exact same thing happened to me over the course of a 4 month battle with mastitis - I am so sorry! I know how frustrating and painful it can be. I will try to make this short and sweet but I think this will be a long post - if you ever want to PM me with more questions feel free.

When I got mastitis ds was 2 days old nd I was told for two weeks that nursing is supposed to hurt and that it was just my milk coming in. I tried everything to get rid of it and everytime I would finish a course of treatment (homeopathic, conventional, etc. you name it) I would feel better and resume light activity and it would come back. I basically spent the first four months of my ds's life in bed.

However, over the course of the illness I had a lump under the surface of my skin that was about an inch above my right nipple. It became bigger as time went on and I felt it more when my breast was empty. It wasn't extremely painful but it was achy to the touch.

Eventually after my midwives gave up trying to treat it, I went to an ob/gyn and he told me it was a galactocele - which is a milk cyst. He took a big needly (brace yourself) stuck it into my breast and extracted about 28cc's of yellowish-greenish milk from it. He said that it should get better but that it might not completely go away until I stopped breastfeeding as it essentially was filling up with milk every time I let down since there was probably a milk duct connecting to it.

Well it came back within a few hours so I went back to the ob/gyn and did the evil needle procedure four more times (over the next few weeks) during which he still extracted 25-25cc's of fluid each time until he finally tested the milk and found staph bacteria in it and told me it was an abscess. At that point he told me that what was once a pea sized plugged duct was now a staph infection in my breast that my boddy had essentially walled off to protect it. The skin above the lump was bright red and achy.

The OB/GYN had to cut a 1/2 inch incision in the top of my breast over the lump, drain off the infected fluid (mix of pus and milk) and then packed the reamining hole (which was about the size of a golf ball) with sterile gauze tape soaked with iodine/betadine. He left a piece of the tape sticking out of the hole so it wouldn't heal and could drain as moe milk/pus accumulated. This procedure was done in his office under local topical anesthesia - he injected some lidocane where he made the incision - and it hurt like hell.

Then for the next two weeks I had to go back to his office every day to have the tape removed and the hole in my breast repacked with more sterile tape. He gave me Vicodin for the pain - but I only took half of a pill for the first two re-packing sessions (it didn't really do much to dull the pain and I didn't want to pass it on to my babe). During this time, the hole in my breast was shrinking but didn't completely go away.

So I ended up getting referred to a surgeon who was awful and told me that I had to give up breastfeeding for the problem to ever go away and said that it was silly that I continue to breastfeed at that point anyway (he was 2 1/2 months old). She said I could also stop nursing on that side and supplement with formula - bottom line - she didn't know what she was talking about. She basically took out the sterile tape and said - well the hole is small enough to close so let it close and stop breastfeeding.

Well at this point I had asked everyone and their mother for advice including La Leche League - unfortunately no one in my area had ever had an abscess so I had very little to go on. During the whole ordeal I nursed on both sides, including the side with the abcess - and I am still nursing.

I was lucky because my lump was far enough back from my areola where the incision could be bandaged and I could still manage to nurse (though it looked quite gross). I have heard over the course of my research that if an abscess is closer to the areola it is harder to continue nursing on that side after surgical intervention.

Hopefully what you have is a blocked duct or a milk cyst - but if it is an abscess and you do seek treatment medically, don't believe them when they tell you you have to stop breastfeeding - even The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and Nursing Mother's Companion scared me in their summary of Breast Abcesses. They are depicted as though they never happen to women and mean the end of the nursing relationship - don't believe it!

Good luck (and sorry for the long post)! If you need more resources I can look some of my links up if you would be interested.
tanjarine's Avatar tanjarine (TS)
01:16 PM Liked: 10
#6 of 11
09-16-2005 | Posts: 572
Joined: Apr 2003
ooo my.. well that does sound like what is happening with me, although mine is fairly small.
Thank you so much for sharing what happened to you, and im sorry you went through so much when your baby was so small.. my nursling is now 19 months and she is my last.
The idea of needles and breasts and surgery is too scary for me to imagine. And all too often you hear of people having an abscess drained just to have it come back again.. soo since it is not causing me pain or fever and hasnt grown i am going to leave it at that and if its still there when my daughter self weans then i will deal with it then. I am going to work on building my immune system and detoxing my system gently..
Having surgery or incisions of any kind is way more than i can handle at this point with all my responsibilities.
I did find this interesting link at kellymom now that i knew what i was looking for :
breast abscess mastitis
My question is where do you get a staph infection from?
Thank you to everyone for their advice i truly appreciate it so much, no one i know in person has been able to help.

Isnt that
tanjarine's Avatar tanjarine (TS)
01:22 PM Liked: 10
#7 of 11
09-16-2005 | Posts: 572
Joined: Apr 2003
i wanted to add.. i think this is a result of my daughter becoming a 'lazy nurser' not making a good latch and not opening her mouth wide.. so i wasnt draining my breast properly. now i am careful to make her open wide and be gentle.
mavery's Avatar mavery
12:00 AM Liked: 12
#8 of 11
09-18-2005 | Posts: 1,633
Joined: Jun 2005
Just wanted to add... I had a lump after a breast-infection and my nurse-practitioner told me that could be normal. After a week or so, she sent me for a breast ultrasound because it hadn't gone away. The u/s showed it was nothing, just something left over from the infection and it faded over the course of a month or so. The lump wasn't really painful, but it was tender, especially for the first week or two, I think.
mamabella's Avatar mamabella
02:54 AM Liked: 0
#9 of 11
09-19-2005 | Posts: 345
Joined: Dec 2004
Yeah that is what they told me would happen originally - that it would just go away. Unfortunately I was the minority that got worse....

And about the staph - I think the OB/GYN told me that is just the bacteria that causes the infection - it is either staph or strept or both I think. If I recall he told me that sometimes with women with severely cracked nipples (which I went through since I had mastitis while my breasts were still getting used to nursing and had lots of latch issues with the sore nipples/breasts) the bacteria can travel from the baby's mouth through the crack into the breast. But that is just one theory specific to my case - he also said that is just the bacteria associated with the infection.

Some of the more successful things that I tried that seemed to alleviate the pain, mastitis, etc:

-getting as much rest as possible and lying down as much as possible
-relaxing - especially when nursing
-Adding a lecithin supplement to my diet - I used to put a few tbsp of the granules in my oatmeal or yogurt to improve my milk flow - it is a fat emulsifier and can sometimes help to get rid of plugged ducts
-eating whole garlic cloves (gross but it actually helped)

Things that did not help me were hot showers, heat, ice, cabbage leaves, antibiotics, frozen pea packs, and others.
mamabella's Avatar mamabella
02:56 AM Liked: 0
#10 of 11
09-19-2005 | Posts: 345
Joined: Dec 2004
Oh and I almost forgot - I actually emailed Dr. Jack Newman in one of my moments of desperation and he emailed me back (mostly with links to his website and his book but he had some helpful things to say) - I think on his website there is a link to email him if you want more advice.
tanjarine's Avatar tanjarine (TS)
02:49 PM Liked: 10
#11 of 11
10-06-2005 | Posts: 572
Joined: Apr 2003
just wanted to let you all know that the lump slowly shrank and dissappeared over a few weeks and has been fine since.. thank you so much for all your advice.. ive been making sure my dd has a better latch so we can avoid this problem again .. and i really think the homeopathic remedy helped
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