I apologize if this is too much info, but wanted to give a clear picture of what is going on. I can't seem to find any information on my specific symptoms, have gone through several rounds of treatment and I'm getting very disheartened.
On December 26 (my DD 3rd birthday), when my son was about 8 months old, I woke up in the wee hours of the morning with an achy breast and mild to moderate pain in my nipple. My son had bitten me the day before, so my midwife NP figured it was a staff infection. (Looking back, I wonder if I had the beginning stages of mastitis as I was also nauseas and achy- but I had a bday party to put on, so I pushed that aside!) I did a 5 day round of abx, it got somewhat better, but I still experienced an occasional achy breast and occasional burning/stinging/raw nipple, particularly at latch on and detachment.
After about 3 weeks, I called my midwife again, thinking maybe it was thrush, so I took 2 days worth of diflucam. It got a little better, but not really, and symptoms returned rather quickly.
A couple weeks after diflucam, I started a topical antibiotic for 7 or 10 days (I can't remember exactly). It helped a bit, but still, symptoms persisted.
At that point I gave up, thinking that I would just need to live with it. It isn't debilitating, I can still nurse, baby seemed fine, I thought maybe this is what it is like to nurse a younger baby with teeth (my DD didn't teeth until late). Also at some point, I think after the topical, I developed a white spot on the nipple which my midwife believes might be congealed milk trying to surface.
Then mastitis set in, and oh, that was miserable. It started on a Tuesday night, I began abx the next day, felt better by Thursday, then had a recurrence on the following Sunday. I upped my abx (all of course as directed by midwife), and it finally subsided, but I was knocked on my ass for 2 days with the "flu recovery" symptoms. I took a large dose of the abx for 10 days. I had one day with no symptoms, then towards the end of my round of abx, I started having all the precursor symptoms again that I have had since December 26th (achy breast, raw nipple, white spot on nipple). Sometimes the achy-ness is also in my armpit.
I have since started lecithin to thin out my breast milk to see if that would help. I've been on a large dose for the past week, and while I have certainly seen improvement, I still have occasional achy breast and nipple pain. The white spot has remained constant.
HAS ANYONE EXPERIENCED THIS OR SOMETHING LIKE IT?? I can't seem to find any information. It's clearly not thrush. Perhaps an abscess? A deep infection? Both in my own exam and my midwife exam, we have found no lumps. Could it be a strange cancer?
I am planning to get an ultrasound done on both breasts next week.
I've also consulted with two lactation consultants, they didn't have much to offer in the way of suggestions and seemed pretty stumped too.
I'm very nervous about getting mastitis again. I just want this to be over. I've considered weaning, but both baby and I are definetly not ready for it. It tears me up to even think of it. And without knowing exactly what is going on, who knows if weaning will be the answer? And would I put myself at more risk for mastitis if I did wean? Or is it more risky to continue nursing if recurring mastitis for mysterious reasons is always lurking around the corner??
My son is almost 11 months and I am very committed to making it 12 months nursing. After that, I'd be more open to weaning, even though I hate the thought of mother-led weaning.
Should I get a second opinion? If so, from whom?? My limited experience with doctors is that they know very little about nursing in general. As I mentioned above, my midwife is a nurse practitioner and I trust her, she's awesome, I'm just getting frustrated as nothing seems to be working. Should I see an OBGYN? Is there such a thing as doctor who specializes in breast care?
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and for your insights!!
I have not had a culture. Would that be looking for thrush? I've been told by my midwife and 2 lactation consultants that my symptoms don't sound like thrush, particularly since it's been in just the one breast and my son seems fine.
I forgot to mention- since the most recent mastitis occurrences, I have also been on a topical antibiotic/antifungal compound. I've continued that past the abx run since I still have symptoms. I apply 3x/day.
I don't know if you have solved your problem by now but that sounds like a combo plugged duct/milk bleb (blister) to me. I know you said that you and your midwife didn't find any lumps but that doesn't mean that there isn't one deep inside or its very tiny and hiding amongst regular breat tissue. It def doesn't sound like thrush to me. If the white spot is still there, you can use a sterilized needle to carefully open the skin so that the milk can get through. You might want to soak your breast afterwards to soften any hard milk under the skin.
Have you contacted any La Leche League leaders in your area? They are often my go-to resource and seem to know much more about breastfeeding challenges than a midwife or LC. I would also see if your library has "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding". It's published by LLL and is a wonderful resource for fixing common breast-feeding problems.
I hope that you have healed up and this is all unnecessary now.
Maria , wife to A , mama to DS M 8/09 and DS L 6/12
Everything will be ok in the end. If it's not ok, then it's not the end - Paolo Coelho