Abscess Sufferers

(161 Posts)
mariasmummy Wed 09-Dec-09 16:06:14

Hello,

If anyone has experience with an abscess please post me your story. I am 2 weeks post op with a reasonably large wound and I think i am looking at 1-2 months of healing.I cannot breastfeed from the infected breast as hole is so close to nipple and a lot of leaking (either milk or pus or bodily fluids) doctors say don't feed from it, nurses and counselors say do and general asdvice is get the milk out. Most sane people would stop breastfeeding after this but I'm keen to see it through and am feeding baby fine from other breast with occasional top ups. Baby is fine but I wish I had taken care of myself and got to doctors earlier.

All the best,
Mariasmummy

nicnac73 Wed 09-Dec-09 19:14:30

H mariasmummy... I just noticed you started a new thread so I'll copy my posting from the other one:

I just got back from the hospital so forgive if a bit wobbly - just had sedation this time. Apparently I was talking all through the op but I don't remember anything - how bizarre. I had my 2nd op 2 weeks ago and since then it has healed really quickly but I am afraid yes it was 4 months ago and its still not over. Today they sewed the hole up and hopefully this will mean no more daily packing and might look better but hey, my glamour modelling days are over (wink) and its on the side so only my nearest and dearest will see it. Undoubtedly this time it has been easier because there wasn't the complication of the milk.

Breast feeding is so emotive and political that this situation is a real test of your own instincts. I was told by NCT counsellor that I could carry on breast feeding through this awful time. When you are in this situation you are so vulnerable (not to mention all those hormones raging) but now with the benefit of hindsight I can't believe the so called 'advice' I was given always conflicting. How did the NCT telephone counsellor know what bug had infected me!!!? She had hardly done a biopsy!! One doctor told me it could be an E.coli that had got in there!! The point is all science seems to go out of the window. Looking back I can't believe I was not advised to stop breast feeding and I was told it was 'my choice' so of course I felt really guilty. Every abscess is different. Some people who obviously receive prompt treatment and damage is limited manage to carry on however, it depends on your particular circumstance. I wish the medical profession could give better more objective and scientific advice but unfortunately they let us Mums carry the burden of all the guilt. My wound was massive and weeped blood, exudate and milk for weeks on end. I couldn't go out of the house as the dressing would leek after 4 hours. I actually took tablets to sway the milk away called cabergoline and that was very traumatic as well. They weren't that effective though and the pain of engorgement on top of the wound was excruciating for about 2-3 days but lets face it its all bloody painful. My milk even came back a a little bit after about 2 weeks

I felt I really had no option to bottle feed which I really don't regret and as time passes I feel more proud of myself for making the decision that everyone else was too scared to help me with. The pain of engorgement with an open wound was awful but it just didn't make logical, scientific sense to me that I would be able to heal from an open would if the milk ducts were exposed to the extent that they were. Also, my baby had dropped from the 65th centile for weight to the 9th by 5 weeks old. He was an emaciated little waif with stick arms and legs and sunken grey skin. I can't bare to look at the photos of him them. The breast feeding 'enthusiasts' were still telling me to carry on (and thus making me feel guilty)!! My maternal instinct and logic won out over all the guilt and I gave him a bottle and he was never happier and I can't imagine how much worse my own situation would have been if I had tried to battle on.

Also, I had been seperated from my baby in the hospital as I was put on a general ward for 24 hours and had spent loads of time before that going from one hospital to another so my milk supply had dwindled and obviously I struggled to get a letdown. I took my own breast pump to the hospital and the last time I used it was before the op to ease the engorgment and I got 10ml. The doctors on that ward were next to useless. I should have been on a maternity ward with my baby and then I might have had a chance, not a mixed ward with a loads of dirty old men listening in and useless junior doctors unfamiliar with how breast feeding works. We are mammals for goodness sake, don't they learn about this in medical school!

Every situation is different but I am proud of the decision I had to make and it is probably the most grown up and adult thing I have every had to do because nobody in the medical profession will do the kind thing and help you make the decision they just hide behind their political agenda or ignorance.

In terms of your healing Mariasmummy...I had the district nurses come for ages - about 12 weeks and they were great but unfortunately it didn't heal properly and left a 'track' inside which was revealed by the ultrasound I had at the private hospital. I found it too painful for them to pack it with gauze at the beginning so they were packing it with a gel, I suspect that that may have meant that it wasn't getting into all the crevices of a wound and collections were allowed to remain but I am only theorising. Towards the end of the 12 weeks it appeared to healing up and scarring over and then would start oozing again ( I now know this was because of the track.) it did actually heal over and I went back to work p/t and the day after it burst again and that's when I went to see the private consultant as I couldn't go back to the NHS hospital again it was so traumatic - far worse than my 28 hour labour followed by a emergency C-section.

If you are able to carry on breast feeding Mariasmummy through this then I take my hat off to you and you should probably get an award from Mumsnet or something.

I think lexilicious had a similar bad abscess is this right and did manage to carry on breast feeding ?

Sorry for long post - hope is useful

christiana Wed 09-Dec-09 19:19:41

Message withdrawn

nicnac73 Wed 09-Dec-09 19:52:06

The thing about abscesses is its so difficult to generalise. have the nurses and counsellors that are advising you to continue feeding seen your wound?

Mariasmummy
have you had the pathology report back on what bacteria you had in there and has it been swabbed again so that you know it is clear? Remember you are always at risk of re-infection with an open wound.

Kate Garraway from GMTV had a an abscess this year. GMTV aren't exactly renowned for going into too much detail but she did have two ops and did continue to breast feed. A friend of mine had it too and she has the tiniest puncture wound and managed to carry on. Mine was massive. Although it was very deep, when they got it out it was 3.5x3.5 cm cavity wound but as the pus came up to the surface it had spread laterally as well between the layers of the skin about 10cm diam circle. It looked like runny butter under clingfilm and afterwards it was red raw on the surface where the skin had peeled away, that was one of the worst bits,

Beware the general advice. Everyone should be able to see a breast specialist consultant who should advise on their specific case.

mariasmummy Wed 09-Dec-09 21:45:00

Wow Ninac I cannot believe your experience. I am so sorry the pain! AH. I am aware of re-infection and this is scary. I know the nurses have been packing the wound well and I know enough about abscesses to know this is important. It has closed 2 mm in 8 days. I am going to breast clinic at hospitl next week although i would like daily visits with them for reassurance.

Its amazing what women go through. I am able to feed baby from other breast easily so it seems easier to feed from there. I mean easier in terms of literally sitting in bed -healing- feeding from easy breast. But i keep asking doctors if i continue to feed will it hinder the healing beacuse i am very serious aout getting better and I would not want to compromise my own health at this point in order to carry on bf. No one has said carrying on with one breast will hinder my healing.

Lets stick together! I am scared to be alone and my mum and mother in law need to be here every day and my husband i need to be around constantly. Its fear of infection and fear of being a new mum, i have low confidence...

mariasmummy Wed 09-Dec-09 21:52:41

Sorry Ninac, hospital did say they would send off sample but have not heard back about that will ask next week.

Oh i really hope I don't need two ops! But am ready for it. I just hope the packing is wokring nurses say wound looks clean. Having packing done at surgery tomorow and seeing GP as well.

weasle Wed 09-Dec-09 22:18:31

mariasmummy and nicnac sorry to hear of your problems.

in my experience, the vast majority of doctors, including specialist breast surgeons, will say not to feed for ANY problems,as they no nothing about breastfeeding. Is it too painful/difficult to latch the baby on due to the site of the wound?

all wounds and all skin will have bacteria growing on it, so a swab may never be clear, and in the absence of further infection swab result will not be helpful anyway. if the nurses say the wound is clean and healing that that is very good and reassuring and a swab is not needed.

i hope it heals quickly and well done managing to continue to feed, i hope you can continue to do whatever you feel happy with.

Reesie Wed 09-Dec-09 22:30:28

I had a breast abscess follwing my first baby - aren't they joyful? hmm I haven't had time to read all the other posts but thought I'd let you know what happened to me.

Anyway - I saw a fab consultant breast surgeon who encouraged me to breastfeed and stated that as long as my milk wasn't blood stained at all then it would be ok to feed off the affected breast.

Importantly - you MUST pay attention to you latch - incorrect attachment of baby to the breast can cause problems with equal milk drainage around the breast. Get seen by a specialist breast feeding midwife. Your nipple should be the same shape coming out after a feed as it does going in. In retrospect I can now see that my attachmnet was appalling!

I carried on breastfeeding for 15 months. DD2 is now 7 months and I haven't had any other problems (except a couple of bouts of mastitis). I'm just in the middle of reading politics of breastfeeding - so will probably BF for a the next couple of years!

Well done for carrying on with the feeding

Lexilicious Wed 09-Dec-09 23:12:23

Hi, I've written about the timescale of my mastitis and abscess originally and recently here so I won't repeat that, but concerning whether or not to feed from the breast, here's what I thought:

The mastitis is caused by a blocked duct - if I don't keep milk flowing the blockage simply can't shift. (DS 6 wks)

OK, it doesn't want to shift and I'm on ABs that the doc warned might taste nasty in the milk and DS (8wks) might reject me (sniff). But he isn't rejecting, so I'll keep going.

The affected bit, once it had become infected/inflamed and was showing a 2cm diameter yellowish 'head', has gungy horrid milk/pus in there. But that's only one or two of many ducts - the ones still getting to the nipple are producing good milk so let's use it. (9wks)

Lab test on pus/milk came back blank - culture hadn't grown anything. So the infection is over and all that is going on now is the physical injury to the breast tissue (and the healing process). So I'll keep going.

Then about 4 weeks of waiting for the wound to close (5mm across at its worst but quite deep. I'll just soak away the stuff coming out of the side of the boob and keep using good stuff from other ducts coming down to the nipple.

14 wks - it's closed up but still a bit tender and a firm lump under the surface.

Now I have a scar and am still exclusively bf-ing DS at nearly 19 weeks.

OK, for a limited time only I am going to put a picture of the erupted boob on my profile... (weird, TMI, but I hope it helps?)

lucasmama08 Thu 10-Dec-09 12:19:04

I had a large breast abscess that ruptured by itself leaving a fistula (too lazy to type in the details, but i did post about it in reply to this thread and also a little here if you're interested)

Mine healed completely in 6 weeks but only after I stopped pumping (from both sides). It then healed up very quickly. However, I think the fact that it drained via a fistula rather than a surgical incision might have speeded the healing process - not that I would recommend it to anyone!!!

It took my consultant to impatiently snap "we're trying to save your breast" at me (in response to me being reluctant to stop pumping) to get me to give up my dream of bf-ing. In hindsight I am happy with my decision, although it was hard at the time. It also gave me the time I needed to rest and recuperate.

I am definitely not recommending you give up on bf-ing, although I do agree with nicnac73 in that you should get a special MN award if you do manage to continue!!!

Hope you feel better soon smile

Lexilicious Thu 10-Dec-09 12:47:20

fistula, that's the word.

I agree with lucasamama that bf-ing may prolong the time that the wound site is active. I was conscious of this but I saw it as flushing out the problem. As long as you keep the wound clean it shouldn't introduce any new problems.

But if your priority is speedy healing then perhaps ceasing pumping/feeding once the infection has been flushed out is the right thing to do. The breasts work reasonably independently so you could continue on the other side. I think?

nicnac73 Thu 10-Dec-09 14:05:43

The 2 breast surgeons I finally saw were fantastic. They did know a lot about breast feeding and were very objective. Perhaps because they deal with mending damaged breasts they err on the side of caution with regard to feeding however the non-specialists I found to be dangerously incompetent on the whole.

Unfortunately, I saw a specialist too late and in the absence of any professional advice I made my own decision although they did agree after the fact that stopping feeding would aid recovery in my particular case.

I would recommend Mariasmummy to listen to the specialists as they know your particular wound. Some abscesses can be the size of a pea and some practically take over your entire breast. Some people end up with a puncture wound, a narrow fistula or a gaping open crater.

The medics and all HCPs can only tell you what may or may not aid your recovery anyway as medicine is not the precise science people think it is. They just deal in probabilities.

I found this a huge test of instinct.

Can anyone tell us how feeding off one breast might effect the other? Does the prolactin produced in the brain tell both breasts to produce milk?

mariasmummy Thu 10-Dec-09 14:23:54

interesting to hear stories thank you. lucasmama how old was your baby when you stopped breastfeeding/abscess?

mine is only 6 weeks so i just feel sad about stopping but just today gp gas suggested stopping to help with healing process.

good to hear your healing was 6 weeks my nurses have said i could be that long so i hope.

can i bare the guilt of stopping bf???????!!! i so wish someone would just tell me what to do! I am going to hospital for check up next week and will discuss whether continuing to feed from one side is affecting the flow of milk and the healing process.

Hello, not had an abcees but fed almost exclusively for 6 months on one breast then fed on one breast till DD was 18 months. Only stopped to hours at work.

Feeding from one breast is perfectly possible (if you find you need to). My supply in non feeding breast obviously reduced and after a few weeks didn;t leak or feel too full. However my feeding breast was able to supply all DD needed.

Finished feeding about 8 months ago and both breasts have teeny droplets of milk so obviously neither have dried completely.

lucasmama08 Thu 10-Dec-09 20:17:13

mariasmummy - DS had just 3 weeks of bm; 5 days exclusive bfing (before he got badly dehydrated) and the rest a combination of bm, ebm and formula. At 3 weeks I had to switch to a non-bfing compatible 'macro-antibiotic' and so pumped and dumped for over 2 more months to keep my supply going in the hope I could resume bfing later.

I have huge regrets over my bfing experience with DS - I regret not properly educating myself about bfing before DS was born, I regret letting him get so poorly before giving formula/ebm and I regret not being more assertive about our latch struggles. However, I do not regret giving up on bfing when I did - it was the right decision for both of us at that time.

I am not suggesting that giving up is the right thing for you to do, unfortunately that's a decision that only you (and your family) can make. I'm just trying to say that if after all your hard thought, that is the decision you come to then it is probably the right decision for you and you probably will not regret it.

mumblecrumble - I was told (possibly incorrectly) that I needed to stop doing anything that would stimulate my milk supply, including pumping from the unaffected side. Mind you, I was never given any evidence/information to back up this assertion.

nicnac73 - I have just read your experience on this post shock. This is very, very similar to what happened to me - I was under GP 'care' for over 5 weeks before I got a diagnosis (during which time I saw a GP at least twice a week). I was told I was 'too well' and not in enough pain for it to be an abscess. I repeatedly asked how I'd know if it had turned to an abscess and was given answers along the lines of 'believe me, you'll know'. I only got a diagnosis after I went to A&E and got a next day ultrasound appointment which confirmed I had the largest breast abscess the sonographer had ever seen (she took some convincing that it wasn't a breast implant). It ruptured itself that night before it could be operated on, although by that stage I do believe that was the best thing that could have happened as it meant a relatively quick recovery and no packing of the wound. I had thought that my case was a one-off and, like you, let it go. I am shocked to hear that is not the case angry

ilikemrclooney Thu 10-Dec-09 21:57:09

I recently had what in retrospect was deffinately an abscess, as it was exactly as Nicnac73 described in her post. I had previously had mastitis which was horrible, constantly painfull and then quite soon afterwards got an abscess, this was less painfull, didn't perticually hurt when i fed, only when DD caught the sore bit with her fingers as she scrabbled about. That hurt a lot. I saw the GP, (a male locum one, forgot to request the great female doc when i booked appointment and then receptionist flatly refused to swop me over when i got there) he diagnosed celulitis (Spelling?) and prescribed 10 days antibiotics. The next day it ruptured in the shower which deffinately lessoned the trauma of this greatly, lots of yukky stuff came out and it left a small round hole. It took a while to get better totally but was much less sore straight away and i carried on feeding with no problems.

Having read this thread i feel that;

a) I should have told the doc that i thought it was an abscess rather than just wandering out feeling confused.

and b) I got away very lightly.

Crap that he didn't diagnose it though, although i suppose the anti biotics would have been the same treatment anyway.

nicnac73 Fri 11-Dec-09 08:40:43

So sorry to hear that my case was not unique. It is a scandal that we get fobbed off so badly for something that could actually destroy our breasts.

Both my male GP who initially refused me antibiotics and the stupid registrar at Heartlands Hosp. (who I know has since been sacked so at least that is some comfort) both recomended that I should wear a bra and in the case of the GP; carry on massaging etc etc, and the Registrar to carry on taking the same ABs that hadn't worked for a week. If a man had a swollen red patch half the size of his testicles do you think he would be told to just wear some tight pants and go away and hope it gets better???

I was massively engorged and had one breast noticeably bigger than the other. My nursing bra purchased at the 37th week of PG was too small at that point so I did question whether they really meant that I should put a compress on it!! Idiots!

What is really frustrating is that this can't be about funding. It would surely have been cheaper for NHS for me to have ABs in the first place (impossible to kow if they may have worked at that stage, 5 days into mastitis, but prob worth a try?). It would have been cheaper to do ultrasound and aspirate with a needle than general anaesthetic and all the costs of theatre not to mention cost of the district nurses who came everyday for 12 weeks. Its just about ignorance and incompetence in the system.

I too wish I had reacted differently, been more assertive, but when its happening to you and with the hormones and lack of sleep and you are being told everything is alright by doctors...hindsight is a wonderful thing but we are the patients. its never happened to us before, how can we know what to expect or what to ask for. Its the professionals who should know better. Nobody should feel regret. ilikemrclooney (me too) why do you think you should have told the doctor that it was an abscess. Its not our responsibility to diagnose ourselves.

We should really do something collectively about this. For a start there is no advice on MN about what to do if you suspect that you have an abscess. I also feel strongly that all should have prompt access to ultrasound and there should be guidelines on what antibiotics to prescribe and when for mastitis.

mariasmummy Fri 11-Dec-09 10:53:49

Yes. What shall we do? I am so upset and angry that just because we are women and have babies that we should have to put up with problems such as these. If i had been given more information when i was pregnant abscess could have been avoided.

I would have known to pump so much more at the beginning when the milk comes in.

There is certainly not enough help for women regarding breastfeeding and not enough resources regarding breast abscess.

Wound still leaking...still feeding from one breast u til hospital next week. My GP wanders if I should take pills to stop lactating- stop bf to speed up healing. I am deciding whether to stop bf next week. Its devastating because I love it and it works perfectly from unaffected side. Seriously hardwork

Well done everyone for getting through your experiences.

nicnac73 Fri 11-Dec-09 12:17:37

I am going to write an email to MN contact us to ask them to give better advice on their pages for Mum's who suspect they may have an abscess.

I think they should advise
-prompt action
-insist on an ultrasound and biopsy of the infection.
-advise what to expect i.e. needle aspiration or could mean GA and theatre.
-What healing might be like.
-Options for feeding afterwards with the recommendation to seek professional advise specific to your case.
-Insist on being put on a maternity ward. NHS should not seperate mothers who are breast feeding from their babies.

I don't know what MN could do to petition the RCM or BMA for better awareness amongst doctors and HCPs for mastitis and abscesses and all the above should be standard.

Lets all send emails to MN

nicnac73 Fri 11-Dec-09 12:25:55

Mariasmummy

How sad and cruel and ironic it is that you have one perfectly working breast and one with 'boob blight'.

You want loads of milk in one breast and none in the other really.

I don't know how to link to another thread because not very techno (same mobile phone since 2003 - sad case I am) but you may find the recent thread from Christiana ' Help can you have an injection to stop the milk?' useful if you are advised/do decide to take the tablets.

nicnac73 Fri 11-Dec-09 17:42:45

Think I've cracked how to insert the linkhere it is

joyjac Fri 11-Dec-09 18:02:05

If you cease nursing on one breast the milk will gradually dry up. If you continue to nurse on the other breast, it will eventually step up production to meet your baby's needs. it is the stimulation of the baby nursing that keeps the milk supply primed.
Incidentally, milk coming out through the wound is sterile and just flushing out. Mine was not as severe as some of you have had and although near the areola I was able to continue feeding on that side, although I was exceedingly careful of the area for months.

nicnac73 Fri 11-Dec-09 18:39:13

It is so good to hear of stories where you managed to keep on breast feeding. I am very sad I couldn't manage this sad. Best of luck with this Mariasmummy. We are all rooting for you.

Good news. I contacted MN and they are going to research into the topic and put some advice on their pages.

They also suggested I post on the campaigns thread so I started a Save Our Boobs campaign here'sthe link

mariasmummy Sat 12-Dec-09 16:08:16

Ninac brilliant well done. Thanks for the support! Spoke with nurse specialist at hospital yesterday (post GP suggesting I stop lactating) and she said no way that has to happen. Keep going on the one breast, express with the infected one and leaking is normal. Nurse still come once a day (possibly twice) and just waiting and trying to be patient regarding healing. It will be at least a 2 month process in my case... I wander if the nurse will come on christmas day? GOing to be an interesting one. We were so looking forward to baby's first christmas. But i realise how lucky i am. Could be a worse scenario regarding the breast.

Best wishes everyone

nicnac73 Sun 13-Dec-09 12:26:34

I guess ours is a minority issue or a bit too gory as no responses whatsover to the campaign threads SAVE OUR BOOBS! Boo hoo. Nevermind, perhaps we aren't going to be able to change the world or the Health Service but I suppose at least MN are looking into updating their info and we can be here to give each other some support.

It is wonderful that the nurse specialist at your hospital said that she believes you can carry on bfing. You are very brave Mariasmummy as I know how difficult that this situation is. I wish I had been able to do this but other boob was working very well either and DS was really underweight and no help or advice at the time as you know. I think this experience made be quite bitter about bfing but since joining MN and hearing so many positive experiences I have softened a bit.

I think the District Nurse's will come on Christmas day if you still need everyday visits by then. I can't remember at which point I stopped needing daily visits and they started coming every other day but you may be able to skip a day by then if you just wanted to be left alone from all the prodding.

What kind of dressings are they using? I got fed up of Meplex as they got really soaking and not very adhesive and kept falling off. I had these oval one's called Tegaderm for quite some time and they were a better fit. Not surprising really, putting a square patch on a round boob was quite problematic. All of them irritated my skin after a while though. Can't believe I've had some kind of a plaster stuck to my boob since August. The one that the Doc put on after my Op last week is non-water proof and he's not taking it off till next Friday so really struggling to keep it dry and keep self clean and non-smelly. Can't wait to have normal boobs again even if they do have a battle scar. DH says that this and horizontal stripe from C section and vertical stripes from stretch marks are all badges of motherhood.

mariasmummy Mon 14-Dec-09 19:28:48

hisorry so tired and baby still up most of night. I have sorbsan? I think- for the packing and adhesive absorbing dressings. THey work just about and I prop up with tisues when leaking bad. I thought was drying up but today nurse went in and really prodded around to clean it and it started bleeding!

It is so depressing now. I keep crying and now more painful I wander if thats the tissue forming again. I so hope by christmas will be drier and less dressings but who knows?!

Regarding the bf, i know i seem strong but i find whipping out a boob to feed much easier than all the sterilising stuff and so on. Even if she feeds for 10 mins or so, its not like am out and about. However am going to ask hospital again on weds, if i stop bf will it heal quicker? If answer is a resounding YES then will stop. Its too much. I can go day by day but if i have to look months ahead then I'll stop.

What would be good is if MN can get something on the bf link regarding abscess. There is nothing! Most things go so far as mastitis only, so strange not to mention it if i had known i would have expressed like no tomorow and hit the doctors much sooner. EVeryone needs to know what could happen. Or are we just that unlucky?

I think you have been amazing what youve' been through. How is your baby? How is the rest of your life in relation to the past few months?

ilikemrclooney Mon 14-Dec-09 20:46:43

There are some very brave and strong women on this thread, I am incredibly impressed. I think that it is really important to raise awareness, the lack of information and GPs failing to be pro active are just part of a bigger issue of lack of support for breastfeeding in general. Although its vital, supporting a mother to breast feed is not just about helping her to get feeding established whilst in hospital and then sending her on her way. I know its a bit 'perfect world' but i really do wish that there was a commitment to support women better after they have had a baby and not just for the first couple of hours!

nicnac73 Mon 14-Dec-09 20:56:39

Hi

I think they said to me that bleeding is a good sign. It means you are healing.

The MN lady who replied to me said they were going to discuss it and do some research and get some info on the site so hopefully there will be something to inform sufferers of Mastitis. I wonder what the figures are for how many Mastitis sufferers develop abscesses? I think it is not that uncommon. When I 1st had Mastitis my Russian SIL told me how her mother had to have her mastitis 'cut out'. I thought at the time, how barbaric but that must just have been the Soviet Union in the 70s, couldn't happen to me. Since then I have found out about 3 other people who have had one and I'm not Mrs Super popular so I think it is more common that you think but not something that tends to crop up in conversation.

I think mine was caused by a combination of bad latch; too long between some feeds and bad luck. I was also actually holding my boob to make it more pointy to go in his mouth and thus blocking the ducts. (I think this is something that generally afflicts the big boobed I'm a 36F) We gave my DS a bottle of formula at night from 3 weeks because I was exhausted from feeding non-stop all day and obviously so was he because he then slept through the night and has done ever since (thank goodness for small mercies). HV et al all saw my rubbish latch and knew about his amazing sleeping but nobody said that I should probably still express because milk was static for 7-8 hours after intense feeding during day. I also had a few days early on where I didn't feed from left boob because of total cracked nipples so just expressed and used right. When I went back to feeding from both sides the right was obviously producing more and was actually loads bigger but still DS slept like a baby (who invented that phrase!!!) and even more milk stayed static. I got the abscess on the right breast exactly where I was holding it with my thumb. If only I had known more about how essential it is to pump or feed in the night. By the time I saw BF counsellor it was really progressed and baby was skinny mini.

This week I am really not happy as after operation last Weds doc told me I had to keep same dressing over wound until next Friday. 10 days, and can't get it wet so have tried to shower sparingly but not v.happy as like to be clean and hair washing is tricky adn I ahve to go to work. Also, it smells. I think I preferred daily packing. The non-removal is all about minimising the scarring. Its also itching like hell which I think means that its healing but still would really love a bath (haven't been able to soak since August).

Am back at work p/t since beg Nov due to no money and pressure. My boss is ace v.understanding and female. her boss is Chief Exec male and from a different culture and he was fine with me before mat leave but now being weird. Also, found out have been passed over for bonus despite +10% figures in a recession! Hmmm.

nicnac73 Mon 14-Dec-09 21:14:59

I agree totally ilikemrclooney. It is a bigger issue. At my antenatal classes it was 80% about why you should bf and 20% about how. It was also August and everyone was on hols incl my HV and MW so saw loads of different people but I didn't learn about the importance of Bf or expressing at night until its was too late.

nicnac73 Mon 14-Dec-09 21:35:44

sorry mariasmummy I missed that you asked how is my baby. He is the most beautiful baby in the world (of course) Really smiley. Smiles and laughs at everyone. Very healthy. I have been blessed in many ways. My DHs friend has son who was damaged at birth because the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck and he says that you are only dealt the hand in life that you can deal with. Now I'm (almost) through it I really want to help other people avoid getting into the same situation.

ilikemrclooney Mon 14-Dec-09 21:35:52

My abscess was exactly where i put my thumb when i was supporting my boob (big boobs here too).Think i was also wearing a bra that was too tight. One thing that i didn't really get was that boobs are actually quite delicate which is easy to forget when you have a baby chewing at them 12 hours out of 24. It would e helpfull to be told this at some point.

mariasmummy Tue 15-Dec-09 11:54:15

yes and if baby has an infection or if your nipples are cracked more chance of an infected boob- none of this mentioned when pregnant.

my boobs not huge but big and i had a ton of milk come in boobs were so engorged all of a sudden, painful and had to get new bras.,

anyway, ninac you are right, count our blessings. babies doing well even if we aren't

nicnac73 Thu 17-Dec-09 09:16:39

How did it go at the hospital mariasmummy?

mariasmummy Thu 17-Dec-09 11:07:42

hi ninac, they are monitoring it and changed dressing. i specifically asked if i stop bf will it heal quicker and was told no. i have to keep expressing to stop engorgement but currently so much leaking from wound that breast doesnt feel engorged. just got to be patient with the healing. i had been on the correct ab before so that was pleasing.

if its not healed by end of jan will stop bf had enough mentally nearly am just at home mostly not going out much. got to be patient.

the surgeon who looked at it changed dressing and put loads of heavy duty tape on i looked scary at reast clinic!

how are you?

nicnac73 Thu 17-Dec-09 19:55:45

Yes, its one thing healing the physical wound but the whole thing is quite traumatic and emotionally draining as well isn't it? I didn't go out for quite a while afterwards because was worried about leaking. It does get better though quite quickly and then the dressings get smaller and less and less and you almost feel normal. The Doctors tend not to be so good at doing the dressings as the nurses. Did the surgeon go for a complete overkill so you could see it through your clothes? I hated that.

Tomorrow I am going to have my dressing removed. Finally. At least I haven't been at work today because I think it stinks. Other people say they can't smell anything but may be because its under my nose. Hope its all healed inside. Don't know if they will give me another ultrasound to check but I will ask.

mariasmummy Fri 18-Dec-09 09:53:06

hi ninac good luck today fantasic news! hope all done. will you get ultrasound? i would like one.

yes i think nurses better at dressing but obviously great to have surgeons look at it.

i'm trying homeopathic pills now in place of ab for a week or so.

was feeling fine until last night my gp rang and apparently a week ago when i had dressing changed at surgery there was still evidence of infection. He rang a week later! Anyway, i think that was the pus still leaking.... however since then the surgeon looked and stlil not prescribed me AB even thougb i did ask. So I have to believe its ok. For now.

yes i hate the smell its hideous, how many bras are you getting through? ugh. unbelievable stuff.

nicnac73 Fri 18-Dec-09 18:05:28

They have taken the stinky dressing off. Hooray. They took the stitches out too - ouch. I can't say that it looks pretty but surgeon said that it should be all clear now and if in 3 months time I'm not happy with the appearance then he will do something to improve the scar. Right now I don't care at all what it looks like so long as its sealed over, may be I'll feel differently in the future but I'm just happy there is no more gunk coming out. They told me to have a salt bath so I'm going for a long awaited soak in a minute. He said no need for ultrasound because when he stitched it up he could see it was all OK.

They were quite reluctant to give me ABs as well. Even when I thought it was quite stinky the nurses said it was normal (I guess they are used to sniffing quite stinky things) and its just the normal smell of body fluids, yuk. They did give me some more ABs at one point because it looked a bit red and inflammed around the wound. I don't think mine took so long because it re-infected but it just didn't heal right and kept filling up with fluid/exudate.

If you are worried then maybe insist that they swab it again? I think it should only take 48 hours for them to grow a culture in the lab. I always had to chase my surgery for the results. What are the homeopathic pills? Are they for healing? They told me to eat lots of meat and protein and to sleep as much as possible (ha ha)

mariasmummy Sun 20-Dec-09 22:34:06

Congrats! I had a day out yesterday almost felt like a normal person.... homeopathic pills have been recommended by a relative I think they could be helping with the healing. I am eating plenty of meat, trying to rest as much as possible.

Nurse thinks wound looks ok, hospital again weds and will ask about ultrasound and swab.

much less leaking now! So just some blood when its cleaned. Got to be a good sign.

Really hope you hae celebrated with some champagne!

nicnac73 Wed 23-Dec-09 16:18:30

How's it going mariasmummy? Great that you have been able to get out now the leaking is decreasing. Do you think you are going to need the nurse on Christmas day or can you skip days now?

nicnac73 Wed 23-Dec-09 16:25:57

I just realised something else that I was doing wrong by reading other threads. I was advised to only feed from one breast at a time at my antenatal class and this meant my milk was static for longer as I was only moving the milk in each breast every other feed. Wish I had known about MN when all this was going on...

mariasmummy Thu 24-Dec-09 18:50:32

hi ninac, merry christmas!

Nurse is coming tomorow christmas day. But now it takes about 2 minutes so will deal with it. In fact I like it when theycome ifeel reassured that its clean...

hospital doctor took one look and said its fine and walked out! Literally in about 10nseconds. I asked again about AB- he said no infection. Iforgot to ask about ultraousn annoying. I am going back in 2 weeks for another chekup so christmas week no hospital which is nice.

I know what you mean about feeding from one breast and other etc but honestly think we have been veryunlcuky. So many people feed only from one breast with no blockage- or no abscesses.In fact the affected breast still has milk in it, i amexpressing but i think it is producing less milk. Am going to trybto get baby back on in 1-2 weeks when its healed... but am scared. Firstly i think its unlikely she'll take to it so late on so will make a decison then about what to do.

meanwhil lookin fine.

juststarting Sun 27-Dec-09 19:14:41

Hi - just been reading this thread and wanted to add my own experience - I had a large breast abscess drained under general anaesthetic 3.5 weeks ago - I confess I delayed going to the doctor initially as this ominous lump emerged, as I tend to get pretty unwell on antibiotics. The health visitor had told me to look out for "flu like symptoms", so I kept telling myself I was ok and would be able to massage it away like I had done previous lumps and bumps. However, it got increasingly obvious it wasnt shifting, so I went to the GP and was prescribed antibiotics - went back a few days later and the upped the dose. A few days later saw me in A and E, where I spent 8 hours in pain and gradually getting more and more engorged on the bad side as they doctor told me he wasnt sure I should feed and the nurses told me they couldnt get me a breast pump from maternity until they checked with a doctor - anyway, this all led to an on the spot, not anaesthetic or ultrasound attempt at needle aspiration which left me an agony - went back for a scheduled ultrasound guided aspiration two days later where they got quite a lot of puss off, which I thought looked promising. However, before I could come back for a second aspiration a couple of days later the thing just got worse and worse. Having spent two weeks sat on the sofa weeping about what a rubbish mother I surely was and burning a nice fever (those flu like symtoms eventually did kick in!), my mum and partner eventually dragged me back into the hospital (no mean feat - I have a fear of hospitals and medications and stuff - had a fun five days of labour pains with no pain relief and delivered the baby on my kitchen floor to avoid hospital!) where they decided to do an urgent I&D. Anyway, the cavity left behind was 5cm deep and the chunk of flesh at surface level which is missing has the diameter of about a 50p piece. Nurses say its healing well and I am down to them coming out every other day to re-pack it. Havent had too much leaking problems as yet. But I still have pain in the nipple on that side and both sides have lumps in. My big dilema is whether to carry on breastfeeding or not - I want to - my son is now nearly 10 weeks, and it just seems too soon to stop after we battled SO hard to start - but I REALLY dont want to go through that level of pain and illness again. I just dont know how to play it from here really.

mariasmummy Mon 28-Dec-09 11:09:56

Just Starting wow! I can sympathise. The pain must have been- still is awful. They tried aspirating mine too with 3 different types of needles and only got a bit out. Thats when I had to go for surgery with a general.

Basically whether you continue to bf is totally up to you whether you have the stamina. I found it very hard getting up through the night with the baby and feeding but i didnb't do anything else for the past 3 weeks and that helped with the healing. If nurses already coming every other day thats a good thing and no leaking is very helpful. But it sounds like a deep wound!

I top up with a bottle at night which helps us all sleep through the night.

Get plenty of rest, don't feel guilty because its not your fault. Theree simply is not eough info about abscesses out there and some of us get them...

juststarting Mon 28-Dec-09 14:13:03

I thought about giving a bottle at night, and I am lucky in that my partner would happily get up to give it even when he's working, but basically, I dont want to get engorged over night, so I havent done it! Sadly, two weeks after the breast abscess I&D I then had to have a very large Bartholin's abscess marsupialised, which made breast feeding even harder as sitting was pretty sore! Plus, another night in hospital, another run of antibiotics - so I'm pretty run down. I'm REALLY hoping I am on the up again now, but just scared stiff of another abscess, and wondering whether the breastfeeding is worth the anxiety. I always thought breastfeeding would be more convenient, but I'm spending half my life on my boobs!
My son and I had a serious battle to get started breastfeeding - which is probably what set me up for the abscess in the first place - but now the battle is swinging in our favour and he is maintaining his centile with his weight gain and actually leaving gaps between some feeds, it seems even harder to think about giving it up. And, lets face it, I'm pretty sentimental about it too - pain in the arse it might be, but I also love being able to nurture him in that way and I feels so sad to consider not doing that with him anymore. Still, I'm always going to have the scars to show for it though! Mine is right at the top of the breast where anything more low cut than a polar neck will show it off!

nicnac73 Wed 30-Dec-09 17:52:53

omg juststartin what a terrible time you have been having. I really sympathise with you. Well done on continuing to bf. I take my hat off to you. What a wonderful mummy!

If you are really not happy with the battle wound in a few months time then I should think you would have as good a case as any for plastic surgery on the NHS to improve the appearance of it. My surgeon said he would do something about mine in a few months if I was bothered by it. I said I was just bloody glad it had healed over and didn't really care but he said I may feel differently in time... I am lucky mine is on the side. Also a fifty pence piece in size but only my nearest and dearest are ever going to see it.

I don't know what a Bartholin's abscess is but I am sure very painful. Gosh, you have been through the mill. Hope you have been able to have some treats for Christmas.

nicnac73 Thu 31-Dec-09 08:12:09

sorry juststartin I forgot you hate hospitals (and I don't blame you, if I was having a heart attack I don't think I would want to go back to the hospital where I had my first operation)

juststarting Fri 01-Jan-10 20:36:58

Yeah, you're right - not likely to voluntarily go in for plastic surgery! I'm trying to re-frame the prospect of scarring as more of a lasting reminder, an emblem of being a mummy! Like a tattoo. However - I dont know how bad its going to look yet! I may, as you say, feel very differently in time! Not that the people I've seen with it have mentioned scarring, let alone the option to have scarring improved. Oh well.
A Bartholin's abscess is an abscess in a gland in the labia - NOT pleasant!
Yes, still breast feeding, and still having problems with fussing at the breast. Plus I am overproducing milk now, but I am scared not to pump off the excess a couple of times a day lest it all happens again!

nicnac73 Sat 02-Jan-10 11:27:15

OMG juststartin. I hope you have better luck in 2010, you have certainly been having a rough time of it in 2009, (apart from your lovely baby).

MY DH refers to my scars as my badges of mummihood. Although, at the moment I think I look a bit like Scarmanga with 3 nipples as scab still hasn't fallen off. Trying to see the funny side of it.

Do you pump off a lot or just enough to improve your comfort? Have you had lots of support for continuing to breast feed? Is somebody helping/advising you with the fussing at the breast?

Happy New Year Abscess sufferers everywhere.

Are you there mariasmummy? How are you getting on?

mariasmummy Sat 02-Jan-10 12:45:26

hi! sorry got sidetracked over hols. happy new year! juststarting i totally empathise. i am giving a bottle at night and she is sleeping upto 7 hours now but the breast i use does become rock hard. this obviously scares the hell out of me and i have woken baby to feed....

affected side producing much less milk so no engorgement. am about to try to put her on it- 5 weeks post op. the nipple is quite flat so the latch is horrendous, i dont know whether to carry on, with both, one or neither but i mainly bf for convenience as sterilising bottles out and about worries me. mentally its terrifying!

ninac everrything o with your boob?

nicnac73 Sun 03-Jan-10 11:36:02

hi mariasmummy - its so difficult isn't it. You need sleep but then the boob gets full. Do you express? I can't remember if you said whether you express. Have you tried just expressing a little bit in the night to ease the discomfort and move the milk on a little bit? Just an idea. I am hardly an expert.

Like you said before I think we were just unlucky. Don't know if getting one abscess means that we are more or less likely to get another??? Still confused.

I wonder if there is anyone out there who has had a bad abscess in the past who could tell us what their scar looks like now? My stretch marks are fading fast (hooray) hoping that this scar will go the same way.

mariasmummy Sun 03-Jan-10 20:53:30

oh man, i think after this any small interference will have me running to the gp with the next one!

i dont express with working boob i use all the milk in it. other one smaller but am not bothered by appearances. try homeopathic remedies for scar healing. i really believe the remedies helped my healing. go to a local homeopsathic pharmacy -if you can/live in london/

juststarting Fri 08-Jan-10 13:11:10

I've posted twice on this and it never showed up! I must be doing something daft. Anyway. Woke up yesterday with hard, burning boob. Back on the antibiotics. And ready to say enough is enough with the breastfeeding. As luck would have it had my review with the consultant thismorning for the cavity - which is now only about 1.5cm deep, which is great - but anyway, the consultant was saying that she has never seen anyone get a second one after about 6weeks post partum. And she was saying she wondered whether the inflamed breast was to do with an early indicator of the return of my menstrual cycles. So, basically, I dont know whether I am reassured and encouraged or whether I think shes a twit.

nicnac73 Fri 08-Jan-10 18:28:36

How bizarre - both that your posts went missing and also what the doc said.

Is it the same breast or the other one that is inflamed now? Is the patch near to the site of the wound?

Are you just 6 weeks post partum now or does the Doc mean she has only seen abscesses occur up to 6 weeks post partum and you are beyond that so don't worry?

I think its more common in the early weeks of a first baby as we all know how difficult bf can be but I don't think its impossible to get another one beyond that? When I had my op they consent form had a sentence in it about accepting the possibility of reoccurance so I wouldn't think it is impossible.

When I was being seen by the nurses everyday they told me about another lady who was older -menopausal, who had a breast abscess and she had one reoccur several weeks after the first one. Cause was just hormonal as she was obviously not lactating. Apparently she had very very big ones (boobs that is).

Could they not give you an ultrasound so they can see what's going on inside?

I am so, so sorry juststarting as I know how you must be feeling. Its such a horrible experience having an abscess that reoccurance is the thing you most dread. I couldn't believe it when they said I had to go back in for another op and you hate hospitals too. If it doesn't get better in 24 hours I would definitely try to shout for an ultrasound but that's going to be Monday now as the weekend is upon us. I really hope you are OK.

mariasmummy Fri 08-Jan-10 19:20:52

juststarting well done for making it back to docs to get the AB. THe nurses whp havce been seeing me are now coming twice a week and the wound is now a surface wound with a plaster on. However this doesn't mean i'm in the clear!

am n the look out. I now do 2 bottles a day and bf a few times a day and am sleeping at night. You must rest it is the second most importatn way to heal. I hope you can rest.

Easier said than done. I am hoping i will be very lucky and abscess will not reoccur the nurses who have been coming have been amazing. Really packing the wound hard and cleaning ti well. I have been lucky with them

nicnac73 Fri 08-Jan-10 20:00:01

hello mariasmummy

Great news that your has healed up so fast. I am sure that you are very glad. It sounds like your nurses have been brilliant.

Mine didn't reoccur. It hadn't healed properly in the first place and had left a track inside. I believe this happens when the wound is quite deep or not packed as well as could be or just plain unlucky.

Mariasmummy is right about the rest.

juststarting Sat 09-Jan-10 19:39:24

Ah, the elusive rest! I never did master the art of napping at the best of times. So no, not doing well on the rest front - that said, I'm not exactly living a life of hectic rushing about!
Yes mariasmummy, good news on the healing. nicnac - my son is 12 weeks on monday, so she meant 6 weeks postpartum. Which is when I had the first one drained actually. But I dont see why it couldnt happen again - the hardness was near the site of the cavity, but it was over all that third of the boob in lumps and patches. It has now improved. I was also thinking of maybe beginning the weaning process with a feed or two over the next couple of weeks and re-assessing how I felt after that, but now things are a little better I am back to really not wanting too. I also need to work on getting my supply down - obviously I read that I need to keep the breasts empty and massage out any blockages, so I have been pumping and massaging like an addict - which means I now am making way more milk than he drinks. Trouble is, when you've been through what we have, allowing the breasts to get a bit engorged in the process of reducing supply/cutting out a feed is frankly pretty alarming. How did you go about cutting a breastfeed? Which one did you choose?

nicnac73 Sun 10-Jan-10 08:47:07

I went cold turkey in the hospital after my first operation. I was on a general ward with no one to advise and I had been separated from my baby for 24 hours at that point and had to spend lots of time apart from him in the days before being sent from one hospital to the other. My supply had dwindled to nothing. I had had enough by then, I was hardly getting anything by expressing (just 10ml) and I had a huge hole in my boob and couldn't get my head round how it could be good to continue bf. It hurt like hell and my boobs were rock hard for days. I even took drugs in the end to dry up the milk but they didn't really work so I can't really advise but I would think from reading other threads on here that cutting down slowly is the way to go.

Do you mean weaning onto formula? My DS is just 6 months and we only started solids a few weeks ago. What does you HV say?

Mine healed over and then a few days after I got hardness and redness around the site and it started to ooze again. This is because a track had been left inside. My Doc said this happens in one third of all cases and especially if the original abscess was very deep. I would really recommend you get an ultrasound.

juststarting Sun 10-Jan-10 11:47:24

This track thing does sound alarming. So dont want to face more surgery - one third of cases is a lot though, and mine was 5cm deep. Mine isnt healed over yet mind. But has been giving me a bit more pain in the last few days. But the hardness around it has gone right back to how its been for weeks now - more lumpy than hard.
Weaning onto formula sounds like it would totally have made sense at that point - I would have done the same. I was really lucky in that they let me keep my baby with me and gave me a side room - probably because I was wailing and weeping already - anyway, I breastfed him rightup until before the surgery, but then gave it 24 hours afterwards before I fed him again, and just expressed. The second time I was in hospital, for the other abscess, I did much the same - and was thinking, ok, maybe now is the time to go cold turkey, he's taking bottles, and hes fine - but then he refused formula once we ran out of breast milk, became inconsolable and was only calmed when I put him on the breast. Which made it emotionally near impossible to do anything other than continuing to breastfeed. I dont know, I dont want him playing second fiddle to my boobs anymore. But I think stopping from here and transferring to formula could be a slow process anyway. He'd probably be six months by the time we got there!

mariasmummy Tue 12-Jan-10 17:55:52

hi guys,

everyone has different experiences using bottle dont they. mine is fine with both breast and bottle and i basically feed her whenever she is hungry when go out i have a spare bottle in case. i have n pattern! am hopeless wit routines.

juststarting i think dont panic about hardness my boob was in stress for a while and was hard i panicked once abt reoccurance but was told just some stressed boobage.

nicnac73 Thu 21-Jan-10 08:30:07

Hello GeraldineMN

How are you getting on with the research on abscesses?

There seem to be MNers posting regularly on here confused about what to do if they suspect an abscess.

linkhere

Hello juststarting and mariasmummy.

How are you getting on with your recoveries?

mariasmummy Thu 21-Jan-10 22:23:34

Hi Ninac! How are things going with you ok?

I just took my first proper shouwer in 12 weeks... weird. Hospital discharged me on weds and i can dress the wound myself now with just the large plasters. Nurse coming tomorow proably last time. The nurses totally saved me and did the job so well.

Did you see the other posting about possible abscess? I advised to go get ultrasound somehere in there lucky thing did not have one- relief! So strange that gp's are not referring women to hospital more. Its crazy! The pain the pain! ugh makes me mad.

Anyway still feeding from one side and naturally have one large boob and one small... do i care, yes! but it works.

anyway hope you're well and you juststarting how are you?

nicnac73 Fri 22-Jan-10 18:08:28

Hi Mariasmummy,

That's great news. I remember the difficulty of showering....trying not to get the dressing wet. Aaaargh It was really frustrating and depressing. You really appreciate the joy of being clean when you've not been able to have a proper shower for some reason.

I saw the other thread and I linked it above because I sent an email to MN again to ask how they were getting on with updating their content and the MNer said that they had this thread bookmarked and they were still working on researching abscesses and what to put in their content. Meanwhile the message about the importance of getting an ultra sound is still not clear out there.

A friend of mine has just finished breast feeding and she fed mainly from one side and always had one bigger than the other and they are starting to even themselves out now.

mariasmummy Wed 27-Jan-10 11:02:56

oh thats good to hear.

I wonder how long before something gohe website. Its so scary for women with the lumps, gp advice etc!

I am so relieved my body starting to get back to normal except I realised that my neck has been so stiff from tension and breastfeeding that it hurts a lot! Am going to treat myself to a massage still not back at work I have another 6 months so thats a relief. must book a holiday...

nicnac73 Tue 02-Mar-10 09:40:44

Hi abscess sufferers. How are you getting along? Is life getting back to normal for you now?

honeybee1977 Sun 07-Mar-10 11:16:55

realise i'm a bit late to join in but...

i developed 2 abscesses on one side in nov 09 after being told it was a blocked duct then mastitis. i ended up in hospital for 8 days and having lots of antibiotics, pain and draining. 3 months later the infection has cleared but i've been left with slight scarring and a hard lump, also i'm still doing a couple of breast feeds on the other side but am mainly bottle feeding (feeding on the infected side stopped in hospital as i couldn't get any milk out which means my boobs are different sizes - not a great confidence booster!)

i'm going back to see the specialist tomorrow in the hope that the lump can be sorted, any comments/advice etc on this would be great.

nicnac73 Tue 09-Mar-10 21:53:52

Hi honeybee1977

I am sure they can sort the lump. My scar is quite big - about 50 pence piece size and the scar tissue is quite hard. The original abscess was Aug 09 but it didn't heal right so had to have the site excavated again and repacking, followed by another op which. It was finally all over just before Christmas. My GP had a look this week and said they could basically fold the skin over and it would look better and the specialist had said the same the last time I saw him. Its not in a spot where you would see and after 3 operations I have seen enough of the inside of hospitals to last me for a while. I stopped bf back in Aug (a long story already gone into on this thread) but the funny thing is the scar sometimes 'twinges' which is really weird.

Two abscesses is really unlucky and such a long hospital stay! You must have had such a terrible time Honeybee. Fortunately we are a small group. Not many posts pop up about abscesses. I have written to Mumsnet to ask for better advice on MN about abscesses but they must be still working on it....I always worry about the Mastitis posts but I don't want to scare people with the worst case scenario everytime. There just isn't enough awareness out there about the need for fast access to ultrasound.

Well done for BFing. Its not easy when you have had an abscess. Were you able to keep your DC with you in hospital?

nicnac73 Tue 09-Mar-10 22:05:12

Apologies to MN. Have just noticed they have added advice about abscesses. Hooray. Thank you.

mariasmummy Mon 15-Mar-10 22:00:14

Hi everyone! Sorry I thought the thread may have been forgotten....

Ninac I missed you really glad things are getting back to norml. Honeybee GOOD GOSH! I can't believe your experience. Horrendous.

MN has created the tiny shaded block with a link. I guess this is better than nothing. Just because its rare doesn't mean should be so little about it! Its the lack of info at the very beginning of bf which is what we need to encourage. Warning against mastitis does not cover it because of the emotional drain, the hospital stays etc.

Anyway, I am good. I am feeding again on affected side having got through it all although there is very little milk in it so baby gets annoyed and we don't last long on it all. In fact I only bf twice a day anyway and mostly bottle. Just trying to get boobs back to similar size...

Well done everyone! x

nicnac73 Thu 18-Mar-10 18:24:09

Glad to hear that you are doing well Mariasmummy. I am glad that MN did something but so often the problem is knowing whether you have an abscess or not. By its very nature an abscess starts under the surface and the only way to see under the surface is with an ultrasound. I was a bit disappointed the little MN box doesn't mention anything about insisting upon an ultrasound.

One good thing is they added a link to this thread so if anyone is really worried they might have one they can read all our stories and hopefully insist upon getting the care they need. It looks like Honeybee might have found us this way.

mariasmummy Mon 22-Mar-10 19:15:59

Stnge it isn't more obvious and large. I still can't believe we've all been through something so horrendous when most people just get on with it and nothing very dramatic occurs with the bf. Just unlucky right?

Ninac i hope we can stay in touch somehow other than this thread however I am keen to keep the abscess stuff going if only to try to save some other women, what can we do?

nicnac73 Fri 30-Apr-10 20:42:00

Hi...its been months. Scar still the same - don't really think about it very much anymore though. Sometimes I catch myself in the mirror and it surprises me to see the scar. I never went back for my post op check up - too busy, but I sometimes wonder if everything is alright on the inside. It still strangely twinges sometimes and I do wonder/hope its all ok. Obviously healed but I wonder if all that scar tissue which still feels a bit lumpy is alright...

How are you mariasmummy - life back to normal for you? Are you still out there?

charity12 Sun 02-May-10 17:43:45

hi! just read all your post, since I've been researching regarding breast abscess. I recently have one, as the doctors told it was first a mastitis then after all the AB's, got even worst then became abscess. After almost 3 weeks of medicines and battling the pain, I had no option but to have an I&D, which I refused at first. But, I think its fortunate, that on the night before my I&D(incision&drainage), my breast ruptured and pus went out leaking. So no incision happened but drainage really hurts, but still I'm thankful I didn't need to have I&D. Now, I am currently on my 1st week after the rupture, and still under AB's. Just need some advise, I really do want to continue bf'ng but my milk supply already slow down since I stopped bf'ng in a month. Also, so scared that it may affect the wound or it might happen again after it healed.. Should I stop or continue bf'ng... help me pls...

nicnac73 Thu 06-May-10 20:29:54

Hi Charity12 - personally I stopped for all the reasons already posted but there are plenty of others on here who managed to carry on. I think most have fed off the unaffected boob though. Have you had some good advice from someone who really knows about BF and has also seen your wound and knows your case?

Fortunately (but not for us) abscesses are rare so its really difficult to get good advice from experienced people and also on this subject its really difficult to get people off the fence. For good reasons lots of HCPs want to help you continue to breast feed if you can.

Are you having daily packing? What do the nurses say about how well you are healing? Is your wound very deep?

charity12 Sat 08-May-10 13:05:43

Hi ninac73! thank you for the response. yes, you're very right, abscesses are very rare cause I never known someone who had this,I keep asking my neighbors & friends if they knew or experienced abscess, but all were only pertaining to mastitis. It's only my GP who gives me advise that it's ok to BF on the other side, and on the affected side after it healed, but that's all.. No do's & dont's and that's what I am looking for. Am really happy I am able to find MN so I now have someone to talk to regarding this depressing stage on our motherhood. Yes, I'm very depressed I had to stop BF, when I am really serious I do want to do it now on my 2nd baby(after realizing the benefits and goodness of BF).

Yes I am having my daily packing. My GP told me that it's starting to heal but I can see that my wound is still fresh. Sometimes I can still feel little sudden pain. I'm on my 2nd week now and hoping for a short healing process. How long did you have your packing? Can you give me some advise to help me heal fast?

Thank you, and hope we continue to keep in touch..

nicnac73 Tue 11-May-10 21:20:29

Hi Charity. I'm really not a an expert but I think the sudden pains or twinges are part of the healing process or just scar tissue forming. My scar still occasionally twinges and I think this is because of the different consistencies of scar tissue and normal slightly wobbly boob which sometimes tugs a bit on the scar if you know what I mean.

My healing wasn't such a happy story I'm afraid. They packed my wound with a gel the first time because I found having the ribbon poked in too painful but in hindsight (a wonderful thing) this might have contributed to it not healing right and a track was left where it hadn't healed together so they had to basically gauge it out again in order for it to heal back properly. The first time they measured my wound it was about 8cm deep (but they measure how much ribbon goes in when they pack it as well and that was about 22 cm worth of ribbon. The first time took 8 weeks or so and kept seeming to heal and then bursting out again. This was because the track had been left there. The second time it literally healed up in 2 weeks but I had properly stopped lactating by then and I got the Doctors to reluctantly admit that this had helped.

Whatever you do don't beat yourself up about the BFing. You've been through more than most can imagine. At the time I was distraught about this and very bitter and tortured myself reading all the BF threads on here but now my baby is 10 months it all seems so far behind us (in fact I have to go in a minute to make loads of baby food). Perspective really helps. My only regret is that my very short maternity leave felt more like sick leave. My advice (for what its worth) is really enjoy your baby.

As far as healing goes they told me to eat loads of chicken but I suppose just normally healthy eating and rest. Sleep = repair. Ahh the elusive sleep....

sonsmum Wed 12-May-10 10:46:35

here's my tale....

firstly some background; ds; I bf for 7mnths. We struggled from day 1....latch not correct so milk wasn't established early on, struggled to catch up with the demand but managed with expressing under HV guidance and formula top ups. DS always at bottom of growth chart, but now a lean and happy boy.

dd; with advantage of hindsight, i got the latch correct and supply/demand was great, dd was satisfied at feeds and was so pleased as a relatively small cheasted lady that I could feed her self sufficiently.

When dd was 6wks i got a blocked duct and touch of mastitis....feeding was agony but knew it was the only way to sort myself out as expressing was too painful. Then 2 red patches appeared on left boob. I felt well and ignored them. Red patches disappeared. Thought i had no probelms.

2 weeks later, pink patch appeared on left boob. I never felt unwell and it wasn't painful but had a big hard lump. Then pink turned to red and started to grow.....called drs.....had to see a triage nurse who prescribed week of amoxocillin.
I took the course but redness was spreading. I called the dr again and was unable to get an appt, but a dr called me on the phone. I thought it was basic mastitis but stressed it was very sor. She prescribed a week of flucoxicillin.

3 days into this course i could tell the pills were not working and the redness was still spreading and soreness becomming unbearable, plus skin was starting to bubble with white patches.

asked for an emergency dr appt (friday), and on being seen was sent to a & e immediately as an abscess was forming.

I was poked and prodded and sent to radiology for an ultrasound and aspiration under local anaestheric which was not too effective. exceedingly painful.
They drained off 2mls of fluid and took a tissue sample and put me on augmentin.

Over weekend, redness started to recede very slightly. Could then see the outline of the abscess 2-3cm wide....very close to the skin surface.
however was distinctly unwell on saturday - spent day in bed, abscess area started to bleed.

sunday night was awake from 3.30 onwards as had shooting pains going down my boob into nipple and just twinges happening every so often which hurt like hell.

Monday went for a 2nd aspiration, anaesthetic worked better this time, no fluid could be drained, was told abscess was close to surface of skin so will probably burst and heal itself.

was referred to a breast clinic....dr there wants to see me next week also. he said for women he sees that carry on bfing......50% of them have no more probelms, but 50% recurr with the same issues once the drugs stop.

i didn't want to stop bfing, but with those statistics i will do. I can't have this recurr and face it being deeper next time and require surgery.
Therefore since monday i have been weaning onto the bottle, dd is taking the bottle and getting tops ups from me to dwindle my supply.

i am very sad about this since our bf relationship has been going so well and i feel a little forced to give up due to this abscess, however she has had 2 mnths of the good stuff so i gave her a good start.

today the redness seems to have receeded further and the abscess area remains.
I have my post natal check today so will ask dr to take a look also to check there is nothing further than needs doing....and that i need to just wait for it to burst on its own accord....

I just wish i had known more about mastitis and abscesses prior to motherhood.

with 2dc, i had never heard of breast abscesses before now. Had i have heard, i would have sought medical advice at the first sign of mastitis.....no idea it could develop into something so nasty.

This is something people need to be aware of...not to scare them off bfing but so they know what to look out for.

nicnac73 Wed 12-May-10 21:22:54

Hi Sonsmum. Welcome to Abscess Sufferers. Not the world's best club. So sorry you had such a horrible time.

You are right there should be more awareness. Hopefully we are playing a small part in spreading this awareness. There seems to be a recurring pattern to these stories. Most worryingly, awareness seems to be lacking in the Healthcare system. Lots of us seem to be presenting on more than one occasion before action is taken. An abscess is a ticking time bomb so we need 'prompt' access to a specialist breast doctor, ultrasound and a culture to assess what the bacteria is exactly so the right antibiotic can be prescribed. Of course if we can raise awareness amongst mums this is good too as shouting loud seems to be a requirement of good treatment. Also, the effect this has on BFing makes it really confusing time and more guidance is needed to support us through informed choices.

Sonsmum I understand your trauma of choosing to move on from BFing. In my circumstances it seemed like masochism to continue BFing but still I grieved for it. Of course my DC is oblivious and such a contented little boy now. Now nearly nine months on from that decision, I'm much more philosophical about it. I hope that you too heal well and quickly from the physical and emotional scars.

mariasmummy Fri 04-Jun-10 21:24:53

hello nicnac and new sufferes,

I am so lucky in having returned totally to normal. (well you know what I mean!) Nicnac the lump that you have is probably a post traumatic/surgical/healing wound that sounds fine to me. It will always be senstive but I wander if its the mental effect as well that troubles you and others. HOw can we ever feel 'normal' having a baby is hard enough plus all this.

It breaks my heart reading the new stories and I can't believe what we've all experienced. I talk about it with people I meet and I am sure that once we can get past the guilt of not being able to BF our babies, then we will be fine. Its just the annoying bfcounselors who continue to promote the feeding when you're in hospital or at home recovering from your abscess surgery when you quite literally cannot BF from the affected side- unless the wound is further from the nipple or you are superwoman. And yet all we are told by the counselors is to continue to feed! Well I am sorry but that is just not helpful. It messes with the mind on an uncontrollable level.

I think about the terrifying ordeal and I say to you all new sufferers- you will get through it and you and your baby will be well, physically and emotionally. Be strong.

nicnac73 Sat 05-Jun-10 09:50:33

Hi Mariasmummy! Great to hear from you. So glad you are feeling more like 'normal'.

Indeed the broken record - 'just keep feeding mantra' is damned annoying. Can't believe my DS is going to be one in 6 weeks! In many ways Breast feeding seems like a distant memory. I know its a great cliche but time has been a great healer and I think I'm as over it as I can be, the bf guilt that is (hormone levels have subsided which may be something to do with it).

Looking back it feels like I was brainwashed. I remember I had this overwhelming conviction 'I MUST feed my baby' despite the fact that it really wasn't working and we were getting deeper and deeper into a mess. It felt like a life and death decision. Logic had nothing to do with it. I was running on pure emotion.

If I have another baby then I will definitely be taking some serious professional advice about breast feeding with scar tissue inside but at the most I think I would give myself a realistic goal of just giving the colostrum and a bit more. Don't think I could go through it all again emotionally.

BFeeding is such a small percentage of the nutrition in your life. I know its great stuff but its not a bloody magic potion with the alternative being poison. The other day I was shocked when a friend of mine, who went through hell expressing for 6 months, was giving her 11 month old mini cheddars! Now I think I might be overcompensating with an obsessional approach to home made healthy baby food but I had to sit back and think 'get over yourself', humans survive quite well even having had formula or mini cheddars.

mariasmummy Fri 11-Jun-10 20:37:38

hehehahahaha! That is hilarious. I think we are all very conscientious people in all areas of life.

Yes the weaning- again- what to do?! Its like some kind of endless nightmare with all the rules. No salt, no this no that. And yet I go along with it all. When does it become 'fun'? Although I love being a mum to my beautiful girl, I often feel am I doing enough can I do more etc

Are you thinking about next one nicnac? me too! Time does heal and although emotionally a little scarred (and you have physical scarring as well) its not a given that it will re-occur and at least now we are more informed.

:- )

LiamsMom Mon 27-Dec-10 21:48:16

Hey ladies - I know this thread hasn't been active since June, but I'm hoping I might still be able to get some responses.

My story is pretty similar to a lot of the women here. Breastfeeding with a new baby, lump with fever, two rounds of antibiotics with no results, and now I have an abscess. My dr has drained it twice with a needle and has gotten quite a bit of yucky stuff out. I'm hoping to avoid surgery, but my dr said its looking more and more likely since it just keeps filling back up. And its quite large. I'm taking ab, too.

Has anyone here had an experience like mine? Any luck with just drainage with a needle?

There is NO information out there about this, and its worrying me to death. :-(

Cutlass Wed 29-Dec-10 17:08:38

Hi Liamsmom
Have you had a U-sound? If not, insist on this so your doc can assess the situation fully. Hope you can manage with drainage and needle- fingers crossed.

I had emergency surgery on christmas eve (nice) after 12 days unresolved mastitis symptoms and 5 visits to the doctors, where I kept getting told told to go home and see how I feel. No-one seemed to think it was an abscess. I was shocked to find out that because it had been left so long it had become hard and wasn't possible to drain. I really wish I'd asked for an U-S earlier- but as mentioned in this forum already- there seems to be v little awareness about abscess or the potential damage they can cause if not treated promptly.

I am waiting to go to the breast clinic for a follow up appointment tomorrow to assess the damage. Anyone got any suggestions for questions to ask at the appointment? I'm putting together a list based on some of these postings- am realising the importance of being my own advocate in all things medical!

C x

phoebebouffet Thu 30-Dec-10 23:26:51

hi liams mum, can't really help although I did have a needle stuck in mine but I don't think they drained it cos they said I'd have to go to theatre for that and I didn't I did have u/s and they said the abscess was quite small so maybe there wasn't much to drain.

A couple of striking observations about the stories on here are so similar to mine it's unbelievable.

Conflicting advice from dr's and mw's why do dr's say don't bf but mw's say do! From my own experience stopping feeding was the best thing to aid the healing process, although no one ever suggested I feed from one breast, am 30 weeks pg at the moment with no 2 and will attempt it again although fully intend to bf from one breast at the 1st sign of any probs. In actual fact it was always easier and more comfortable from the unaffected breast anyway and ds always preferred the left unaffected one, common sense if you ask me!

Cutlass Sun 23-Jan-11 07:49:34

I have been recovering for the last month with daily then twice weekly packing. I realised last night they FORGOT TO PACK ME at my last appointment as we started talking about another complication and waited for a doctor. I went to A and E this morning as soon as it dawned on me what had happened ( saturday) and they tell me it has healed over already and therre is nothing they can do until Monday. Frustrated, angry and worried. Does this mean they'll have to open me up again?

bunnyfrance Tue 01-Feb-11 19:03:32

Hello ladies, may I join this unfortunate club?

I've been diagnosed, finally, with an abscess after a case of mastitis that has been lingering for almost two months.

It's a bit different for me as I'm not feeding anymore and I'm 12 weeks pregnant, which rather complicates matters.

Had needle aspiration this afternoon and have to go back on Friday to check progress. If there is none, they'll have to operate.

Good to know I'm not alone with this - there seem to be rather a lot of us out there for an affliction that is supposed to be quite rare?!

nicnac73 Mon 21-Feb-11 18:57:18

I have not checked this thread for ages. Sad to see others have joined

Had abscess (lots earlier posts on this thread) 18 months ago now. Pg again now. Am thinking about trying to give colostrum a go in the hospital at least but got an appt with the breast specialist I saw before because lots of scar tissue (had a track 8-10 cm which had to be 'gauged out' for 2nd time bcos didn't heal right the first time. Midwife/bf specialist is saying possibly not worth the risk as once the milk comes in highly likely to back up behind scar tissue. Sure as hell don't want to go through that again and quite happy about choice not to bf beyond initial stage this time but a bit sad about prob not being able to give colostrum, which is a shame. Feeling a bit whimsy but generally quite at peace with decision to ff this time.

Cutlass - how bizarre the forgetting to pack your wound? Has it healed Ok now?

Bunnyfrance - how unfortunate and sad that you suffered for so long. 2 months of mastitis followed by abscess That's bad.

bunnyfrance Tue 22-Feb-11 09:32:07

Hi nicnac,

Would be interested to hear what the specialist says about feeding 2nd time round. Congrats on your pregnancy! When are you due?

I was operated on the Saturday after I wrote that message. It all went well, they did an ultrasound of the baby straight afterwards, all good. I've had the nurse come round every day to change the dressing and apparently it's healing well. My wound wasn't packed, though, just left open. It's about 1.5cms across, but apparently quite deep? So I've been told anyway - am going back to the surgeon this afternoon for her to check her handiwork.

I asked them if anything could have been done earlier re the mastitis, and they said no, we had no option but to wait it out and see if it formed an abscess, at which point they could operate. Their theory is that's it's the pregnancy that caused it. I feel so much better now after the operation, have no more pain. But it's not a pretty sight....I'll forever have a hole in my breast. I see it as my badge of motherhood!

mariasmummy Wed 23-Feb-11 12:15:53

Hello lovely ladies! Nicnac yay pg again congrats! And yes how nerve wracking about the feeding. UGH what an emotional mess. What else have the midwives or doctors said about it all? Bunnyfrance am sorry about your situation were you still bf when you got pg? Am trying to figure out your timeline.....I am shocked at no packing why was that?

Nicnac have the docs suggested a return of the abscess with a new pg?

I can't believe there is still no information about abscesses and how scary it is.

bunnyfrance Wed 23-Feb-11 18:48:13

Hi mariasmummy,

Yes, I was still breastfeeding when I got pg - two feeds a day, but not big ones. It was a planned pg, I was hoping to tandem feed...I discovered a lump in my breast a week after finding out I was pregnant. Then followed a biopsy and big cancer scare and was told to wean immediately...I was then 5 weeks pg. After that they decided it was "only" mastitis and to leave it and this went on for two months post-weaning. I'm now 15 weeks pg.

What would the consequences be of not packing the wound? I have no idea why it's not been packed. I'm not in the UK, they may do things differently here?? It seems to be healing quite well, although I have a dent in my boob which I suppose will remain there for life.

mariasmummy Thu 24-Feb-11 21:52:16

Bunnyfrance, where are you? Are you in France hm? Is antenatal good?

Sorry didn't mean to scare you it's just normally with an abscess they pack the wound so it can heal from bottom to top. Maybe it depends on how deep it is and you didn't need packing. Good gosh you have had a mad time of it! Are you coping ok?

Amazing.

bunnyfrance Fri 25-Feb-11 07:58:39

Yes, I'm in France. Antenatal care is excellent, have no worries on that front (see gynae every month, regular scans, toxo test every month etc etc)

They did tell me it would heal from the inside out and the non-packing was done deliberately, it's not as though they forgot.

I coped with the operation and hospital fine. The hard part is that I have hardly given the pregnancy a moment's thought. It'll probably be my last one and I can't even enjoy it. Of course my other big worry is about feeding the next baby. Breastfeeding was such a big thing for me, I really enjoyed it and found it so fulfilling. I couldn't imagine not being able to feed this next one.

Oh, and just to top it all off, I've developed an allergy to the bandaging...all red and itchy, lovely!

bunnyfrance Sat 26-Feb-11 07:43:25

I don't believe it - I've got ANOTHER abscess! Discovered yesterday afternoon during the dressing change. It's about a cm away from the incision site. Rushed off to see the surgeon who did a needle aspiration and am on 10 days antibiotics - pristinamycine.

When will this ever end??!!

Kittie83 Fri 04-Mar-11 13:04:04

Hi everybody, so glad to have found this site I know that I'm not the only one! My LO was born on 16/11/2010 about a week later I got mastitis went to the dr who gave me antibiotics. It didn't clear up and instead just got worse. About a week later I started expressing as I couldn't bare it anymore. Went back to dr again it's now been 2 weeks just got more atibiotics. My breast started to look kinda square on the one side but how am I supposed to know what's going on,right. Went back to dr 4 days later, really struggling to express enough milk now! Just gave me more antibiotics. The next day(a Saturday) it burst with tiny little holes.

I went to walk in clinic where dr said I have an abscess and should have been sent to hospital ages ago!! I was taken to ER and then admitted to hospital. The Monday morning dr drained it with needle without anaesthetic. I screamed more than in labour and really have a high pain threshold. That evening when they took the dressing of the skin collapsed and there was a gr8 big hole the size of a 50p about 1cm deep! I was shocked, how could they let it get this far. I ended up staying in hospital for a week and my LO was just about 4 weeks old.

I couldn't even keep her with me as I couldn't pick her up due to the infection! It was horrible and I felt like I was letting her down. It's now 3 months later and it's still not covered by skin! How long is this going to take?? How does it dry out so I can stop dressing it? All I want is a long bath with my LO! My husband gets to shower with her and I'm so jealous!

I must say my hubby has been gr8! He does way more than any of my friends hubby's and I really wouldn't have made it without him! Just wish it could be over!

bunnyfrance Fri 04-Mar-11 19:25:46

Kittie, wow, the treatment you've received is horrifying! You poor thing, it sounds nightmarish. It's a lot to cope with. And having to stay in hospital away from your newborn, how awful. Do you have nurses coming round to change the dressing or are you having to do it yourself?

I don't really know how long it takes to heal - mine took three weeks to close, but then I had had surgery, so it's a bit different from your case.

I just had my second abscess aspirated this morning with ultrasound. Have to be on antibiotics for 3 weeks, but they're quite optimistic they won't have to operate.

Interestingly, the surgeon was saying that she's seeing more and more abscesses at the moment. I wonder why - maybe because more women are breastfeeding, but without the necessary knowledge and support? Just musing here...

Kittie83 Sun 06-Mar-11 01:27:16

I agree it's defenatly not something you're told about could happen by any midwives or in antinatal class. I can understand they don't want to frighten people but better safe than sorry!

I haven't had the nurses round for bout 5 weeks now! Nurse at hospital told me if I shower with it open and just lightly dress it with the lyofoam it'll been fine. Been for checkup at breast clinic yesterday and dr's glad it's finally growing some skin. Don't have to go back unless something goes wrong. Glad we have a brand new hospital in peterborough with fantastic breast unit! They have been brilliant!

Bout 4 weeks ago he scraped the whole thing as it was over-granulating and then with some silver nitrate afterwards. There was me crying again and leaving with smudged mascara. Slapped his hand away 3 times,lol!! Glad he didn't have to do anything else. Got betadine gauze on it now which will hopefully dry it out and scab over!

Can't believe you had another one!! I'm terrified of it happening again as this was only my first baby! I guess at least we're some of the few people out there that know what to look out for! Defenatly informing midwife from antinatal classes to warn future mums!

Fingers crossed that you wouldnt need any surgery!

bunnyfrance Tue 08-Mar-11 12:51:11

Good to hear yours is healing slowly, kittie, and that you've got a good team of breast specialists behind you. That is so important. I realise I went to the wrong people initially (a radiologist specialised in cancer, in particular) which didn't help my case.

I've now worn an alcohol-imbibed compress for 5 days and will be taking it off this evening. The abscess has gone down slightly, but that's probably because of the antibiotics. I've now got eczema all over my breast because of the plastic covering of the compress! Gah!

Also had a session of acupuncture yesterday and am taking homeopathic drops to try and boost my immune system. I will do ANYTHING it takes to get rid of this!

mariasmummy Wed 09-Mar-11 13:05:55

Bunnyfrance! Good lord! You are doing so well. UGH why is there not more help out there for this?!! I am so cross for you and for you Kittie.

I believe that for me the abscess started because I did not pump. I had breasts like coconuts adnd because baby fed mostly from one side and I did not know enough about breastfeeding I didn't get the milk out and it all happened very quickly.

I would suggest pumping early on to anyone else who is starting BF. Just get the milk out! It is the cause of the infection. Although your skin rash due to the bandaging is awful Bunnyfrance! I had a lot of itching too. My abscess took 3 months to heal. It was a very slow and painful experience just horrific. I can't believe you had another! I had nurses coming in every day and even twice a day at one point when there was so much leaking fluid from the wound.

I am PG again and TERRIFIED of re-occurance and I aim to pump the second the milk comes in. I will BF as much as possible but I managed 5 months last time. Your health mentally and physically is very important in order to bond with your baby and if you are stressed it will be harder....

Good Luck and carry on being strong.

Kittie83 Wed 09-Mar-11 19:21:04

I agree the first advice I will give anyone is get rid of all the milk every time!my mum had so much milk when she had me that she supplied milk for 2 other babies while she was in hospital with me. So I always knew I would have a lot of milk. I though she was drinking it all but was clearly mistaken! The funny thing though was I got the absess in the breast that she was drinking from the most,weird...

I don't know bout you guys but one of the worst thing (other than the pain, obviously) was feeling that we didn't bond properly. Even though everything is fine and LO is amazing I feel we missed out on that skin on skin later. With all the packing,plasters,leeking and pain we missed out on so much! My LO is almost 4 months old and I still don't feel normal! Things are much easier than they were before but still a hassle with dressings and dr's appointments.

Post pregnancy is enough to deal with without all the stuff we went through. We,re about to go on holiday as family doesn't live in uk. We're going to be on the beach and I so don't feel like putting on a swimsuit. During the whole pregnancy I done so well and was already my pre-pregnancy weight a couple of days after LO was born! I was so happy! Now due to lack of exercise (was to painful) and eating too much while staying at home I almost weigh the same as when I was pregnant.

I'm sorry for complaining like this but this whole ordeal just took over everything and nobody really understands. Never thought I would look so forward to a giant scab on my breast but I can't wait!! Mariasmummy I'm sure you know what to look out for this time. When are you due?

nicnac73 Thu 17-Mar-11 13:51:59

Hello everyone and mariasmummy my friend from before.

Pg again too mariasmummy! are you copying me? ha ha. Great news. When are you due? I am due end of July.

I have just made personal decision not to bf this time. Midwife has said she is worried about reoccurance after the birth if I bf or even give colostrum in hospital, she doesn't seem worried about reoccurance in pg though. The site of my original abscess was was very deep (8cm in) so lots of scar tissue but of course there are always cases of people who do continue to bf after an abscess or 2nd time around. I just don't want to risk going there and we got on fine ff last time as well. Good on you though mariasmummy for deciding to go for it. I am waiting to see breast specialist who did two of my ops last time but have kind of made my decision anyway.

Can't believe story of Kittie83 and bunnyfrance. Awful, awful, awful. Seems everybody has had quite a different type of aftercare. I suppose very abscess is different but mine only healed the 2nd time through daily packing with ribbon tape. the first time they did it with gel because I couldn't stand the pain of the ribbon tape going in but the gel didn't work and a track was left which reinfected. I also put on loads of weight during the healing process due to being largely immobile because of leaking and pain and also feeling I deserved a daily dose of chocolate cake. Hang on in there guys.

We all have a special kind of badge of motherhood under our clothes.

bunnyfrance Fri 18-Mar-11 14:42:46

Hello ladies,

Good news for once - my second abscess has almost faded to nothing! Thanks to the 18-day course of horse-powered antibiotics, it's now sterile (as shown by the culture they did). What a relief. However, the surgeon did say that she couldn't guarantee it wouldn't come back, possibly even in 20 years' time.

I asked her why the wound wasn't packed - she said the latest protocol was not to pack it, as the thread can be another vector for infection.

Also, she did say something which goes against the grain of what some of you are saying - she thinks it's absolutely vital that I breastfeed this second one...she's convinced it'll help clear everything out. That suits me as I found breastfeeding so fulfilling, but it's such a personal thing, obviously. At least this time I'll know where to go at the slightest hint of a problem.

So there are three of us expecting? Nicnac in July, me in August and mariasmummy when? We should start our own antenatal group "Abscess survivors - not worried about silly things like sagging, just about the huge holes in our boobs..."

mariasmummy Tue 29-Mar-11 21:06:38

Hey guys i am due oct 12th! It wasn't planned So much sooner than I had expected but am pleased as wanted two. I am seeing nurse tomorrow only just 12 weeks so not discussed anything with anyone yet I think was just planning to for it and hope abscess doesnt return but perhaps they will advise me otherwise? We'll see tomorrow. I can totally imagine not doing bf if that is whatvis recommended and I have no desire to go through all that stuff again please god!

Yes! Let's please keep in touch throughout pregnancy and after and check in on each other? X

nicnac73 Sun 03-Apr-11 20:31:00

Congrats mariasmummy, hope 12 weeks check up goes well.
Happy Mother's day to all especially those suffering with an abscess at the moment.

phoebebouffet Mon 04-Apr-11 00:32:59

Good luck, have been meaning to post on here since my lo was born 13 days ago, bf was going really well for me 2nd time round a completely different baby, latching on well, however I have returned to this thread today foor advice as some of my symptoms hAve returned, I feel fine no temp, not in masses amounts ofpain, but the bottom half of my breast is bright red, been to docs they gave me antibiotics, but redness is now spreading, so I'm waiting for docs to ring me back again, see my post from tpday, can i feed from just one breast? Can't do a link to it on my phone sorry, so wish i had better news for you, that's just my experience anyway, things might be different for you, I can't imagine they'd advise you noy to bf cos me don't do that do they, and no one mentioned it to me, so good luck and let us know how you get on!

phoebebouffet Mon 04-Apr-11 00:40:11

Sorry for typos , last sentence is supposed to read mw don't do that.

bunnyfrance Mon 04-Apr-11 07:13:17

Hi phoebe,
It sounds like mastitis, so I would keep on with the antibiotics (how many days did they give you?) and very importantly, keep feeding on the "bad" side. It's really important to keep it drained. And if it's not too painful, keep going! Also try hot compresses.

mariasmummy, have you seen the specialist and what advice did they give you?

NatChrisBump Mon 04-Apr-11 11:43:50

I have a feeling that I too have an abscess. I've been on anti-biotics for the last week and yesterday the small blocked duck that I have on my breast has developed a 'head' (SORRY!!!) I've got an appointment with the GP this afternoon and hope that there is something they can do. It's right where the rim of my pump goes so I've not managed to pump for the last couple of days as I've been worried about rupturing it. Baby is using a breast shield so he is managing to feed from it. I just feel so bloody useless at this bfing malarky and to be honest just sit here in tears most of the time. It's been 3 weeks and I seriously think I'll be jacking it in.

My hubby is a superstar and I don't know what I would have done without him.

phoebebouffet Mon 04-Apr-11 12:54:47

ahh Nat, don't feel useless, you've done a fantastic job so far, I too am very lucky to have a v.supportive husband to help out, I'd be close to giving up too if he was difficult to get latched on or fed for hours in the night ( as my previous lo did) but things just seem to be going so much better for me this time, am gonna stick it out for a bit longer yet. I stopped after 3 weeks last time as my 1st never latched on properly wouldn't feed for longer than a couple of minutes, so was always hungry, always feeding, see my post from earlier on this thread.

Bunny I've got 7 days of antibiotics, not seen a specialist but do have the number, have been meaning to ring all morning but not had chance due to the small feed-a-thon that's been going on here x

nicnac73 Mon 04-Apr-11 21:15:40

pheobebouffet - you could always just pump from the affected breast if you are worried, but keep it drained and flowing through whatever. If the abs don't work then shout. Reoccuring theme with this thread is you have to be really assertive to get the right care.

NatChrisbump - a yellow head is sign of pus which means I would say you definitely have an abscess which probably needs aspirating in a clinical environment like a hospital although there are some people on here whose abscesses burst in the shower like a big zit and that was it! Probably depends on how close to the surface it is. Hope you got good help at the GPs today.

Abscesses come in all shapes and sizes and it doesn't necessarily seem to mean the end of bfing but prompt and accurate treatment is really important as an abscess is like a ticking time bomb. Don't delay

Good job everyone seems to be getting support at home with the emotional fall out. Just hope you all get good medical care too.

Big hugs and good luck to everyone.

mariasmummy Fri 15-Apr-11 20:58:59

Pheobe what is latest news? Well done for all the hard work. Did you do any pumping at all before the symptoms? In my mind I have this idea that as long as the breasts are drained because so much milk comes in at the beginning.... then with draining could help?

But everyone so different and some of us unlucikier than others!

Bunny- i did not see a specialist but I did ask the midwife who said that there is no evidence that an abcess will return. but! well who knows. I am wandering what to do.

Well done everyone!

NatChrisBump Sat 16-Apr-11 14:25:25

Sorry to re-bump: it was an abscess and after much tooing and froing between depts at Medway Hospital I had surgery last week. James was able to stay with me and the staff were just great. I have a 6cm hole as where they tried to aspirate they caused another abscess so drained both. I was in for 3 days and encouraged to bf on the good boob. The hole is too close to the nipple to do anything on bad boob. I have a team of fantastic district nurses coming in everyday as the wound is open and packed. I just feel 100% better and really positive about the future. I think I was dreadfully ill before the op. (I have also been on a course of ab's - flucloxacillin). I'm just hoping it doesn't come back!

lynbrown Mon 18-Apr-11 15:45:14

My daughter, a new mum, has an abcess on her bottom possibly caused by a hemotoma after birth ( baby now 9 weeks). Nurses come every day to clean the wound but I wonder if anyone has any tips we could use to speed the process along, also, can we be sure it wont come back?

bunnyfrance Tue 19-Apr-11 08:26:26

Hi lynbrown, sorry to hear what your daughter is going through. Can't be pleasant - this thread is specifically about breast abscesses and associated feeding problems - you may want to start a new thread in general health. Hope she gets better soon.

nat, 6cm!! Good grief that's huge!! But glad to hear you're feeling much better and are still able to feed. Yes, I remember only realising how ill I'd been once it was all over. Your body has been fighting a big infection.

juststarting Thu 28-Apr-11 19:56:47

I posted on this thread way back in December '09 after having surgery on a great big breast abscess myself. As people have said, I hadnt realised how ill I was until I started to get better (took a while, I had a second abscess in an even more intimate location they thought may have been caused by a hematoma - also needed surgical drainage). But I just thought you may like to know that I went on breast feeding for just under 14 months, from both breasts, with perhaps one further bout of mastitis that was easily controlled with anitbiotics. The wound took four months of packing to heal, but it did heal - I was lucky it was high on the breast so, while very visible, didnt stop me feeding. I did get in a bit of a predicament for a while where because I was trying desperately to keep the boob drained I was pumping after every feed so just producing WAY more than my son needed for a while! I was so worried about it recurring, and so undecided about whether to keep feeding. I'm not saying I made the right choice to keep going, but it worked out fine, and I am glad I did. Excpecting my second in November and scared of going through it all again, but I hope to start out armed with more knowledge and experience and make the best I can of it. That breast abscess was one of the most painful things I have been through, and I hope all of you who have one get better and heal soon.

bunnyfrance Sun 10-Jul-11 09:32:52

Hi,

Calling nicnac and mariasmummy and anyone other ex-abscess sufferers who are pregnant! How are things going? Nicnac, have you had your baby yet, I remember you saying you were due in July?

I've got another 5 weeks to go - all well on the breast front, so far, so good.

BizzeeBee Sun 10-Jul-11 11:28:16

I've got my first (and hopefully last) breast abscess. I had a scan on Friday afternoon - it is 1.5 by 2 cm. I have been started on anti biotics for the weekend and got to go to hospital tomorrow am where they will decide what to do next.

I'm feeling very upset because hospital says DS cannot stay with me if I have to stay overnight. He is 7 weeks old. I'm hoping that I will be home by the evening.

I don't really understand how I ended up with an abscess. I had mastitis, and when in saw my gp a week ago I had no fever or feeling unwell, so no antibs. I still haven't had fever or felt that unwell and now I have the abscess. And bizarrely it is on my good side so most likely to be well drained.

I don't have a stock of expressed milk so doing some pumping to try and get a feed for tomorrow. Today we have to try and get DS to take a bottle. He had some when he was in hospital 6 weeks ago when there were issues get my milk supply up. But since then he has had no bottles.

Does anyone have any advice or words of encouragement for me? Thanks.

bunnyfrance Sun 10-Jul-11 15:49:03

Hi BizzieeBee,

Oh no, how awful for you. Don't know if you've read the rest of the thread (it's very long!). My abscess was similar, in that I never had a fever or felt particularly unwell, and there was no real reason why it happened. I had been feeding for 15 months.

Try and look on the positive side - you've had a scan (many of us have had to fight for weeks just to get that) and you are on antibiotics. What kind? My second abscess was cured by antibiotics only - pristinamycine (pretty strong stuff), there is hope you won't have to undergo surgery.

You've already been feeding for 7 weeks, that's great. Take a hand pump into hospital with you, just to keep your supply up. Who will be looking after your baby while you're in hospital?

Please come back and let us know how things are.

BizzeeBee Tue 12-Jul-11 04:00:43

Update: went in yesterday am and dr immediately decided to operate. Had operation early pm and was able to come home in the evening.

DH looked after DS. A bit of a nightmare with DS projectile vomiting. Not sure if it's formula or a bug problem. He also threw up breast milk in evening.

Can give DS breast milk until later due to anaesthetic. Currently pumping good side with machine, and doing bad side with my hand which is tough, but what I was told to do. Half the breast is covered with dressing. Got nurse coming everyday to do the wound packing.

I have been strongly advised by two gynaes to stop breast feeding.

Feeling frustrated because I finally felt I had got over EMCS and now I have this to deal with.

bunnyfrance Tue 12-Jul-11 07:05:42

You poor thing, BizzeeBee. You've been so strong, going through an EMCS and now this operation. Hopefully the worst is now over. It's good that you could go home so quickly. How is your DS, still ill?

Please don't feel forced to give up breastfeeding if you don't want to. My surgeon over here in France told me their new policy is to encourage women to breastfeed after abscess surgery. Telling women to wean is outdated advice, apparently. Do you know of a lactation consultant you could contact for support? You could also continue feeding just from the good side. But it's really up to you, how strongly you feel about it. Some women on this thread have continued feeding despite the odds, others have stopped as they felt their bodies had been through enough.

Please let us know how you get on.

BizzeeBee Tue 12-Jul-11 08:56:48

Thank you foor the kind words bunnyfrance. I am in France too and being told to stop! They are concerned that if I continue it will happen again.

At the moment I feel like I have been through enough, and with no family here it makes it even tougher. I also have to consider my DH who is the one who has to sort everything out if I am ill. I'm keeping pumping to keep some supply going, but I don't really want to carry on at the moment.

DS hasn't been sick for a few hours. smile We have made up the formula more watery than we should so it isn't so rich, and will build it up to full strength again. Can BF this afternoon so that will help him I hope.

bunnyfrance Tue 12-Jul-11 10:18:58

How funny that you're also in France! Whereabouts? I'm in Alsace. Now it makes sense that you got the scan and the operation done so quickly...

My surgeon is admittedly young and a bit unconventional. My gynae and the radiologist who did the scan also told me to wean immediately, which I did, and then the surgeon said no, no, no, that might be what caused the second abscess! Ho hum, you just never know who to believe or what to do, do you!

It's so hard without family support, isn't it. We don't have anyone near either, and it's at times like these that you realise how much support is lacking.

Good thing your DS hasn't been sick again, though.

Thinking of you.

BizzeeBee Wed 13-Jul-11 15:20:48

The nurse came yesterday to do the first gauze and dressing change. The whole experience has left me in no doubt that the best thing for me is to stop bf. The nurse said it was so large that I should definitely stop. I simply cannot cope with trying to keep going, and really don't want to risk another abscess. I'm happy with my decision and don't feel guilty be stopping because really it is a medical need for me.

Nurse thinks dressing and gauze change will take 30 days to heal! shock

bunnyfrance Tue 19-Jul-11 07:33:03

Hi there Bizzee,

How are you healing up? Feeling better?

I had a nurse come round every day, for well over 3 weeks. Towards the end I thought it a bit unecessary as I felt I could have done the dressing change myself as I knew the procedure backwards, but they insisted....they do give you good service here in France, don't they!

BizzeeBee Tue 19-Jul-11 08:33:57

Hi Bunny - healing up nicely thank you! The pain for the dressing change is much less now that there is no mesh in the wound to change, so it's going faster than the nurse initially thought. I'm definitely not up to doing my own dressing change though! My eyes are tightly shut when the dressing is changed.

DS has taken to the bottle and FF, and I'm not expressing milk anymore. Hopefully the leaking will stop in the next week or so.

Thanks for you support. smile

floydy Wed 20-Jul-11 14:53:46

Hi
This is the first time I've posted. I think I have an abscess. It started about 3 weeks ago, a hard lump, presumed it was a blocked duct. Started massage, heat etc. Wasn't too concerned, wasn't painful or red. It just woulnt budge! It became larger, harder and red. Went to doctor who said it was mastitis. He prescribed antibiotics. Started the course, thought it would improve. 4 days into course the lump was so sore, it hurt when I walked and i was feeling rubbish, with flu like symptoms. Unfortunately it was weekend so had to go to out of hours GP. He wouldn't even look at the lump, just prescribed different antibiotics. When I mentioned the possibility of it being an abscess he said we can make an incision if you'd like?! angry I left, with just the antibiotics. I continued to feel bad, vomiting and feeling nauseous, went back to my GP who did look at lump. He gave me different antibiotics.....again!! When I mentioned my fear of it being an abscess, he said an abscess was nothing to worry about, just a big spot, which may need to be 'squeezed'! I'm now 24 hours into new antibiotics and lump is still large, painful and red. I'm going back to GP again 2moro....I don't want surgery, but I do want someone to take my concerns seriously! Sorry for venting!!

bunnyfrance Wed 20-Jul-11 15:55:05

Hi floydy,

Sorry to hear you are going through this. Definitely sounds like an abscess and you need to be seen by a breast specialist pronto. Can you get yourself to A&E? Are you in the UK? (don't really know how the system works there) Don't want to alarm you, but it really is an emergency and not like a big spot!! Can't believe the GP said that to you. What kind of antibiotics have you been put on?

Are you still breastfeeding and how old is your baby?

floydy Wed 20-Jul-11 16:21:27

Thanks for the reply bunnyfrance smile Yes am in the uk. My DD is 5 weeks old and yes am still breastfeeding. The breast with the lump isn't producing much though. I express when she sleeps for longer periods in the evening to try and keep breast as empty as possible and can only get about 60ml, whereas the good breast produces about 120-150ml. My health visitor came earlier and she just suggested going back to my GP in the morning if no improvement on these antibiotics as have only been on them for 24 hours so far. I started on flucloxacillin, was then prescribed erythromycin and am now on clarithromycin; which are only one a day antibiotics. Just not sure they are strong enough to do the job! What should I be asking for when I go to the GP 2moro? Don't want to get fobbed off with another course of antibiotics! Can't be doing DD any good either.

floydy Wed 20-Jul-11 16:23:12

Thanks for the reply bunnyfrance. Yes am in the uk. My DD is 5 weeks old and yes am still breastfeeding. The breast with the lump isn't producing much though. I express when she sleeps for longer periods in the evening to try and keep breast as empty as possible and can only get about 60ml, whereas the good breast produces about 120-150ml. My health visitor came earlier and she just suggested going back to my GP in the morning if no improvement on these antibiotics as have only been on them for 24 hours so far. I started on flucloxacillin, was then prescribed erythromycin and am now on clarithromycin; which are only one a day antibiotics. Just not sure they are strong enough to do the job! What should I be asking for when I go to the GP 2moro. Don't want to get donned off with another course of antibiotics! Can't be doing DD any good either.

BizzeeBee Wed 20-Jul-11 18:56:46

floydy, what you describe about heat, massage etc not working to get rid of lump not working sounds similar to how my abscess was. I am no medical expert though so it might be similar to other things too. To put into perspective how serious my French gynae took the abscess, as soon as she saw it and suspected an abscess she was on the phone to get a colleague to take a look and arranging for me to have an ultrasound that afternoon. It was a Friday, I was started on antibiotics and an appointment was made for me to go back on Monday morning to have surgery if the antibiotics had not made a significant impact.

I suggest you push GP to refer you to see a specialist ASAP and get an ultrasound done to confirm if it is an abscess. If you get no success, you might want to think about going to A&E. Let us know how you get on.

Nurse came this afternoon to do dressing change. She thinks it might be infected. sad I've got a checkup at the hospital tomorrow so I'm guessing more antibiotics.

bunnyfrance Thu 21-Jul-11 06:48:40

How are you feeling, floydy? Just wanted to second what BizzeeBee said about getting an ultrasound, it's important. I'm also no doctor, but from what I've read about abscesses, you should take antibiotics (flucloxacillin is apparently a good one) for long enough - two weeks, not just 7 days, which is what many doctors prescribe. I was on pristinamycine for a month.

BizzeeBee, sorry to hear you might have an infection, that's not good! Let us know what the hospital says.

supadupapupascupa Thu 21-Jul-11 15:49:21

floydy, can you find out where women go to in your area for breast cancer scares etc?
It took me ages to get seen by the correct people, but eventually i was put in touch with a breast cancer unit who were wonderful and scanned me straight away and did the treatments. They were so understanding and lovely and couldn't understand why I hadn't been sent weeks before. I m still in their care 2 years on so they can check on me and I can go back anytime.
I just don't think doctors 'think' of these things.
You could give them a call, ask if this would be the place to be seen and if so, go back to the GP and get the referral you will need.

floydy Sat 23-Jul-11 13:09:07

Thank you for all your replies. I went back to my GP on Thursday, lump was no better, but no worse. The GP still refused to listen my concerns about it being an abscess. He just doubled up my antibiotcs. Yesterday I woke to a sore, bright red raised lump. I rang my GPs surgery, but no appointments. I went to A and E. A 6 hour wait and finally I was referred to a surgical team. The surgeon took one look at it and said abscess! At last...I wasn't making it up!! They ended up aspirating it and referring me to breast clinic in the week, for ultrasound. Even though it is still very big and sore, at least I know this is coming to an end soon.

supadupapupascupa Sat 23-Jul-11 15:17:14

now you are in at the clinic you will be fine smile and go back to your doctor and complain too because this will happen to someone else, they obviously need educating!
well done you!
Hope the aspiration works for you xxx

BizzeeBee Sun 24-Jul-11 16:28:39

Floydy, glad to hear that you are receiving care under the right people now. You are right that it is e relief knowing that it is being sorted out.

nicnac73 Wed 27-Jul-11 18:22:13

Hi All,

I had my baby last Thursday. A little boy 7llb 13oz by C section at 37 weeks bcos I was the size of a house and they couldn't work out why so big but worried my womb could burst (apparently this happens and knowing my luck it would happen to me)! Also had C sec emergency last time so was planning C sec anyway. All tests for gestational diabetes were negative so nobody knew why but they thought I was expecting an elephant. We were prepared for 10llb + baby at 37 weeks, only took size 2 nappies to hospital. It turned out to be loads of fluid, 2 litres of the stuff which apparently is called Polyhydraminos. I could have had an amniocentesis to drain fluid if they had known and been able to carry on a bit longer which might have been a bit better, who knows. Little mite had fluid on his lungs which is more likely the earlier the C sec. I held him for an hour and then he had to go to Neonatal for 4 days which was tough (I told you we have all the luck).

Its ironic because I was really very worried about running the guantlet of everyone asking me about why I wasn't breast feeding and then he was all hooked up to tubes and and ventilator and by the time he could have milk through a tube and then we fed him with a bottle I was just so glad he was on the mend. It just shows its not the things you think you need to worry about that blindside you. He made a really quick recovery and its just a transient problem but it was very scary at the time.

Did have to explain a million times that had an abscess size of tennis ball, open wound for 4/5 months, daily packing and 3 x surgery to breast so now full of scar tissue so not really wanting to risk repeat and milk blocking up behind scar tissue so opted to straightaway ff. Managed not to get stroppy with lots of well meaning midwives asking if I had thought about breast feeding? I got a prescription for Bromocriptine to sway milk away but the midwives in hospital didn't get dosage quite right. Should have upped to 2 tablets a day after 3 days so milk did come in a bit and boobs went rock hard a few days ago which worried me a bit. Came more on the side that didn't have the abscess in fact you could really see that the effected boob didn't fill up because so much damaged tissue.

2nd time round what a difference, everything was so traumatic last time. Really enjoying it this time round.

bunnyfrance Mon 01-Aug-11 14:14:32

Congratulations, nicnac!! It sounds like a tough beginning, but good to hear your DS made a quick recovery.

Great that you're enjoying things this time, that's excellent.

bunnyfrance Mon 01-Aug-11 14:15:50

floydy, how are things going? Have you managed to avoid surgery?

floydy Tue 02-Aug-11 16:12:03

Congratulations nicnac I'm glad to hear that LO is well and that you didn't suffer too much when milk came in. bunnyfrance I'm still waiting to be seen by a specialist!! I think abscess' are obviously seen as more serious in France. I have my appointment tomorrow and am hoping that it'll be aspiration and not surgery. I'm on different antibiotics again and who knows if the consultant decides to put me on different ones again, it'll total 7!!! I can't wait to be seen now as lump is very tender and it hurts when I sleep and gets in way when I'm trying to hold LO. Fingers crossed it'll all be sorted tomorrow!

BizzeeBee Tue 02-Aug-11 20:11:54

nicnac congratulations! It's funny about swell meaning midwives. I had the same experience when DH saw the midwife who gave me some ante natal care when bottle feeding DS. It's silly, DS is only 10 weeks old and I find myself wondering what I will do about bring if I have another baby.

floydy I hope your appointment tomorrow goes well and you get a good outcome. Positive thing is that something should be happening after your appointment and a path to an end will be in sight.

I have now waved goodbye to the nurse and cleaning my wound and putting a plaster on myself. Three weeks after surgery it has closed and scabbed over. The cut looks like it's about 3 cm long. It is a bit red and hard around the wound. I'm not sure if I should be worried about that or not.

I fear I will have a bit of a scar thats indented. I'd never had surgery, or even stitches, before I got pregnant, and now I have a CS scar and an abscess scar!

Kittie83 Mon 08-Aug-11 00:26:17

Hi everybody. So sorry to hear that there are more people that have joined our chat on these horrible surcomstances. I posted a while ago, had LO 16Nov mastitis a week later, abscess burst 3 weeks later and believe it or not I'm still going to hospital every week! LO is 9months old in just over a week and I have had not one normal day. Still sitting with a wound with no skin! I cry myself to sleep at night (secretly) as I don't know what to do!! I've had every type of dressing available even tell new nurses in hospital where the stuff is in the drawers.

They made a request for a skin graph 2.5 weeks ago and only got a call Friday that they can only see me in sept! No I've got to wait even long as we're of to SA end this month for my sisters wedding in sept which means I have to wait till we get back for my first appointment. Then they do their tests and then I've got to wait for an appointment.

I have a gr8 team at breast unit but they've done as much as they can and I understand but don't the people in plastics realise I'm sitting with a whole in me breast that's been unchainged since feb!!

We wanted our kids close together but not another winter baby so was planning to start trying again in sept! We want 4 kids(in theory) but I'm getting more and more scared by the day, actually terrified! On the one side I'm so happy with LO and hubby and the other side always so down! I'm overweight feel like I always look crap, and just when I forget about 'the boob' as we call it I go to bed where I usually sleep on my tummy and then realise I can't!! Then the tears come again! I'm usually such a strong person as I was in and out of hospital when I was younger, but now feel like a pansy! Sorry for moaning like this it's just I'm all alone in uk as my whole family is in SA! I've got friends here but not like the old ones at home whom I can cry with yet. Dont want to bother hubby either as I'm sure he's just as tired of it all.

Think I just wanted to vent a little to people who will understand! Thanx for listening!! x

floydy Thu 11-Aug-11 19:44:06

kittie83 that is terrible. I can't believe that you are still suffering because of your abscess. It is awful that it is taking so long for you to be seen. I had to persist to be seen by breast care specialist. Are you under the care of your local breast centre? My specialists have been eager not to cut me and are playing the long game, draining the abscess weekly, buy if it saves me being cut then I'm all for it. I think you should speak to your GP and let them know that it is having an effect on how you feel emotionally. Also I'm sure the friends you have made would not mind if you needed to have a cry, sometimes a good cry with a sympathetic ear can make you feel better. Sorry I can't offer better advice. Take care xx

nicnac73 Sat 13-Aug-11 13:22:21

Kittie83 this sounds truly, truly horrible. I am so sad for you. It is a phenomenally long time to have an open wound. Do they know why you are not healing up? Is your wound very wide? I really am no medical expert but have they tested you for diabetes as this can be one reason why wounds don't heal as fast as they should. Mine took about 10 weeks to heal up the first time to the surface but it was narrow and deep, and I thought that was a long time. It just seems so bad that yours STILL hasn't healed over after all this time. I can remember how horrified I was to have a hole in my body and I can only imagine how horrific this has been for you to have this situation go on for such a long time and to feel so alone in this country, but like floydy I bet your friends here and your hubby wouldn't mind you leaning on them, best to let it out than keep it all in.

nickypstt Sun 04-Dec-11 22:45:10

Hi all, was just reading your posts and decided to share my story which is still ongoing....

I had my second son 10 weeks ago by suggested section after waiting 41weeks for a normal delivery (first son born by emergency section).

Three weeks of slow labour to only amount to 2cm dialated, went to have waters broken to be told too dangerous. Only to have a bad section, all my womb, bowels, bladder and muscles had infused together from first section. Then told not to have any further children as uterus so thin, the chances my scar would have ruptured open in natural child birth were high.

Three days in hospital, and out with my son with plenty of pain relief.

Happily breast feeding my very hungry son for the first three weeks in fact I was getting 8oz out each breast (lots) , until breasts cracked and were bleeding. Reduced breast feeding and engorged breasts with cream...started breast feeding again only for blood to be seeping out.

Midwives so keen on me to continue to breast feed they failed to mention the consequences of me just stopping. Anyway after getting upset I stopped breast feeding completely my nipples just bled and bled.

As a result I got mastitus, which coincided with me getting an internal abcess on my section wound. Antibiotics x2, and more pain relief prescribed.

Week later and I was still in pain with breasts, more antibiotics and pain relief prescribed. This time I was taking seven tablets every six hours.

A week later I had sickness and dia, and felt as if my body was giving up, lump in my right breast was about getting bigger and bigger, about 3.5cm by 3cm. Again prescribed antibiotics, different pain relief and anti in flams. And anti sickness bug.

A week later another trip to the docs, still feeling like death, and breast lump starting to go black. Again more antibiotics and pain relief oh and thrush tablets - all the antibiotics had caused.

During these few weeks I must also mention lack of sleep, son number one who is only 21months had sickness and dia, no sleep all night. Son number two screamed solidly for hours, whole night on the childrens ward - no sleep all night...turns out he is lactose intolerant - guilty much for stopping the breast feeding oh yes.

Three days after last set of antibiotics I could barely lift my arm, lump was black and covered the whole of the right side of my breast and let me tell you I have very large breasts!!!

Went to a different walk in centre who sent me immediately to hospital as I had an abcess - no shit sherlock - within two hours I was in surgery and it was out.

They forgot to mention what happens in the surgery so imagine my shock the next day to discover a large hole the size of a 10p piece and about 2inch deep.

Sent off with antibiotics. Back to breast clinic in two weeks for assessment.

Packing was extremely painful. That was 3.5 weeks ago and it appears to be healing quite well.

However another lump which started same time as the first but was only the size of a 5piece, however after removal of first decided to slowly grow.

Doctors informed...guess what another course of antibiotics.

A week later the lump was not the size of a small satsuma. And I was given more antibiotics...by this time started feeling unwell again. Thought forget it I am going back to the walk in centre.

Sent back to hospital, who tried to blindly and without pain relief or anaestetic (sorry cant spell) asperate it ....ouch. Nothing came out.

Sent to the ward all night to await scan in morning and for the breast team to asperate when they were scanning.

Yes thanks 10 hours without food or drink (in case of surgery) to be told to go home with antibiotics ha until thursday breast clinic.

Thursday came around and the doctor I seen on admittance said have you not had a scan...durr no. Sent for scan, who asperated the abcess and got 10ml of puss out. Another painful experience. Back to breast clinic, more antibiotics and told to come back Tuesday as they did not remove all of the puss. So need asperating maybe a few times yet. Hoping not to go for surgery. Oh also told I still have mastitus.

This time I was not prescribed pain killers.

Now off pain killers my section scar is hurting pretty badly, I keep having hot and cold sweats, my chest under the wound and new abcess feels like it has been punched extremely hard.

I have not a clue what is going on with my body. Am I having effects from cold turkey of ten weeks of pain relief, has the pain relief masked the flu symptoms of the abcess, have a new abcess internally on my wound which has been masked by the pain killers so never felt it.

Somebody help me. My sons dont know what is goinf on, I am either so illl I cant look after them or I am in hospital - I am bloody sick of it and just want to feel normal xxxx

bunnyfrance Mon 05-Dec-11 08:00:23

Oh my goodness, nicky, have just read your message. I really don't know what to say, but didn't want to leave your post unanswered.

I feel so sad for you - yet another case of a mistreated abscess which wasn't caught in time. Is there any way you could contact a breast surgeon privately? Or could you insist that the second abscess be removed surgically? Just taking antibiotics is not enough.

But I'm not a doctor - you really need professional advice!

nickypstt Tue 06-Dec-11 11:47:08

Thanks Bunny x

Been back to day for another asperation, and have to go again next Thursday. Good news is the first abcess hole is tiny and looks to have healed fairly well, and second seems now to be shrinking.

I have come off ALL pain killers and I actually for the first time in 10 weeks fairly normal which is a god send, I look at my kids and they are everything to me. If I have to bare the pain in order to feel like my head is on my shoulders then so be it.

Fingers crossed this the start of the end of illness smile xxx

BizzeeBee Tue 06-Dec-11 20:36:27

nicky I didn't want to read and not say anything. I'm pleased for you that you are starting to feel normal and the holes are healing. I found it such a relief once my wound had healed and I didn't need dressings anymore. Let us know how you get on.

cookie9 Wed 14-Dec-11 07:49:34

May be joining the club. Baby is 5 weeks old and last weekend found lump on my breast so got a doctor's appointment on Wednesday who said breast was engorged but come back if fever or redness. Over the weekend lump was v painful and skin turned red. Back to doctors on Monday who prescribed antibiotics and said come back Wednesday as they are concerned it could be an abscess. Tried to express but couldn't get any milk and have been bf but not sure how much baby getting from that side as seems to feed a lot better on the other side. Lump is about 4cm by 3 cm. If referred to hospital how long before you were given an appointment? If your lump was too big to aspirate what size was it? How long did you have to wait for surgery?
Many thanks.

bunnyfrance Thu 15-Dec-11 08:34:55

Hi cookie,

Sorry to hear you're joining the club - it does indeed sound like an abscess. The good thing is the doctors are actually considering it's an abscess, and not just fobbing you off, so you'll get a diagnosis quickly.

My lump was about the same size as yours. I'm not in the UK, so not in the same system, but I was operated on the next day, after having received the diagnosis. If yours is an abscess, you should be operated on pretty quickly.

Hope you get better soon!

cookie9 Thu 15-Dec-11 10:41:41

Many thanks. Hospital doctor saw me yesterday and confirmed it is an abscess. It is 5cm so they aspirate there and then and have to go back next week and the week after that. Pain was really bad last night. Going to try to get some bed rest today.

FrancesW Mon 09-Jan-12 20:58:57

I was just wondering how long it took for your abscesses to heal?

I started getting one at the end of November when my little girl was about a month old. I left it too long as the redness didn't seem to be getting worse and I'd already fed through the beginnings of mastitis before. I got antibiotics but went to my gp as it didn't seem to be working. I got sent to a breast clinic who did an ultrasound and aspirated. Then two days later tried to aspirate again. This didn't work but the next night my abscess ruptured. It was originally 4.5 x 3.5 cm and 2cm deep and leaking loads of milk. It's now much smaller and pretty much level with my skin surface but the consultant won't give a time scale for it healing. He had to use silver nitrate to burn away the overgranulated tissue at the last visit. Ive kept feeding and accordig to the gp that will make it take longer but it's 5 weeks and counting so far...

Any advice much appreciated and all massive sympathies to you all. Abscesses are grim.

chick0 Tue 10-Jan-12 21:55:07

Similar story. I developed an abscess (not sure of exact size) middle of November when my little girl was 6 weeks old. I had a blocked duct but no signs of Mastitis, after a week it became a little sore so went to the doctor and got antibiotics- that night it ruptured (big ouch!) and I ended up in hosptial for two days getting it drained. The following month was spent going to the nurse every other day to get the bandage changed and going to the breast clinic once a week. A few weeks ago the doctor said it was over granulated and prescribed Locoid cream to put on it every time the bandage is changed. This has made such a difference and the last few weeks it has healed up well and is no longer leaky.
It has been eight weeks for me and probably a good few more before it is healed completely- I asked lots as well but no one could tell how long it would take to heal.
It has been such a tough time- I wish there was more information out there about blocked ducts/abscess, it was not mentioned in any of the NCT/NHS classes i went too so I had no idea what to look out for.
Hope you recover quickly!

FrancesW Wed 11-Jan-12 21:29:29

Hi chick0

I'm so sorry it happened to you too. It's really helpful to read your story and it gives me hope I'll be healed by the end of the month (or at least not weeping anymore).

I agree that more information would really help, if nothing else on how to care best for the wound.

Thank you
Frances

blushingm Wed 11-Jan-12 21:54:22

I had an abscess when feeding dd - it wasn't lose enough to the surface o rupture but was quite deep - I had to got to see a breast specialist who apsitaed it with a really long needle - with no anaesthetic -it was right on my areola . I had to go back about 6 times for him to repeat it . The first time he removed 2 sample jars full of yellows green bloodstained gunk. My god it hurt! 5 years on I can still feel a dent in my breast. At the time I could harly lift my arm without crying as it hurt o much. I was told the bet thug I could do was to stop anything that stimulated milk production, as I'd been pumping and feeding em. I still feel like I failed dd though sad

FrancesW Fri 13-Jan-12 19:23:19

Blushingm you've got nothing to feel bad about - the fact that you tried to feed through it shows how good a mum you are smile

I was told to stop too but by that stage the nurse in the breast clinic had got the Breastfeeding midwife down from the postnatal ward who when I came out from the consultant who had told me to stop feeding from the affected breast because I would infect my baby, had an argument with the consultant. It turns out he was just worried it would drip in her eye and give her conjunctivitis. Without that support from a professional and the skills of my husband who adapted the flange for the breast pump, I would have been well on the way to not feeding at all.

Kittie83 Fri 20-Jan-12 21:11:50

Hi everybody can't believe that there's even more mums on this site experiencing the same things! I'm so sorry for all of you! I finally stopped wearing dressing 4 weeks ago and the abscess burst 2 weeks before christmas 2010! LO was 13 months old at that stage! The scar isn't very nice but hoping the bio oil will do the trick!

By the way I'm 19 weeks pregnant with second baby! We're expecting a boy this time so it's very exciting!

Now the worries begin again! Earlier today I started feeling these weird cramps in the same side as previous abscess. I also think it's starting to go a little red! And Murphys law it's Friday! I remember reading a post ages ago about somebody that had a reoccurring abscess with second pregnancy before the baby was born! The post is so long now I can't remember who! Please I need some advice and if this is at all possible till I can phone breast clinic on Monday!

Good luck everybody else hope it will all work itself out sooner than mine! Lol!

chick0 Sun 22-Jan-12 15:16:47

Congrats on pregnancy Kittie83! Wow that is a long time wearing a dressing. I think it will take a while for mine to heal although it does not hurt anymore. How are you feeling now? I hope you manage to get an appointment at the breast clinic.

Tamashii Wed 01-Feb-12 15:10:22

I am so glad I found this thread. I am just back from the breast clinic and I officially have an abscess. I have to go in tomorrow to A&E so they can send me for emergency surgery (couldn't do it today as there is a serious case in theatre already) so I will just have to go along and wait to see if they can operate.

Problem is that I already had several bouts of mastitis, antibiotics and then a "blocked milk duct" therefore more antibiotics. Nothing worked. Last night my purple & black lump had blistered and all the skin started to rupture although the abscess has not burst. Luckily I had a follow up appt today where they were asking who had seen me last time (it was you Mr Medicine...) and did I want to come back tomorrow cos it will likely burst if I don't (which made me feel like they were trying to say it was my fault it had got this bad like I was sitting at home refusing to get helpe when I have in fact been to and from the GP and hospital since the end of November 2011).

I am terrified of going into hospital tomorro as I will have to go under general anaesthetic. They didn't really explain what will happen although I asked lots and lots of questions. Anyway, I really wanted to share with you who have been through it and thanks soooo much for sharing your experiences. I am a bit more open eyed about it all now. Looks like a long road to recovery.

My milk has already dried up though - I was in such pain and on antibiotics so long that I gave up breastfeeding so hopefully that means the abscess surgery won't be affected by engorgement which must be a nightmare.

Anyway, wish me luck for tomorrow. I just hope they can do the surgery - it's been a nightmare and horrible trying to suddenly arrange for my 2 DS's (toddler and 4 month old) since I have never left them both for 2 days (since I could be kept in). Sigh. Panic panic panic.

BizzeeBee Wed 01-Feb-12 19:48:46

Good luck for tomorrow Tamashii. I had to do a similar thing when I had my abscess operated on, in that I was given an appointment to go to A&E on the Monday. When I presented myself at A&E the receptionist looked at me like I was crazy when I said I had an appointment at A&E! grin

I was able to be operated on and go home the same day. The operation itself, assuming no complications, is very quick, in my case they said less than 1/2 an hour. So if you are able to get into theater by early afternoon, you might be able to go home the same day.

From reading other peoples' stories here and reflecting on my own experience, I think that if you have an I&D before the abscess bursts and don't have lots of skin damage to heal, then the recovery is only a few weeks and it rapidly gets easier. It was about 4 weeks for mine to be completely healed with the scab fallen off.

Try not to panic, and let us know how you get on when you have a chance. smile

Tamashii Sat 04-Feb-12 14:55:23

Thanks BizzeeBee

Well that is me home after the op. Everything went fine. The abscess started to rupture as I was gowned up on the trolley outside the anaesthetist's room waiting to go for surgery! Agony. You are right - the op only took about half an hour but I was kept in since the abscess was a lot deeper than they thought and it needed to be packed with extra surgical dressing instead of whatever "wick" type packing they usually use.

Now I am home there is some ambiguity towards how I am to care for the wound. Two nurses are coming out again to see me so they can decide what to do with the wound since the advice on my discharge papers was to leave it open but they believe it should definitely be packed.

I am actually quite upset and worried that I have been operated on (first operation I have ever had) and then let home with a small bag of dressings and some painkillers but no definite inidication of how this gaping hole in my breast should be treated. It doesn't fill me with confidence in the NHS to be honest and I am feeling quite alone. The district nurse who came out today said not to worry, she will make sure I am well taken care of which made me feel better since my treatment at the hospital seemed to me to be quite random and not planned out but I guess it was emergency surgery and that can't be planned...

Sorry if I am waffling - the painkillers are making things nice and fuzzy. I have to say the wound is pretty painful but nothing like the pain of the abscess! Getting the packing removed was really painful but quickly done and I didn't look down while it was happening. Breathing techniques from antenatal classes came in handy for the packing being removed I must say! I just wish it was a wound that you could have bandaged up and ignore for a few weeks so it could heal up you know? The thought of having to clean it out, repack and redress it every day is making me feel physically sick.

Thanks for reassuring me about the healing time too - it's good to have some kind of time scale. They seem to think mine will take around 3 weeks to start to look/feel better then heal up well after that. Providing it is kept clean and open though. It's such a horrible thing to have isn't it? I really wish there had been a bigger warning about the potential abscess from recurring blocked ducts. I might have been a bit more militant about massaging out every last drop of milk instead of relying on the antibiotics to clear up the infection.

Thanks again so much for this thread. It's amazing to have this information and support as it's really difficult to find anything helpful about this horrible thing.

Panzee Sat 04-Feb-12 15:02:01

I had one with my son which took 2 months to heal. The district nurses really are the experts with wound care so I would listen to them. They do it all day with different people. They also had the good (expensive) packing stuff - seaweed and silver if I remember rightly! - which I would take to the breast clinic appointments as the hospital had the cheaper cotton dressing.

Initially the packing would be painful and knock me sick but I would take one of the painkillers before they started and it wouldn't be so bad. As the wound got smaller I didn't need the painkillers.

It was long, hard and boring but all is well now. I did feel a bit trapped in the house, didn't feel I could leave till the nurse had been, but as I improved it became less of an issue.

As for breastfeeding, I didn't bother after I got sick. The breast surgeon was supportive of either choice, though, and encouraged it initially until I said I didn't want to do it any more.

Hope your recovery goes well.

BizzeeBee Sun 05-Feb-12 09:45:06

The packing isn't very nice, but it does get better. I found that the first session was the worst because the surgeon had very kindly packed it nice and tight while I was asleep, forgetting that I would be wide awake with basic painkillers when it all had to be removed!

After a while the packing wasn't needed and I just needed the nurse to clean the wound and apply a new dressing, and eventually when it had scabbed over I was able to do the cleaning and dressing myself.

Keep positive, and at least you have had it sorted out and are on the road to recovery now. smile

bunnyfrance Sun 05-Feb-12 11:52:08

Hi,
replying to kitty83 - It was me who had the abscesses while pregnant - I can reassure you that I had strange prickling sensations all through the pregnancy after the operation, but everything turned out fine - DD is now almost 6 months, EBF no problems, and no sign of the return of the abscess. And congratuations on your pregnancy!

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