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Breast Abscess - Advice/stories needed

(6 Posts)
TheSecretCervix Sat 24-Sep-11 08:13:19

I had my LO 3 1/2 weeks ago and developed mastitis in the 2nd week, this developed into a lump the size of a kiwi on my right upper breast (pretty much on the chest bone.) I was in agony for days and was advised to 'massage' it out as it was probably a blocked duct - the pain of this made me feel sick! I went back to the GP the day before yesterday who immediately transfered me to the surgical registrar at our local hospital. The hospital were able to drain the lump under ultrasound guidance (25ml of green pus - they said not to look but I couldn't help it!) That gave me almost instant relief from the pain.
However, a few hours later and the lump had reappeared, it is not as angry and nowhere near as painful as before but is clearly there. I called the surgical reg who has made me an appointment for later this week at the breast clinic. I am continuing to feed and trying to offer that breast first. My babies latch was poor before and caused cracked nipples, which I think is what caused the infection, so I've been really trying to follow advise on getting the proper latch. On many occasions over the last week I've cried feeding him on that side and have felt like giving up breast feeding him altogether but have taken advise from several BF counsellors and feel more in control now.
I have several questions with regards to the abscess which I would be grateful if anyone could share their experience on;

1) Has anyone else had a abscess refill? How many drains did it take to clear or did you end up with surgery? (I'm petrified of having a huge hole left in such an obvious place on breast)

2) How often did you feed/pump to ensure that the breast was being emptied to ensure that the infection did not reoccur?

3) Has anyone had an abscess fill with milk after draining (have been told this is possible)

4) Has anyone had a positive experience of abscess removal via surgery that hasn't left them with a huge cavity?

5) I am taking Cefradine antibiotics and co-codomal (feel guilty taking them but need to get better too) Did anyone have experience of what antibiotics are best to help fight this kind of infection?

Also I'm not sure if being seen at the end of next week is soon enough. Should I be pushing to be seen quicker or is there no urgency?

Feel like this is really blighting my time with my new baby sad I'd just started to be up and about after 2nd degree tear and just want to enjoy being with him and being a new Mum rather than worrying about this.

Thank you for taking the time to read this - sorry it's long! Any advice very much appreciated xxx

funnylittlekaty Sat 24-Sep-11 12:06:51

Sorry- no experience, just bumping for you. Sounds grim. Congrats on the little one though grin

organiccarrotcake Sat 24-Sep-11 12:20:55

I would certainly be pushing for a quicker appointment if possible. The advice you've had to keep feeding and emptying that breast, as well as making sure that the latch is ok to allow good drainage, is really important. If you are having any other symptoms of feeding discomfort (meaning discomfort of the actual feed, not the awfulness of the abscess (I'm not calling that "discomfort"), then keep seeing the BFC as it might be a symptom of an underlying issue that may in turn be triggering the blockages which leads to the abscess.

I'm so sorry you're having such a tough time of it. You will get through this, and it will be fine. Hang on in there.

pizzaman Sat 24-Sep-11 13:18:29

If you call the breast clinic they can often see you a bit quicker, really you should be under their care.

There is no number of feeds you need but you should keep your breast comfortable, any engorgement creates the conditions that can lead to bacterial mastits with the milk in stasis and the lymph system unable to drain. It is possible that you infection entered through one of your cracks and was unrelated to feeding although probably doubtful with the discomfort you have experienced.

Your antibiotic is one used frequently although cultures could be done if you weren't responsive to it, many wounds need packing and some mothers need antibiotics given IV. Drains can be left in the wound so the pus can keep leaving without the build up you have had.

The wound filling with milk is less common there is a separate condition that is a little similar but better to focus on the 'normal' course of things where there will be milk and pus in there but you would expect that as it heals.

Most women dont end up with a huge cavity, just a neat scar that fades and often nothing visible. The woemn with more damage tend to have a huge case of mastitis and multiple sites for the abscesses.

Keep working with your bfc, they will be able t answer the above but n realtion to your personal circumstances.

Scuse the typos - good luck

crazyhead Sun 25-Sep-11 10:36:14

I had a non-pregnancy breast abscess (which are much rarer and tend to be much more problematic than preg ones, and mine certainly was, lasting nearly two years until surgery). The strongest antibiotic I was given was Metronidazole, but I was taking three types of antibiotic a day at one stage. Protocol is probably really different outside pregnancy.

Despite my abscess being large and leading to fistulation (where a little tunnel forms and comes to the surface to drain the abscess, and the cells change round it, requiring surgery) my surgical treatment was very effective and the scarring is minimal. I feel like I have a tiny bit less breast tissue that side now, but it really is alright and resolved the problem - most of my situation won't be similar to yours, but i just wanted to give you some hope for the surgery if you need it.

TheSecretCervix Sun 25-Sep-11 22:13:09

Thank you so much everyone for your knowledge and advice. I'm going to call the breast clinic tomorrow to see if I can get an earlier appointment so at least I know what I am dealing with. It's good to hear positive things and that even if surgery is necessary that the scarring may be minimal. I feel a bit down that I may have to take time to recover from an operation when I'm just over the labour and a difficult pregnancy with an unstable pelvis and SPD. I want my healthy body back and to be able to just enjoy being a new Mum!!
Good news is though that LO seems to be latching on better and can now do it without me moving his head on which has made me less sore. I do still however have several cracks on the nipple on the, 'evil boob' and I'm thinking of solely expressing from that breast and giving him a bottle to give that time to heal - I'm thinking of hiring a medical grade pump to make it as easy as possible on that breast. Going to go to a breast feeding group tomorrow run by a midwife and bf counsellor to get some advice on that.
For someone who likes to do things well who knew breastfeeding could be so hard!
Thanks again for your help. I'll keep you updated! xx

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