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Can anyone who suffered from mastitis come and tell me about their recovery?

(33 Posts)
ZenNudist Tue 04-Mar-14 20:51:54

Please! Warning gory description follows. How long is this hell going to last?

Been taking ABs for 2 days but there is a gathering of pus (or milk but I think it could be pus) in a big lump to the side if my nipple. It's getting worse, is red & shiny & has a little bit in the centre that I don't know what it is.

It's just crying out to be lanced. It looks like a boil and is slightly itchy as well as very painful. Half my breast is caked so no milk can get past.

Want to go back to docs tomorrow and ask to have the lump lanced but I know she'd tell me to wait 5 more days see how ABs work.

Please help! Had a big cry as ebf ds2 seems to be very much in doubt. He's bit getting much milk off that side, keeps falling asleep


Edgarallan Tue 04-Mar-14 20:56:00

You poor thing, very similar to mine, had to keep my top off for a week to heal my nipple! Don't underestimate how much rest you need to recover its a horrid illness took me 7-10 days to feel well again. hang n there and Get well soon.

Edgarallan Tue 04-Mar-14 20:58:02

Ps Nipple shields were essential to keep me feeding on my bad side when I had it. Although bf counsellor said not to use them for long they were ver important for me x

CityDweller Tue 04-Mar-14 21:39:56

I had it twice when DD was small. Not as badly as you, it sounds. Only thing that really worked was aggressively massaging the blocked area. In the shower was usually best - using my knuckles or sometimes (if I was feeling brave) a wide-toothed plastic comb. You gotta clear the blocked area to kick the mastis.

ZenNudist Tue 04-Mar-14 21:44:23

I know I need to clear blockage but the lump is so bad I cannot face pumping. I cAnt even touch it. Keeping feeding but ds got bad latch so limited success there.

Thanks so much for support. Its good to know other people recognise the lump was thinking must be pus.

Middleagedmotheroftwo Tue 04-Mar-14 21:51:33

I ended up in hospital to have mine cut out. I have a scar across my nipple to prove it. Two lots of ABs didn't work and I had to go to in to hospital when we were visiting DPs for the weekend, the pain got so bad they operated same day.

ZenNudist Tue 04-Mar-14 22:25:16

Middle Aged mother how horrible for you. How long from starting symptoms until you had surgery?

Perhaps I should goto docs tomorrow - dh thinks I should give it more time for ABs to work

SummerRain Tue 04-Mar-14 22:32:34

I had a very bad bout with ds1. The only solution for me was to express, feed, then express more. I just had to drive past the blinding pain and try and empty the breast as much as possible.

Warmth helps, as do odd feeding positions. At one point I had him lying on the bed and I knelt over him and fed him upside down as it seemed to relieve the pressure in the worst section.

If baby won't feed from that side just express, by hand is best as a pump can be far too harsh and painful. Use warm compresses to soften things up, then express as much as possible. Repeat ad nauseum.

ZenNudist Tue 04-Mar-14 23:22:55

SummerRain, I have only just got up the nerve to express. It's right over the lump. I've been feeding ds all day but like I say he's a bad feeder, mainly kept falling asleep.

I've had lots of hot showers & baths, heat packs, cool ones. I'm exhausted from lack of sleep (given) and effort as well as pain. Had cold flu thing last week and still coughing(lovely).

Thanks for the messages. Really helps to hear from those who been there.

LowCloudsForming Tue 04-Mar-14 23:32:35

Um, I had this with mine (donkeys ago of course) and I am of the school of "grit your teeth and feed through it" as it clears the ducts (mechanical or hand pumping will also help this - sore or not) (I'm also assuming you've tried savoy cabbage leaves to soothe?) but your situation sounds to me as though you need to get the GP to come to you pronto. You could have picked up MRSA in the hospital or have an infection that is not being cleared by the antibiotics. Good luck and please don't hesitate to call your midwife - the infection can really take hold and make you feel dreadful.

ZenNudist Tue 04-Mar-14 23:41:51

LCF - at least I haven't been to hospital to get MRSA. Ds born at home. It was such a nice birth, why do I get clobbered by bf-ing?

Used the cabbage leaves, found they warmed quickly and smelt! Got cold pack in fridge.

There's so much to do to nip this in the bud it's daunting. Feeding is constant concentration to keep ds latched, feeding & massage the boob.

I quite happy to hear gory details of others mastitis or abscess symptoms to look out for! It helps to know its going to get better... eventually shock.

LowCloudsForming Tue 04-Mar-14 23:52:02

ZN - that is reassuring (the non-hosp bit). This may sound awful but may I suggest hand-relief i.e. emptying the breast by hand e.g. over a basin? It will be sore initially but at least you have control whereas if the baby is struggling to latch their is a double frustration! If you can get significant throughput, you should be able to help clear the infection and your breast will meet the demand you place on it so there should be plenty for him. I found that the baby could not feed easily with the breast so tight/full, so removing some of the pressure from the breast made it easier to latch on. You could feed off the good breast and hand express/ditch the other one until it is working properly. Good luck oh stoic one!

Hinty Wed 05-Mar-14 00:12:48

I think you need to go back to the doctor. Sounds a bit like an abscess to me but best to get it checked. I had one recently and I think it was one of the most painful things that has ever happened to me. You have my sympathies!

I didn't have to have surgery but I did have to have it aspirated at the hospital weekly until it fully healed (about six weeks in total).

The important thing is to get the correct antibiotics that target the specific infection. My infection got significantly better within 12hrs of getting the right antibiotics and they found out what it was by taking sample. I had three different types of antibiotics before that.

Most of the doctors at my surgery didn't have a clue so it was a relief to be referred to the specialists at the hosptal. Push for that if you can.

The good news is that I got through it, still exclusively breastfeeding throughout with the help of ibruprofen, paracetamol, nipple shields, expressing and great care from the hospital. I just have a tiny scar. Breastfeeding hasn't been affected since.

Anyway it might be just mastitis that will clear with these antibiotics but if not you need to get it seen to. Good luck!

BadlyStuffedWalrus Wed 05-Mar-14 00:17:33

I had a nasty bout of it, which I fed through with the aid of massive antibiotics and painkillers. I ended up with a mass which is ok but still there three years on. It's bloody horrible, and I feel for you.

Hinty Wed 05-Mar-14 00:24:43

Oh and before I knew it was an abscess I spent a lot of painful time trying to massage the lump away following advice for mastitis. I asked the doc in the hospital if this would help and she said no, not with an abscess. No amount of massaging and combing under a power shower will shift it. You're just putting yourself through more pain for no reason.

Oh and although it might be tempting to pop it yourself I probably wouldn't but you might find it pops by itself. That's what happened to me and although pretty gross it was also a strange relief.

ZenNudist Wed 05-Mar-14 09:10:48

Hinty I think it must be abcess, there is NO WAY I'd be combing a festering boil. This morning it's started to look like an open wound, fun to express off.

Gave ds bottle of ebf last night after feed pump feed pump cycle of pain... He took it brilliantly and slept really well. It's so good to know I could still bf after this, was starting to think is get into feeding ebf and as such would end up ff at some point.

Doc appt late today. Annoyed system meant couldn't get one sooner. Thinking of camping out in surgery to get a hospital referral. The thought of going another night with this is awful.

Of course it may have burst by then... Something to hope for!?!

PoshPaula Wed 05-Mar-14 09:14:22

It sounds like an abscess. Get it checked out right now.

I had one after weeks of unsuccessful breast feeding and frequent bouts of mastitis. I had to have it drained in hospital, under general anaesthetic, and the wound was dressed every day for six weeks as it healed. It left me with a tiny scar.

Hinty Wed 05-Mar-14 09:42:01

Oh honestly I do really feel for you, it sounds very similar to what I had. I swear the pain was worse than chilbirth. I had mine the week before Christmas and I had to cancel the cottage we had booked for Christmas. I spent Christmas taking as many pain killers as I was allowed (i had a spreadsheet) and regularly sobbing because of the pain.

Dd is four months now and it really does seem like a distant memory so you will get through this, you just need the right antibiotics and support. Do you have a good hospital near you? I think I was pretty lucky with the breast care unit I could go to.

Also the surgeons I saw were very pro continuing to breastfeed if I could. Keeping the milk flowing is a good thing. It's just sometimes technically difficult when there is a bloody great abscess in the way.

Please let us know how you get on and good luck!

ZenNudist Wed 05-Mar-14 10:00:55

Thank you hinty and Paula. I'm in manchester so the hospitals are good. Heading to walk in centre so they will be best placed to deal with it.

Fingers crossed they can use local anaesthetic not GA.

Also got re-referral to tongue tie clinic to have ds's "mild posterior" tie revised. If they'd taken 5 minutes to do it 2 weeks ago then I might not be in this position. I didn't insist because things feeding seemed to be improving. Oh well, live and learn.

So pleased to hear you continued to bf after this.

Hinty Wed 05-Mar-14 17:12:47

How did you get on today Zen? I hope you managed to see someone who knew what they were talking about.

Just another thought about continuing to feed I basically tried to make my healthy boob do a lot of the work. My friend had just successfully fed twins, one boob for each twin so I figured it could be done. It meant I could keep painful expressing of the abscess boob to a minimum. Feeding off it was impossible because dd couldn't latch on.

Middleagedmotheroftwo Wed 05-Mar-14 17:23:04

Dd was 6 weeks when I had the op, and I'd had two rounds of ABs in that time (2nd lot stronger). I had a huge red patch on my boob, which was "peaking" when I eventually got sent to hospital by DMum's GP. I was at the point when I was in too much pain to even hold DD, in case she waved her arms and hit me on the wrong side.

Middleagedmotheroftwo Wed 05-Mar-14 17:24:52

Posh Paula - same.
Took ages to heal because they wouldn't stitch the wound in case of infection.

ZenNudist Wed 05-Mar-14 19:24:36

It is an abscess. I got seen by a breast surgeon today (after visiting a drop in centre and A&E angry). They drained the abscess by syringe. It still looks bad - like it did last night, but better than it looked earlier today.

So glad I didn't wait to see my GP who was crap and gave me a late appointment time. It will take 48h to get results of the culture to check what the infection is. If ABs don't work they will have to operate. So any more waiting around and I'd be at the weekend and definitely facing an op next week. Whereas now there's still time to change ABs if needed.

The surgeon suggested draining it again to try to avoid op. Recovery time sounds long for op. I don't want to be in pain for ages.

I'm feeding ds off the good side. Not had time to express on the bad one. I'm going to do that now, but I don't want to, all looks so sore.

I feel annoyed I've got to this point. Really don't feel as if there was anything I could have done to avoid this hmm situation. Am now worried I'm going to end up with operation. Pray pray it's not MRSA.

Support much appreciated. There's so many horror stories on MN about abscesses - worries me even more.

zimbomaman Wed 05-Mar-14 19:35:11

I had an abscess which was operated on. TBH once the ABs kicked in I was pretty much pain free post op. The twice daily cleansing of the wound was quite uncomfortable but didn't hurt once done. The hole closed after 6 weeks and the resulting dent in the breast took a year to smooth over. There is an angry red scar now but it looks much better than the bullet wound that it looked like before.

Wishing you a very speedy recovery.

ZenNudist Wed 05-Mar-14 20:07:01

Thanks zimbomaman, mine is 3cm is across. God I don't want a scar, it's cleavage side so whilst I don't wear cleavage revealing tops any more it's not going to always be easy to hide.

Ho hum I guess scars are least of my worries. Am pleased by your account of minimal pain as it cleared.

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