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Abscess Sufferers

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


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 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.


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....

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