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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,

knuckles0818 Wed 03-Dec-14 03:09:07

at ClearMoo, i also wished i read this thread before. i just had my surgery last week and so shocked to see a large hole in my breast.

i had mastitis before and went to an OBGYNE but she just told me to drink paracetamol and do hot compress. the next day fever and lump was gone though i didn't take any antibiotics.

after one month, a lump appeared again and i thought it was just a clogged duct as i do not feel any fever. this continued for 2 months. i was tested for cancer! but luckily, it was breast abscess.

i had the surgery last week and i was hoping to search for any food or medicine that can make my healing faster.

just sharing. there should be more awareness to this breast abscess thing.

ClearlyMoo Mon 29-Sep-14 07:48:28

Hi all. I wish I'd found this thread months ago. I searched for "breast abscess" and this one slipped through the radar.

Oh my goodness. It's so nice to read your stories (except it isn't as they are all horrific, you poor things).

I'm conscious this is a "zombie thread" so this might never be seen and it was collectively 2-5 years ago since you were all having a hard time.

I tell my story here

There seems to be NO support for breast abscess sufferers anywhere except the odd fab MN thread like this. I'm half wondering about setting up a sufferers forum, or at least a Facebook group.

I would so have valued the support of others who'd been through/were going through similar at the time.

My abscess 6cm diameter burst before they could do the GA and so was I&Dd / cleaned up under local (owwww).

It's now almost 3 months since my first aspiration (10 days before the burst). I saw FOUR different GPs and had three different lots of ABs before the last OOH one I saw sent me straight to hospital.

If I created a FB group would people be happy to contribute/ help future sufferers?!

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

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!

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

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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!

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.

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 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

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 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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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

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 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 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

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.

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

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

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