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HELP! Mastitis/Abscess/Blockages

(45 Posts)
herethereandeverywhere Sun 17-Jan-10 19:22:45

I was wondering if someone on here could help (as so far the two doctors I've seen haven't).

I have mastitis and feel grim. Was prescribed antibiotics last night.

This has been coming on for weeks since I foolishly skipped one feed without my pump with me. I've been battling blocked ducts and following all advice from NCT counsellor and from Kellymom. Had the suspicion that my breast wasn't fully draining (about 1/6 of it stayed hard and heavy and sore directly beneath areola) but I couldn't feel any peppercorn lumps. Anyway mastitis finlly got me yesterday and I felt so ill I paid a doctor to come out of hours to start the ABs sad.

Anyway, my question is, if this is all caused by a blockage I just can't shift, will it just come back once the AB course is finished and wears off?

Am I doomed to automatically getting an abcess? How do I know when mastitis becomes an abcess? sad sad

How do I get rid of this thing if no amount of massage/compresses/changing of feeding positions/pumping seems to work?

And also, how the hell will I EVER wean if skipping ONE feed causes this?!! Can you buy the milk drying up pills on private prescription?


herethereandeverywhere Mon 18-Jan-10 18:26:59

Update 2: Doc has referred me to A&E(?) it was that or an 8 day wait for the breast clinic. So I'm off to sit in a very long queue. Just want someone to tell me it's not an abcess!!!

nigglewiggle Mon 18-Jan-10 18:44:03

Good luck. I hope you get the answers you need.

NotQuiteCockney Mon 18-Jan-10 19:41:19

Oh, I'm glad you're getting help today for this. I hope the queue isn't too scary. Let us know what you find out!

Henrietta Mon 18-Jan-10 19:57:58

Just another suggestion try feeding off the breast with the problem more- even perhaps putting back on the next feed sometimes a couple of times. not a long term solution as it will effectively increase your milk supply but I was told that mastitis was as the result of a duct becoming a bit blocked and that you had to drain that duct in order to get rid of the infection. you could also try feeding upside down etc (lie them on the bed and position yourself - uncomfortable but works, A warm facecloth on the affected area helps reduce the inflammation I seem to remember too.

Once the blockage is drained you can go back to normal feeding, and hopefully no hard bits. By 3 months my milk supply started to setle down to the point of my breasts being almost soft between feeds and milk coming in either as they were due a feed or as they started feeding.(I had plentiful supply too)

Hope you get on ok at hosp

Henrietta Mon 18-Jan-10 19:59:42

Ps with weaning - do it one feed at a time that way your milk supply adjusts more gradually and you get less engorgement.

PacificDogwood Mon 18-Jan-10 20:54:41

A+E = Accident and Emergency, and stubborn mastitis that does not improve with ABs ergo could be abscess is an emergency - so you were sent to the right place.

Hope you got on ok. And it's NOT an abscess of course...

herethereandeverywhere Tue 19-Jan-10 00:10:59

Update: back from hospital, was examined and they're pretty confident it's an abscess sad but I have to go back tomorrow for ultrasound and draining <yuk>. They've also suggested I double the dose of AB and of course, keep on feeding (so the £150 I spent on the private doctor who didn't examine me was pretty useless)

I just hope they don't have to cut me open sad sad sad

I must say a HUGE thank you to you, Pacific and all the others who thought it may be an abscess and told me that I needed to follow it up - I definitely wouldn't have escalated this so quickly if you hadn't said to, goodness knows how bad it would have been by then.

Apparently there are no guarantees of a scan tomorrow so I'm likely to be pulling another all-dayer at the hospital <yawn> Oh well, at least I'm on the road to treatment.

AngelDog Tue 19-Jan-10 04:00:38

Hope you manage to get seen quickly, here. I don't know if this would be of any use in your situation, but when I had bad engorgement & a blocked duct, the MWs suggested a warm bath, massaging with a vegetable-based oil from the armpit / outside of the breast in towards the areola, and then actually feeding baby whilst still in the bath. As I say, I dont know if it would help your situation improve after you've had the abscess drained, but it certainly worked for me.

NotQuiteCockney Tue 19-Jan-10 07:12:48

Oh sad re it being an abcess, but at least you're getting it looked at.

PacificDogwood Tue 19-Jan-10 16:36:38

Sorry to hear it is likely to be an abscess, but like you say, at least you are on the road to proper treatment.

I'd second feeding in a warm bath, except I would have needed more hands in order not to drown DS3 wink.

Hope you get better quickly now.

herethereandeverywhere Wed 20-Jan-10 12:53:01

Hopefully last update!: IT WASN'T AN ABCESS AFTER ALL. HOORAY!!!!

Ultrasound just confirmed backed up milk and swelling. Still haven't managed to shift it but I'm feeding in all sorts for weird positions, massage, hot compresses etc.

I felt weirdly emotionally drained last night. I hadn't realised just how bound up with my emotions bf my dd is.

Thanks again to all for your invaluable advice and support.


teaandcakeplease Wed 20-Jan-10 15:34:42

That's good news! Haven't been on MN for a few days, so was shocked to read everything today.

So glad it's not an abcess!

NotQuiteCockney Wed 20-Jan-10 20:11:11

Oh, v glad to hear it.

Personally, I don't mind more updates - so please do let us know how it goes. Have you managed to stop sleeping on your front?

Minshu Wed 20-Jan-10 20:40:41

Glad it's not an abscess. I've suffered with recurrent blockages on both sides and one bout of mastitis in the right, but have tried taking lecithin (1200 mg 3 times a day) for the last few weeks and have been clear for the last week (keeping fingers crossed).

I know exactly what you mean about how emotional this BF lark is. When I thought I might have to stop a few weeks ago, I couldn't stop crying.

Good luck.

PacificDogwood Wed 20-Jan-10 20:56:43


V glad for you. Good luck.

nicnac73 Thu 21-Jan-10 08:24:24


There is a support thread on here for abscess sufferers


A suspected abscess is an emergency. There is a disappointing amount of ignorance amongst doctors regarding abscesses. There is also not enough awareness amongst women and HCPs about the need for emergency access to ultrasound. Even the best doctors don't have x-ray vision. There

I have taken cabergoline. I read the leaflet very carefully and don't remember any warning about the risk of death. nausea is far more likely. It didn't bloody work anyway.

I have also written to Mumsnet and they are researching this subject and have promised to update their advice as there is no info on abscesses on MN.

Herethereandeverywhere really happy that you don't have an abscess. Also, very glad you got the ultrasound

herethereandeverywhere Sun 21-Feb-10 16:33:00


Think I have mastitis again. I'd introduced one bottle feed per day just over a week ago (trying to wean onto formula very gradually). Thought I'd done okay and was even thinking of upping to 2 bottles per day but have woken today with pain in both breasts and tell-tale red patch on the same side as the mastitis last time.

I am SO BL**DY P*SSED OFF. I find it very difficult to be positive about bf and even having children when stuff like this happens. No-one warned me that if I chose to bf I'd never be able to give up without condemning myself to regular illness. The antibiotics I took last time (erythromycin because I'm allergic to penecillin) gave me awful gastritis (felt as ill as when the mastitis struck) and I had to stop taking them so God knows what I'll do this time.

I'm considering asking my useless GP to prescribe the drug that stops the milk but didn't want my dd to have to "cold turkey".

If I'm to feed to clear the mastitis it's going to stimulate my supply, not reduce it.

I'm so busy next week, I haven't got time to traipse all over the place and spend hours in waiting rooms so I can see GPs/bf counsellors. It feels like bf is ruining my life yet I feel emotionally obliged to continue for dd.

Not even sure why I posted this, had to vent somewhere. The MIL and SIL told me that formula was the way forward so can't face speaking to them and getting the "told you so" line.

Rant over angry angry angry

ommmward Sun 21-Feb-10 16:47:53


Brace yourself.

There is one absolutely sure fire way of clearing a blocked duct in less than 5 minutes but it is somewhat taboo.

key concept: your baby is not the only person in your house with a mouth.

Feed your baby off the problematic side. Really get the breast as empty as you can. Maybe follow up with a bit of hand expressing in a hot bath.

Instruct your dh to lie on his back. kneel over him with the blocked part of your breast towards his chin.

Get him to suck strongly, doing a single firm stroke of massage firmly from all the way up in your armpit all the way down to the areola. It may take a minute or two, and then he will get a sudden squirt of milk. Get him to continue for another minute or two to make sure the blockage is all gone.

And if he goes all stubborn on you, remind him that he can spit not swallow, and you won't take it as an indication of how much he loves you... grin

And please, once this has worked for you, pass it on. No woman ever needs to have mastitis if she has a partner with the ability to suck.

herethereandeverywhere Sun 21-Feb-10 22:35:02

Ah. I honestly wasn't expecting that advice! grin

TBH don't think dh will go for it but if it is just the result of a blockage then I'll keep working on it with heat/massage/expressing.

duzida Sun 21-Feb-10 23:52:15

Just read through thread and wondered if anyone had suggested/have you tried looking closely at your nipple under good light and seeing if there is any sort of tiny white spot, likely on the side of the nipple where your blockage is? It might only show up when you squeeze the breast as if to express.

Almost every time I've had painful blocked ducts (although mine have only lasted 24-48 hours, so maybe very different), I've found the white spot where dried milk is clogging the duct. If ds doesn't clear it by feeding, I've braced myself, sterilised a fine, sharp sewing needle with a match flame, and very gently poked the white milk blockage. Followed by up to 2 minutes of milk streaming out of that single milk outlet while I put pressure on the lump. Gross and potentially a bit dodgy but it's done the trick. I read about it first here on MN.

Not sure if that's more or less appealing than having your dp give it a go!

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