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Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast. It occurs most often in women who are breastfeeding, but it can affect any woman. Mastitis can be caused by poor milk flow from the breast. When milk builds up in a breast, it leaks into the nearby breast tissue. Infection can also develop when the nipples become cracked or irritated. The tissue can then become infected with bacteria.
Antibiotics can usually cure mastitis. For women who are nursing, continued breastfeeding (or pumping) can help. If mastitis is not treated, a pocket of pus may form in the breast and need to be drained.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: October 8, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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