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Breast Engorgement - Treatment Overview

Breast engorgement is a common problem after birth and during breast-feeding. You can prevent and treat it at home. You do not need to visit your doctor unless you have symptoms of an infection (mastitis), which may require antibiotic treatment.

If you are not going to breast-feed, there currently is no safe medicine available for "drying up" your breasts and preventing breast engorgement.

You can use self-care measures to help prevent or relieve breast engorgement.

  • If you are breast-feeding, self-care focuses on increasing the flow of milk out of your breasts. You do this with frequent breast-feedings, making sure that your baby is latched on well. You can expect some relief within 12 to 24 hours. And the discomfort should disappear within a few days.
  • If you are not breast-feeding, breast engorgement will improve as your breasts stop producing milk. Pain and discomfort should go away in 1 to 5 days. You may find home treatment helpful for relieving symptoms.

For more information on self-care measures to help prevent or relieve the discomfort of breast engorgement, see Home Treatment.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 07, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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