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Mastitis While Breast-Feeding - Symptoms

The symptoms of mastitis most often appear within 4 to 6 weeks after childbirth.

If you have mastitis camera.gif, you may first notice:

  • A painful area on one breast. It may be reddened, warm to the touch, or both.
  • Chills, aches, and flu-like symptoms.
  • A fever.

These initial symptoms may start after you have resolved a blocked milk duct.

When to call

Call your doctor now if you have:

  • Increasing pain in one area of the breast.
  • Increasing redness in one area of the breast or red streaks extending away from an area of the breast.
  • Drainage of pus from the nipple or another area of the breast.
  • A fever of 101°F (38.5°C) or higher.

Call your doctor today if you have:

Call your doctor if you have other breast problems like cracked and bleeding nipples or blisters on your nipples that are not relieved by home treatment.

Breast abscess

In some cases, symptoms of mastitis get worse and the breast develops a pocket of pus (abscess) in the infected area. Symptoms of a breast abscess include:

  • A breast lump that is hard and painful.
  • A reddened area on the breast.
  • Flu-like symptoms that are getting worse.

Thrush infection

Thrush (yeast infection) can occur in your baby's mouth and spread to your nipples and breast ducts. If you have symptoms of mastitis that are not going away in spite of treatment, pain in the nipple area during and after breast-feeding, sharp breast pain in between feedings, or nipples that look very pink, you may have thrush. This condition can also begin with a sudden start of pain or burning when breast-feeding has been going well without problems.

If you have thrush symptoms, both your nipples and your baby's mouth should be checked for thrush. Treatment for thrush requires that both you and your baby be treated, even if your baby doesn't have symptoms. For more information, see the topic Thrush.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 10, 2012
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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