MASTITIS – what is it?

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How can SquareOne Women’s Health Physios help with your mastitis?

Breast milk is carried to the nipple through a series of ducts. If a duct becomes blocked, a build up of breast milk can develop behind the blockage and lead to a lump forming in the breast tissue.

Mastitis is an inflammatory condition that results when a blocked duct fails to clear. It is characterised by a painful, often red lump and may be accompanied by fever and a general feeling of being unwell (similar to the flu).


What to do if you get Mastitis? 


It is encouraged to continue breastfeeding while you have mastitis. This will help to clear the blocked duct and is important for maintaining your milk supply.

  • Before: apply a warm compress to the affected breast
  • During: feed baby on the affected side first, ensure this breast is fully drained before switching to the other breast
  • After: use a cool pack to help alleviate pain

If you suspect that you are not effectively draining the breast during each feed, ask your physiotherapist or Dr to put you in contact with a lactation consultant.

Self massage

Your physiotherapist will teach you how to massage your breasts to help clear the blockage. Sweep from the painful area towards the armpit using an open hand. This will facilitate lymphatic drainage.

Chest pumps

Activating your chest muscles can assist lymphatic drainage. Clasp your hands in front of your chest in a prayer position. Squeeze the heels of your hand together by tightening the muscles at the front of your chest. Perform 20 repetitions of this, before and after feeding.

Bra fitting

Ensure you are fitted properly with a maternity bra. The bra should not dig in or cause increased compression in any part of the breast.

Self care

Ensure you are getting plenty of rest, fluid and optimal nutrition.

Pain relief

Talk to your pharmacist about the use of ibuprofen/paracetamol for pain relief

If you do not begin to see improvement within 1-2 days, seek further guidance from your general practitioner.


What can a Women’s Health Physio do for MASTITIS?

Mastitis services are now available at SquareOne Women’s Health

After increasingly common requests we are now pleased to offer Physiotherapy services for the treatment of mastitis to advance our postnatal care services.

Treatments include:

  • Therapeutic ultrasound
  • Soft tissue massage – lymphatic drainage
  • Advice and education – breast care
  • Self management techniques – heat/cryotherapy, self massage, exercises
  • Referral to lactation consultant where required
  • Referral back to GP in the presence of worsening symptoms

We are increasingly receiving enquiries for treatment of mastitis from women who would like to try alternative treatments to antibiotics.

If you have any questions regarding this service, please do not hesitate to contact one of our Women’s Health Physiotherapists. Or book online here.

Check out other services that SquareOne Women’s Health provides too.

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