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Mastitis and Blocked Milk Ducts

Mastitis and Blocked Milk Ducts – How can Physio help?

Nearly 1 in 5 breast-feeding women are affected by mastitis. Mastitis is an
inflammatory breast condition that may or may not be associated with infection. A blockage generally occurs when accumulated breast milk is unable to drain from the breast, resulting in thickening of stationary milk and blocking the associated milk ducts.

Symptoms of mastitis can include:

  • Symptoms of mastitis can include:
  • Small palpable lump that is usually tender and hard
  • Redness
  • Fever, fatigue, general feeling of being unwell

What can cause a blocked milk duct to occur?

There are several factors that can contribute to increase risk of mastitis including:

  • Infrequent, missed or rushed feeds
  • Sore or injured nipples
  • Infant latching difficulties
  • Fatigue, stress and lack of sleep
  • Breast compression (EG. Tight clothing, handbags or poorly fitting bras)

How can Physio help?

At Physio on Miller, our physiotherapist will take a detailed history and assess the affected breast to determine the best treatment option. Treatment options include:

  • Education – causes, risk factors, improving feeding postures and techniques
  • Continue regular breastfeeding on the affected side (if able).
  • Heat packs
  • Gentle self-massage
  • Therapeutic Ultrasound – A therapeutic ultrasound may be used to help open the ducts and increase circulation to improve the flow of milk. By increasing the milk flow, it can reduce pain and swelling. Most women see improvements with ultrasound in the pain and lump size with 2-3 sessions.
  • Stay hydrated
  • Kinesiology taping
  • Gentle stretches and breathing exercises

To see one of our physios call us or book online.