An Update on the Recognition and Management of Lactational Breast Inflammation

Christine M. Betzold, NP, CLC, MSN

Disclosures

J Midwifery Womens Health. 2007;52(6):595-605. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Inflammation of the breast (mastitis) with or without infection or redness has a variety of etiologies and presentations that range from the fairly benign blocked duct to the more serious breast abscess. True infectious mastitis can present in a manner that is easily identifiable, or it can present in a subtle and ambiguous fashion. Some women are challenged with recurrent mastitis, and often the underlying etiology is never discovered. This review will assist the clinician in recognizing, efficiently diagnosing, and effectively treating breast inflammation caused by infectious and noninfectious processes, including recurrent mastitis. Tables and a flowchart that outline breast inflammation and recurrent mastitis are provided.

By defining mastitis as "self-report of mastitis diagnosed by a health care provider," a recent US study found that approximately 10% of mothers developed mastitis by 3 months postpartum.[1] In contrast, most health care providers define mastitis as "a constellation of symptoms that include, fever, malaise, and the classic wedge-shaped infected area of the lactating breast." However, the word "mastitis" is more accurately defined as inflammation of the breast, irrespective of the actual disease etiology.[2,3] While it is common to use the word "mastitis" for conditions that are diagnosed and treated as an infectious process, it is actually a nonspecific term that does not differentiate between infectious and noninfectious processes. This review will assist the clinician in recognizing, efficiently diagnosing, and effectively treating breast inflammation along with its closely-related associated conditions, regardless of the definition or etiology.

Comments

3090D553-9492-4563-8681-AD288FA52ACE
Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.
Post as:

processing....