Inflammation of the Mammary Glands, Recognize the Causes, Symptoms, and Handling

Nursing mothers are most likely to experience inflammation of the mammary cells. This is often characterized by painful reddish swellings in one breast. Inflammation of the mammary organs can lead to complications such as a breast abscess if it is not treated.



Inflammation ( mammary glands) is when breast tissue becomes inflamed. This is usually caused by infection from milk accumulation or injury to the skin surrounding the breasts and nipples.

While it is more common in breastfeeding mothers, inflammation can also occur in non-breefed women.

Inflammation of the Mammary Glands

The primary cause of inflammation in the mammary glands of nursing mothers is the accumulation of milk in their breasts (milk stasis). Milk stasis can be caused by many factors, including:

  • Incorrect latching technique to breastfeed
  • A tight bra restricts milk flow
  • Breast milk not regularly emptied or released
  • Breast injuries and sores

A bacterial infection can also cause milk stasis and inflammation of the mammary cells in nursing mothers. These bacteria usually come from the baby's oral cavity and can enter the nipples through the cracks. Nursing mothers are more likely to experience inflammation of their mammary glands within the first six-12 weeks following giving birth.

If you have the following conditions, it is possible for inflammation to occur in the mammary glands of women and men who aren't breastfeeding.

  • Breastfeeding has caused inflammation of the mammary glands.
  • Installing breast implants
  • Eczema
  • Diabetes
  • Nipple piercing
  • A wound from shaving or plucking chest hair
  • Smoking

Because of the damage that cigarette smoke causes to breast tissue, smokers are more likely to cause inflammation. This causes the milk ducts and nipples in the breast to thicken, and then secrete fluid.

Signs of Inflammation in the Mammary Glands

Inflammation of mammary glands typically only affects one breast. These symptoms can often be sudden and include signs like:

  • Swollen breasts
  • Breast lump
  • Breasts feel tender and warm to the touch.
  • Either a burning or constant pain, or a temporary sensation while you are eating
  • The breast skin is reddish.
  • The nipples may produce white discharge or blood spots.

Inflammation of the mammary glands can lead to flu-like symptoms such as body aches, chills and fever.

Treatment for Inflammation of Mammary Glands

It is fairly easy to treat inflammation of the mammary glands when it is diagnosed by a doctor. To treat bacterial infections, doctors will prescribe pain relievers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen.

It can take between 10-21 days to heal inflammation in the mammary glands. You can still breastfeed your baby during this time. Breastfeeding can be used to treat infections. However, abruptly weaning your baby will only make the condition worse.

There are many home remedies that can relieve pain and inflammation, including those prescribed by doctors.

  • Warm compress to soothe sore breasts.
  • Drink lots of fluids
  • There's enough rest!
  • To speed up the process of milk loss, breastfeed every two hours or even more.
  • When your baby is hungry, feed him/her on the affected side.
  • Vary the baby's feeding position
  • Massage the breasts gently in a circular motion. Work from the outside to the nipples.
  • Bras and clothing that aren't too tight

Untreated inflammation of the mammary can lead to the formation of a breast abscess. This condition can be treated with surgery or suctioning pus with a needle.

Inflammation of the mammary can be a sign of breast carcinoma. Although it is rare, this condition is possible. If you experience symptoms of inflammation in your mammary glands, consult an doctor to diagnose the problem and provide the appropriate treatment.


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