Menu   WellSpan Health

Health Library

Health Library

Breast Infections and Inflammations

What is lactational mastitis?

Illustration of breastfeeding, latch-on

The most common type of breast infection is lactational mastitis, which occurs when a woman is breastfeeding. The nipples become cracked and sore, allowing bacteria from the baby's mouth to enter the ducts and rapidly multiply in the milk. Occasionally, infection also arises from a blocked milk duct. In both cases, the breast becomes hard, reddened, hot, and painful.

Treatment for lactational mastitis

Specific treatment for lactational mastitis will be determined by your health care provider based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history

  • Extent of the condition

  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • Expectations for the course of the condition

  • Your opinion or preference

Your health care provider may suggest trying to unblock the duct with warm compresses and massage. He or she may also prescribe antibiotics and an analgesic for pain. In some cases, lactational mastitis progresses and forms an abscess, a more serious condition that may require drainage.

What is nonlactational mastitis?

Nonlactational mastitis is similar to lactational mastitis but occurs in nonlactating women. In some cases, this condition occurs in women who have had lumpectomies followed by radiation therapy, in women with diabetes, or in women whose immune systems are depressed.

While this condition is rare, it is usually accompanied by high fever and headache and treated with antibiotics. Consult your health care provider for a diagnosis and treatment.

What is chronic subareolar abscess?

Chronic subareolar abscess is a breast infection that occurs infrequently. Surgery may be needed to stop this repeating infection. Consult your health care provider for a diagnosis and treatment.

Breast Infections and Inflammations - WellSpan Health

Online Medical Reviewer: Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 2013-05-14T00:00:00
Last Modified Date: 2013-05-19T00:00:00
Posting Date: 2008-11-30T00:00:00
Published Date: 2013-05-19T00:00:00
Last Review Date: 2007-03-30T00:00:00
© 2015 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to www.mywellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.

×