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Classification & external resources
DiseasesDB 7861
MedlinePlus 001490

Mastitis is the inflammation of the mammalian breast. It is called puerperal mastitis when it occurs to lactating mothers and non-puerperal otherwise. Mastitis can rarely occur in men. Inflammatory breast cancer has symptoms very similar to mastitis and must be ruled out.

Chronic cystic mastitis, also called fibrocystic disease, a condition rather than a disease, is characterized by noncancerous lumps in the breast.

American slang: in the US mastitis usually refers to bacterial mastitis, whereas non-bacterial puerperal mastitis is referred to as breast engorgement. Names for non-puerperal mastitis are not used very consistently and include mastitis, Subareolar abscess, Duct Ectasia, Periductal Inflammation.

In this wikipedia article mastitis is used in the original sense of the definition as inflammation of the breast with additional qualifiers where appropriate.

Mastitis is also a very common condition in Veterinary medicine.


[edit] Puerperal mastitis

Caused by the blocking of the milk ducts while the mother is lactating (see breastfeeding). It can cause painful areas on the breasts or nipples and may lead to a fever or flu-like symptoms. Except in heavy cases it is not necessary to wean a nursling because of mastitis; in fact, nursing is the most effective way to remove the blockage and alleviate the symptoms, and is not harmful to the baby. Sudden weaning can cause or exacerbate mastitis symptoms.

Mastitis can be discerned from simple blockages by the intensity of pain, heat emanating from the area, redness and fever in the mother. In some cases the fever can become severe, requiring antibiotics; ten percent of cases develop into abscesses that need to be drained surgically.

[edit] Treatment

Massage and the application of heat can help prior to feeding as this will aid the opening of the ducts and passageways. A cold compress may be used to ease the pain when not wanting to lose the milk, though it is most appropriate to reduce the levels of milk contained. For this reason it is also advised that the baby should frequently feed from the inflamed breast. However, the content of the milk may be slightly altered, sometimes being more salty, and the taste may make the baby reject the breast at the first instance.

The presence of cracks or sores on the nipples increases the likelihood of infection. Tight clothing or ill-fitting bras may also cause problems as they compress the breasts. The most common infecting organism is Staph. aureus, and babies carrying the organism in their noses are more likely to give it to their mothers;[1] the clinical significance of this finding is still unknown, but theoretically, removing carriage from the nursing infant's nose may help prevent recurrence.

In severe cases it may be required to stop lactation and use lactation inhibiting medication.

[edit] Nonpuerperal mastitis

Nonpuerperal mastitis is often related to macromasty, mastodyny or mastopathy. Hyperprolactinemia, Thyroid problems, Tobacco smoking, nipple piercings, diabetes and some medications are predisposing factors.

In many cases nonpuerperal mastitis starts as nonbacterial inflammation. Risk of recurrence, abscesses and secondary infection is very high for nonpuerperal mastitis. Once the condition becomes chronic or recurrent it is very hard to treat and frequently requires repeated surgery. Therefore prompt and appropriate treatment by a specialist is important.

[edit] Treatment

Most effective treatment is ANTIBIOTICS

[edit] Inflammatory breast cancer

A very serious type of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer presents with similar signs/symptoms as mastitis. It is the most aggressive type of breast cancer with the highest mortality rate. Therefore if symptoms of mastitis persist, the patient should be referred to a breast surgeon to consider biopsy for cancer.

[edit] See also

[edit] Numbered references

  1. ^ Amir LH, Garland SM, Lumley J. (2006). "A case-control study of mastitis: nasal carriage of Staphylococcus aureus". BMC Family Practice. 7: 57. DOI:10.1186/1471-2296-7-57. 

[edit] Unnumbered references

For nonpuerperal mastitis: most of them are in German, no usable English language literature known.

  • Stauber, Weyerstahl; Gynäkologie und Geburtshilfe; 2nd edition 2005; ISBN 3-13-125342-8
  • Petersen; Infektionen in Gynäkologie und Geburtshilfe; 4th edition 2003; ISBN 3-13-722904-9
  • Goerke, Steller, Valet; Klinikleitfaden Gynäkologie Geburtshilfe; 6th edition 2003; ISBN 3-437-22211-2
  • Goepel E, Pahnke VG; 1991 Geburtshilfe und Frauenheilkunde; Successful therapy of nonpuerperal mastitis--already routine or still a rarity?; PMID 2040409
  • Krause A, Gerber B, Rhode E.; Zentralbl Gynakol. 1994;116(8):488-91.; Puerperal and non-puerperal mastitis; PMID 7941820
  • Peters F, Schuth W; JAMA. 1989 Mar 17;261(11):1618-20; Hyperprolactinemia and nonpuerperal mastitis (duct ectasia).; PMID 2918655
  • Jacobs VR, Golombeck K, Jonat W, Kiechle M.; Int J Fertil Women's Med. 2003; Mastitis nonpuerperalis after nipple piercing: time to act.; PMID 14626379
  • Mastitis Nonpuerperalis

[edit] External links