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How is mastitis mismanaged?

Here’s the scenario how mastitis is often mismanaged.

Mama notices and feels she has the symptoms of mastitis. There’s the breast pain, redness on the skin, fever and chills and those horrendous flu-like aches and pains. As you realise what’s going on, the anxiety grows of how you are going to care for that little baby when you are feeling so bad.

Given the situation and way too much googling, mama ends up making an appointment with the doctor for what they absolutely think they NEED…antibiotics. Mastitis is commonly thought of as an infection, and that’s simply not accurate.

The lesser known story about mastitis...

Here’s the thing.

Mastitis is very often an inflammatory condition (not an infection) that will not respond to antibiotics. The inflammation occurs when the milk finds its way outside the ducts and lobes of the breast (outside the milk-making machinery),and into the breast tissue. The natural and normal response of the human body when a fluid or substance is found in the wrong area, is to initiate a chemical reaction to clean it up, that is inflammation. Your symptoms will not tell you if your mastitis is inflammatory or an infection. They will be the same.

A fever is not definitively mastitis infection.

Flu-like aches & pains are not definitively mastitis infection.

The GOOD news is that you have some time that you can wait and see how this goes. It’s ok to wait 24 hours and see if this pans out. But there’s more you can do than just wait. We’ll get to that.

So even if you have already got that anti-biotics script from the doctor, you don’t have to fill it straight away if you would like to wait. Give it 24 hours if you like.

Unfortunately, the antibiotics script is often one of the only things your doctor will advise for you. They may mention pain relief medication such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, and potentially ice and rest but we’ve found that’s about it.

Mastitis mismanagement

Many mamas are missing a valuable tool for treating mastitis. Funnily enough, this tool is widely known for its use but poorly demonstrated and implemented.

What is it?

Your hands! Yep, that’s right. Your hands can do an enormous amount to aide your mastitis recovery if you are well-guided in how to use them. There’s a lot of “Mastitis Treatment” lists on Google and Instagram saying to massage your breast for mastitis but wow…there’s many average recommendations on how to do it or no guidance at all.

This treatment approach, mastitis massage, is our domain. As Osteopaths, we’ve spent our careers massaging body tissue, and breasts are a niche area of ours.

Mastitis management could be so much better if more women were taught about the chemical process of mastitis and then how to apply massage in an appropriate way to help themselves recover from it.

Mastitis massage techniques are so useful, empowering and in terms of breast health, can significantly change the state of your breast.

We have a course to help you work this through, called Boobology.

Check it out in our SHOP.

Want to know more about mastitis? Check out our page HERE.

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Author: Katie Willy

Osteopath & Your Two Jugs Co-Founder

your two jugs co-founders

Elise Fuller & Katie Willy

Osteopaths & Your Two Jugs Co-Founders

Elise & Katie are Melbourne based osteopaths who have been actively treating breastfeeding women in clinic since 2015. During 2020 lockdown they launched their company Your Two Jugs to educate more women about how to treat their own breastfeeding conditions. Their online video based course, Boobology, is available now with heaps of education and hands on techniques to teach women the do’s & don’ts for mastitis, blocked ducts & engorgement. More recently, Your Two Jugs launched a full health care practitioner course, called The Boob Hero, to educate manual therapists on their contribution to supporting breastfeeding women with hands on care. Empowerment all starts with education, and the more support available for women, the better.