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Mastitits & antibiotics | mastitis

Firstly, a quick overview of mastitis…

Antibiotics for mastitis while breastfeeding are a commonly prescribed treatment in Australia. But what is mastitis? The Royal Women’s Hospital defines mastitis as inflammation of the breast that can lead to infection. This is unfortunately not the definition that ALL women are provided, and instead told straight-up that mastitis equals infection. Given this is 100% not the truth please understand that there are 2 types of mastitis:

  1. Inflammatory mastitis- no bacteria, just inflammation
  2. Infective mastitis- inflammation from bacteria

What do antibiotics do?

Antibiotics are a medicine prescribed by your doctor to kill infection causing bacteria in your body. They are usually a few tablets during the day, extending over a few days to a week. The antibiotics may result in a reduction in milk production (which mastitis does also), so please be patient for the return of your milk supply, up to about a week after finishing your mastitis antibiotics.

So do I need antibiotics for mastitis?

Because inflammatory and bacterial inflammation of the breast cause the same response in the body, it can be tricky to tell the difference without getting a breast milk culture. With both, you usually have pain, swelling, and redness to the breast which is a normal inflammatory response that we see occurs all over the body, even in ankle sprains!

Antibiotics tend to be more indicated if there is a pathway that bacteria can enter the body. Usually at an area of damage, bacteria has free entry into the body. In the case of breastfeeding women that can be quite common with nipple cracks. We also want to look at how long you have been feeling this way, as congested milk in the breast if not moving and have bacteria begin to grow.

What else can you be doing for mastitis besides antibiotics?

Regardless of your decision on antibiotics, we need to clear the inflammation that’s been building in the breast tissue. Even with antibiotics, that bacteria has been killed, but the inflammation still needs to be moved along out of the tissue.

Antibiotics for mastitis in Australia

Antibiotics are commonly prescribed in Australia for mastitis. It is important that is you begin an antibiotic treatment that you complete the entire course. This is due to bacteria becoming resistant to an antibiotic if they are not completely treated. The length of the course has been designed to account for the length of time it is expected to kill the bacteria. Sometimes you may need another course with mastitis and we have seen this many times. Please complete that course even if you are feeling fine during this time.

Symptoms of mastitis that indicate potential need for antibiotic therapy are:

  1. vomitting
  2. diarrhoea
  3. fainting
  4. very high fever
  5. very unwell
  6. no improvement in mastitis symptoms at 24-48 hours
  7. steadily worsening symptoms at 24-48 hours

Should I avoid antibiotics while breastfeeding?

If you can, then yes but your health is very important. If you are experiencing any of the reasons/symptoms above listed, then you potentially have a mastitis infection that is best to take antibiotics for. But if you are in the category of pain, redness, fever and flu-like aches but not the above severe symptoms that otherwise indicate infection, then you have some time to get treatment or work on that breast yourself to reduce the inflammation in the breast.

What can the Melbourne Mastitis Clinic do?

By using hands on techniques and mastitis ultrasound treatment, we can target fluid congestion in the breast and move it through the structures it needs to go. We also give you the run down on your anatomy, why it’s doing this and where it should all go so at home you’ve got all the knowledge to  be your own practitioner and troubleshoot your own breasts at any time of the day. We don’t just want to help you today, but give you the tools over your breastfeeding journey to keep your breast tissue mobile, supple and reduce the reason for congestion to build up again.

If you found this article helpful, maybe you would also be interested in Is Mastitis Common?

Our clinic is in Melbourne Australia where we treat women experiencing mastitis. You can book in via the button below or call 9859 5059.

However, if you are elsewhere in the world we have our online strategies in video Masterclasses on the website of our sister company Your Two Jugs. Click the logo to go straight to the Your Two Jugs website to check it out.

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