The symptoms of mastitis can come on so quickly it can be difficult to work out what is going on especially when there are non-breast symptoms involved such as headache or nausea. Headaches can be casued by so many other problems such as posture, neck tightness and even eye-strain so how do you know if the headache you have is from mastitis.
Mastitis can happen at anytime during a breastfeeding journey, and its usually pretty awful.
When we think of mastitis, we think of a sore breast! The common breast symptoms of mastitis include:
However, when you have mastitis there is whole immune response going on within your body. That means that you may be suffering with some systemic symptoms, which tell us that your body is working hard to clear out the inflammation or infection from the breast.
These symptoms are:
The trouble is, sometimes the systemic symptoms come on before the local breast symptoms appear. This can be really confusing for mums, and often mums will think they might have a virus or the flu. But when those breast symptoms start to appear, there is no mistaking what is going on. Mastitis can be an awful experience for breastfeeding mums, but there is a variety of ways that you can help yourself straight away.
The best thing you can do if you have a headache along with any other systemic symptoms is to rest! Medications like paracetamol or ibuprofen can be helpful in managing your symptoms and these are completely safe for breastfeeding mothers. Remember that mastitis symptoms often take 24-48 hours to peak – so there is no need to rush straight to the GP for antibiotics as soon as you feel a headache come on. Keep checking on your breasts so you can pick up any changes in the tissue as soon as it happens. Treating the breast tissue itself is the best way to recover from mastitis! The team at MMC has lots of hands on techniques and exercises that you can implement straight away if you are suffering from mastitis.
Having a fever during a mastitis episode will dehydrate your body, so its important to remember to keep up with the fluids while you are feeling unwell. Feeding a baby is hard work for your body and the best way to fuel it is with extra food and fluids. This can be one of the hardest things for new mums to remember! By the time you’ve fed and burped the baby and then settled to sleep, it might feel like you sit down for a minute before its time to do it all over again!
So if you feel a headache come on and you’ve noticed breast tissue changes, think about how treating the breast might help you.