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- Mastitis (breast infection)>
- Treatment Overview
Mastitis (breast infection) Treatment Overview
First steps to consider
- Mastitis can sometimes be treated at home.
- If you think you have mastitis, you should first continue to breastfeed or pump, and to empty the breasts completely of milk on a regular basis.
- Try medications that help with pain and swelling like Tylenol and Advil, and use cold compresses.
When you may need a provider
- You still have pain and fever after 12–24 hours. You will likely need antibiotics.
Go to the ER if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Severe breast pain, swelling, or fever that is not getting better even when taking antibiotics for 2–3 days.
- Feeling like your heart is racing
- Changes in the way your breast looks. For example, the skin looks very thin or there is an open wound or pus.
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When to see a healthcare provider
If your symptoms are not improving after 12–24 hours, or you have a fever, you should consider seeing a healthcare provider.
Mastitis is diagnosed based on your symptoms and a breast exam. No blood tests are required. If your provider is concerned that you have something more serious, they may send you for an ultrasound.
What to expect from your visit
Your provider will discuss recommendations like encouraging breastfeeding, using cold compresses, and taking OTC pain medication.
If you have had symptoms for more than 24 hours, they will start you on antibiotics. If the infection is so severe that you need antibiotics via an IV, your provider will send you to the hospital.
What antibiotics treat mastitis?
- Dicloxacillin (Dycill)
- Clindamycin (Cleocin)
Types of mastitis providers
- Your ob/gyn, midwife, or primary care provider can treat mastitis.
- You may need a breast surgeon if you have complications like an abscess
How to get rid of mastitis at home
If you think you have mastitis, continue to breastfeed or pump from both breasts, especially the one that is painful. It’s important to empty your breasts fully each time you breastfeed or pump. You can also use cold compresses and OTC medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help with discomfort.
You should notice some relief within 12–24 hours. If your fever continues or your symptoms are getting worse, call a provider to schedule an appointment.
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
- Check that your baby is latching onto the breast properly.