Identifying Clogged Milk Duct, When To Know Whether It’s Serious?

Identifying Clogged Milk Duct, When To Know Whether It’s Serious?

Being able to breastfeed your baby is one of the most amazing things in the whole adult life. However, struggling with clogged milk duct can often dull the experience.

As you were checking yourself, you noticed a hard, painful lump on your breast. What could it be?

Some women freak out and think about cancer. It happens all the time.

In any given cases, when you are breastfeeding your child, you will have the risk of experiencing clogged milk duct.

This will not only affect you but also your child who needs their breast milk.

Of course, if it is not treated properly it can cause a more serious complication, however, most of the time, it’s benign.

Let’s take a look at some info regarding clogged milk ducts to better understand the topic.

Here are some symptoms of a clogged milk duct

clogged milk duct

As the name suggests, clogged milk duct is a condition which occurs when your breast milk duct has poor drainage or gets blocked.

This condition can occur in a number of situations such as:

  1. Your baby skip breastfeeding
  2. Your breast is not completely empty after a breastfeeding session
  3. Some psychological turmoil can also facilitate the formation of this particular pathological consequences

There are a number of symptoms which tell you that you might have been experiencing clogged milk duct.

Some of them are:

  • You find a lump in any given areas of your breast
  • There is some sort of engorgement around the lump
  • The lump is painful
  • It only subsides after you have breastfed your child
  • Pain during letdown
  • There is a blister at the opening of your nipple
  • Movement of the lump over time

Getting thickened milk while you express can be a reliable indicator of a clogged milk duct.

This would cause you to experience a temporary decrease in supply.

When the clogged milk duct getting serious, these should happen

clogged milk duct

Getting clogged milk can be normal especially for new mothers. However, without intervention, the condition would not go away by itself.

Most of the time, without treatment, it can get infected (mastitis).

Take note that, when you have only the clogged milk duct, you would not experience any symptoms other than what has been stated above.

The following symptoms are when it has gotten worse to mastitis.

  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms (body ache)
  • The tenderness which has spread to the whole breast
  • Feeling pain while expressing your milk out
  • Wedge-shaped redness on your affected breast

If mastitis is not treated, it can cause pooling of pus-forming an abscess. The only way to drain out abscess is surgical.

Why did problems related to clogged milk duct happen?

The obvious reason why people are getting clogged milk ducts has something to do with the obstruction which prevents breast milk from getting drained completely.

You are at risk of getting this condition if you are wearing a sports bra too tight or breastfeed infrequently.

Sometimes, favouring one breast over the other can facilitate the pathological process of developing clogged milk duct or mastitis on the side which is being used less.

That’s why it’s important for you to note which breast you are using during your last breastfeeding session.

Some of the risk factors which make it more likely for you to be diagnosed with this particular condition are:

  • You have a medical history of mastitis
  • Experience cracked nipple
  • Smoking
  • Inadequate diet
  • Fatigue

Getting treatment for your clogged milk duct

clogged milk duct

The most important part of any treatment regimen involving a clogged milk duct is to know when to get help.

Most people find that massage would be able to soothe symptoms and sometimes treat clogged milk duct quite effectively.

It can be done while you are breastfeeding the baby or while you are in the shower. 

Start from the outer region of the breast, apply some pressure and move towards the affected area. 

You can also try the following to relieve the clog:

  • Try to continuously drain by breastfeeding your baby frequently.
  • Use the affected breast more often. Your little one tends to suck hard the breast that you offer first as they’re hungrier.
  • You can use a towel soaked in warm water while massaging the clogged area.

If the condition gets worse and you develop mastitis, you might need antibiotics. 

Hence, you should see a doctor for medical consultation and prescription.

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