Breast Abscess – My Experience

Wishing all expecting mothers and new mothers the best of moments with your baby. The best part in a mother’s life is breast feeding. Even if you plead for the breast feeding experience after some years, your wish cannot be granted. Keep aside all your post delivery pain and worries, and get immediately into the duty of feeding your baby.

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Before penning down this article on breast abscess, I just closed my eyes thinking what am I to explain. Ooops…the entire nightmare flashed in my mind. It was as though I am still in the pain of my breast abscess.

 What is breast abscess?

A painful condition in the breast of a woman. It is a situation where the ducts/tissues in the breasts are under infection, usually bacterial infection. Breast abscess is commonly seen in lactating mothers. The infection leads to formation of pus in the milk ducts.

How does a breast abscess look like? /How do you know you have developed breast abscess?

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There are various conditions and different severity of breast abscess. Here I am mentioning the condition I have experienced in my breasts.

  • A red lump in the breast, my breast skin had turned very sensitive. I could not even move my hands just to drink water or put on my blanket, the lump would hurt badly.
  • There will be acute piercing pain in the breast.
  • I developed high fever too.
  • Breast feeding became very painful.

Reasons for breast abscess:

  • Very low resistance in the mother to tackle the infection.
  • Cracked nipples too become a main reason for infection causing bacteria to enter.
  • Hardening of breast milk.
  • Block in the milk ducts.

In my case, breast milk hardening became the reason, and eventually infection. I had mentioned that my nipple turned hard within a day and my baby could not suck. This resulted in milk collecting in the breasts. Those moms are lucky who complain of milk overflow from their breasts. Initially, never experienced the flowing out of milk from the breast when they became full. I was instructed by the doctor and nursing staff to express out the milk manually by squeezing. The tender breasts hurt a lot if squeezed. But, then squeezing out the excess breast milk was the only way to save myself from abscess. Even the nurse staffs at the hospital handled my breasts to squeeze out the excess milk.

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I have a doubt now; these manual handlings of my breasts are also another reason for infection to enter into my breast. Ultimately, breast milk expressing manually and breast milk hardening led to breast abscess.

 

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Treatment of breast abscess:-

Small abscess are removed by needle aspiration. The collected pus due to infection can be drained out using a syringe. If the lump is big enough, then aspiration will not help. Thus, a cut is made and collected pus is allowed to flow out.

Mine was the second type of treatment, incision and drainage surgically. I had a cut in my breast that was 2 inch long, 1 inch wide and at least 3 inch deep. A little tilt and pressing the cut would bring out all the collected pus. A sterile gauze was placed inside the cut a packed from outside.

Until the infection subsided, the wound needed dressing everyday. The same process continued, drain out the pus, cleanse and insert the gauze. This continued for 2 weeks. Either my doctor used to come home or I was called to his clinic. The first time collected pus was sent to lab for testing and I was put on antibiotics too.

One fine day, my doctor declared, ‘there is no pus today’!!! That moment was happier than the moment my daughter was born. Then on, gauze was not stuffed into the cavity and the wound healed pretty soon. By then almost one and a half month of suffering was experienced after delivery.

After one and half years now, I still have a very strong scar left behind on my breast.

Ghosh………. A very painful situation for a new mother.

Breastfeeding in abscess /Do not stop breast feeding:-

Some doctors advice to stop feeding when the mother has breast abscess or has under gone abscess treatment. But my doctor suggested I continue feeding.

Breast milk are high in antibodies, infection is in the duct, not in the milk. The feeding will help in emptying the breast from the milk which will result in the speedy recovery from the infection.

But my daughter could not get hold of the shapeless nipple and could not suck yet. This is where I started searching for breast pumps. I have bought 3 pumps from different brands. The first 2 purchases went waste. The third breast pump from Pegion was my savior.

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I wrote all this not to scare any mother. I wanted you to realize the impact of breast abscess. Gain as much knowledge possible about breast feeding and prepare yourself thoroughly. Breast feeding is not an easy process for some. Finally, hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

 Did you suffer from Breast Abscess or know any one who  suffered from the same.

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