PLUGGED MILK DUCTS

CONTENT

-INTRODUCTION

-CAUSES

-MANAGEMENT AND PREVENTION

-COMPLICATIONS

 

INTRODUCTION

The duct carrying milk from the breast to the nipple may sometimes get plugged causing accumulation of milk behind the blocked portion which may be seen as a painful lump on the breast. This pain may become more intense during breast-feeding due to the pressure caused by the increasing build up of more milk behind the blocked duct. If the nipple itself is blocked, a white dot or bleb may be seen formed at the end of the nipple. In non complicated cases, a plugged milk duct usually clears within 1-2 days after which all symptoms subsides.

 

CAUSES

1.  Poor feeding technique

2.  Wearing of tight or an ill-fitting bra

3.  Abrupt decrease in breast feeding

4.  Breast engorgement

5.  Infections

 

MANAGEMENT AND PREVENTION

1.  Learn how to breast feed properly, see BREASTFEEDING: STEPS TO ACHIEVING A PROPER LATCH.

2.  Make sure to vary your position during feedings so every part of the breast gets emptied and prevent blocked duct.

3.  Breast feed the baby more often from the affected breast in order to help drain the area properly and relieve the obstruction.

4.  Try pumping or manually expressing your breast after feedings to improve drainage. Whatever you do, do not stop breastfeeding, as this could lead to engorgement and worsen the problem.

5.  Gently massage the breast with a warm compress or manually massage your breast following a warm shower, from the outer part of your breast toward the nipple to advance the blockage toward the nipple or in the opposite direction to clear the duct.

6.  Pain relief may be achieved by the use of Paracetamol. Before you use any medication while breast feeding please consult your doctor.

If despite all these, the blockage persists for more than two days, please see your doctor to exclude complications.

 

COMPLICATIONS

1.  Galactoceles

2.  Mastitis

3.  Breast abscess.

For more information, please CHAT WITH OUR CONSULTANTS.

 

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Reference and further reading:

1.  Lawrence R. Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Professional, 7th ed, 2010.

2.  American Academy of Pediatrics and the Americal College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Breastfeeding Handbook for Physicians, Shanler, RJ (Eds), American Academy of Pediatrics, Elk Grove Villate, IL 2006.