Recently a friend called me up for some advice about treating mastitis. I realized that I have read a lot on the topic and the majority of information is about treating this with medication. Contrary to popular belief this can be treated without medication and only the really serious cases should be treated with antibiotics.
I have what I call “recurring mastitis” and have suffered 4 times the wrath of it, this before I figured out how to avoid and treat it sufficiently. Suffice to say that I had no help from the 5 medical professionals that have been involved with my care at any one time or another. According to statistics most people get it in the beginning, this is called lactation mastitis. I have heard may women suffering from it throughout the breastfeeding period. It is more likely to happen after a growth spurt, when your milk supply increases or during a hunger strike, when your baby is not eating enough to keep the milk out of your breasts. It can also happen when you move your baby onto solids and are starting to reduce breastfeeding. It also can happen because other influences, like because you have under-developed milk ducts and then you are likely to get it over and over, unless you find a way to prevent it.
– feed your baby as much as you can and keep those boobs empty
– pump your breasts at least once a day until they are empty, even when you think they are empty go another 5 min
– never wear a bra. The minute I stopped wearing a bra I reduced my chances of getting mastitis by 95%.
Have the following things on hand:
1) heat and cold patches / compresses (do a cold compress after feeding and a hot before)
2) the bathtub, put some lavender and soak 🙂 daily
3) a small towel, you will wet it and heat your breasts for five minutes and massage the area that is particularly painful
4) a pump, pump after every feed and every 2 hours if you have severe symptoms of mastitis
5) fruit – eat plenty of antioxidant – red berries and pomegranates
6) I have been recommended to take lecithin in order to help the fat and water content in my breasts to separate appropriately and reduce the chances of mastitis ( I have not taken this myself, but a lot of women recommend it)
7) Vitamin C is excellent for reducing any inflammation and therefore I recommend you take 1500mg a day for a couple of days to help reduce the swelling
8) Lots of sleep
9) stay at home and don’t over exert yourself
10) make sure your nipples are clean and not chipped. Use some form of vaseline or lanolin to keep them moisturised. Sometimes a cracked nipple can cause severe pain mimicking pain of mastitis.
11) drink lots of water!
All of the above should help you sort out the inflammation, which can be like a little clot in your boob with shooting pains. Within 48 hours things should improve significantly, to get rid of the problem completely you looking at about a week. Don’t give up and persevere.
Your milk might taste a little saltier to the baby and some babies may refuse to feed as per normal, that is why it is important to pump. Please above all else, don’t sleep through the night with mastitis. The reason why mastitis occurs is because you have trapped milk in the milk tissue and the longer it stays there the chances that you can get an infection and the area becomes inflamed. Infectious mastitis may develop if bacteria gets into your milk ducts.Left untreated, non-infectious mastitis can develop into infectious mastitis. This may be due to bacteria infecting milk that remains in the breast tissue.
If you have red spots on your boobs that are not going away, if you have high fever, if you are shivering, if you have a large lump that after pumping for a few days doesn’t resolve, if you feel dizzy and very drowsy with flu like symptoms that don’t resolve within 48 hours. Please see your doctor!! Your lymph nodes may be swollen and you may very well need antibiotics. Take antibiotics as a last resort, as it kills your gut flora and that of your babies tummy, not good.
As an adult human, you have three to four pounds of beneficial bacteria and yeast living within your intestines. These microbes compete for nutrients from the food you eat. Usually, the strength in numbers beneficial bacteria enjoy both keeps the ever-present yeasts in check and causes them to produce nutrients such as the B vitamins.
However, every time you swallow antibiotics, you kill the beneficial bacteria within your intestines. When you do so, you upset the delicate balance of your intestinal terrain. Yeasts grow unchecked into large colonies and take over, in a condition called dysbiosis.
Yeasts are opportunistic organisms. This means that, as the intestinal bacteria die, yeasts thrive, especially when their dietary needs are met. They can use their tendrils, or hyphae, to literally poke holes through the lining of your intestinal wall. This results in a syndrome called leaky gut. Yeasts are not the only possible cause of this syndrome. Some scientists have linked non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as naproxen and ibuprofen to the problem. Given their ability to alter intestinal terrain, antibiotics also likely contribute to leaky gut syndrome.
In addition to possibly causing leaky gut syndrome, I believe that parasitic yeasts can also cause you to change what you eat in that they encourage you to binge on carbohydrates including pasta, bread, sugar, potatoes, etc. So, it should come as no surprise that weight gain counts as one of the telltale signs of antibiotic damage and subsequent yeast overgrowth.
By altering the normal terrain of the intestines, antibiotics can also make food allergies more likely. An array of intestinal disorders can ensue, as well. Sadly, most doctors claim ignorance concerning their patients’ intestinal disorders rather than admit that the drugs they themselves prescribed actually caused the disorders to begin with.
HOW TO RESTORE INTESTINAL FLORA, AND WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON’T?
If you must take antibiotics restore your gut flora by :
Balancing your diet. A good daily diet follows a rule of thirds: no more than one third of your daily calories coming from each of the following — carbohydrates, protein and fats. Get 25 to 30 grams of fibre each day from whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Get your proteins from lean cuts of meat, beans and nuts. If you can, incorporate low-fat dairy (greek style yoghurt)
for calcium ( if you can’t eat dairy then don’t) and added protein. Stock up on good monounsaturated fats found in foods such as olive oil and avocados.