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Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What is mastitis?

Mastitis is an infection of breast tissue that most often occurs in women who breastfeed. It can happen any time during breastfeeding, but usually occurs within the first 3 months after giving birth. Usually only one breast is affected.

What causes mastitis?

Mastitis is commonly caused by bacteria that enter through a break or crack in the skin on the nipple. It can also happen if a milk duct becomes plugged because the breast has not been completely emptied. If you have had mastitis before, you are more likely to have it again.

What are the signs and symptoms of mastitis?

How is mastitis diagnosed and treated?

Your healthcare provider will examine you. Your provider will also ask about your symptoms, and if you have had mastitis before. You can continue to breastfeed your baby while you are being treated for mastitis. Breastfeeding when you have mastitis may help speed your recovery. You may need any of the following:

How can I manage my symptoms?

How can I prevent mastitis?

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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