Clogged Milk Ducts: How Dangerous Is It?

A blocked galactophore duct is a common issue among nursing mothers, and if left untreated, can result in mastitis, an infection. It feels like a tender, painful lump in the breast and occurs when a galactophore duct doesn't drain correctly. Pressure builds up behind the blocked duct and the surrounding tissue becomes inflamed, usually in one breast at a time. Some mothers appear to be more prone to developing them. A blocked duct is usually caused by going too long without emptying the breasts or expressing an insufficient amount of milk during feeding.

It's essential to treat a blocked duct right away, as it can quickly lead to a breast infection. The best initial treatment is to keep breastfeeding, attempting to drain as much of the breast as possible with each feeding. Abruptly stopping breastfeeding can cause the breast to become engorged, which could worsen the condition and lead to an infection. If the blockage persists, it's important to seek medical advice. A doctor may prescribe antibiotics or suggest other treatments such as warm compresses or massage.

If the blockage is severe, it may need to be drained surgically. In some cases, a doctor may recommend taking a break from breastfeeding for a few days. It's also important to take steps to prevent clogged milk ducts from occurring in the first place. Nursing mothers should ensure they are drinking plenty of fluids and eating a healthy diet. They should also make sure they are expressing enough milk during feedings and emptying their breasts completely.

Wearing a supportive bra can also help reduce the risk of developing clogged milk ducts.

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