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Giving birth to children is one of the greatest things of being a woman. However, many problems can occur to women when they feed children on their milk after birth.
As the child heavily depends on you during the first few months after birth, any damage to you, especially your breast, will be consequential. One of the most popular troubles they have to face is mastitis, also known as breast infection.
Let’s discover some possible home remedies for mastitis to help mothers overcome this problem quickly and safely!
What is Mastitis?
Mothers often undervalue the severity of these problems, and if you are among them, you need to change your mind.
Mastitis is medically described as an infection of breast tissue happening when it comes to breastfeeding. The problem occurs when the bacteria coming from the infants’ mouth go into the milk duct through nipple cracks.
In fact, the occurrence of mastitis is from one to three months after you give birth. However, women have not given birth and women after their menopause can witness this problem as well.
Mastitis is found rare in healthy women. But you should take note that women who have a chronic illness, diabetes, an impaired immunity or AIDS can be more susceptible.
According to a recent study, about 3 percent of breastfeeding mothers contracts mastitis. Incomplete breast emptying or engorgement can be one of the causes of mastitis and make the situation worse.
You can read more about Home Remedies to Boost Immunity
What Causes Mastitis?
The presence of mastitis is due to some of the following causes:
- A poor technique of breastfeeding
While breastfeeding is a learned skill, the poor method can result in trapped milk in the breast. It is known as among significant causes of mastitis.
- A milk duct blocked
In case a breast does not finish feeding, the milk can get clogged leading to milk to back up, thereby causing breast infection.
- Bacteria from your baby’s mouth entering the breast
As informatively mentioned before, bacteria go into the breast through cracks of the nipple. Hence, the stagnant milk is not empty enough to give a breeding ground to those bacteria. It is the anti-bacterial content present in breast milk assist in protecting the babies from infectious invasion.
Symptoms of Mastitis
The signs of mastitis become clear as the bacteria penetrate into your breasts and cause the milk blockage. Typically, you might experience mastitis symptoms within about 6 months after giving birth to your baby. However, some may even have it in any period. Notably, it is common to see only one breast affected by this problem.
Fortunately, you can diagnose mastitis on your own (and then, treat it on your own as well). To determine whether you are infected with mastitis or not, you should re-examine your condition and see whether you have these symptoms:
- Pain (through the whole body or in only one breast)
- Swollen breast
- Chills and fever with no improvement in 48-72 hours after treatment.
- The appearance of lumps in the breast
- Some symptoms similar to flu, like malaise or chills
If you are worried about the baby’s condition, it is good to know that mastitis rarely has adverse effects on your baby. Nevertheless, do not estimate this problem. Without proper treatment, mastitis can develop a yeast infection. As a consequence, thrush may happen to mothers and affect the baby.
How Is Mastitis Diagnosed?
If you are not sure about how to diagnose mastitis, you can contact a doctor. Doctors usually diagnose breast infection after observation and physical examination of the symptoms of mastitis.
Home Remedies for Mastitis
If you notice one of these symptoms, you should start the treatment of mastitis immediately. As time passes by, the condition will become worse and worse, and this is very bad for the development of your child.
Although medication and drugs can help you, it is better to get rid of mastitis naturally. Some side effects of antibiotics will affect the breastfeeding negatively.
Besides, there are many other advantages when you apply home remedies for mastitis. They are all easy to make at home. It is very crucial for women who hesitate to have another person examine their breasts.
Here are top 18 most useful home remedies for mastitis which are easy for you to apply at home to cure the infections as well as keep you in the best condition for breastfeeding and raising your children.
1. Cold Compress
A cold compress is among natural home remedies for mastitis. Many people suffer from mastitis because of the ineffectiveness of milk removal from the breast. Applying cold compress on the breasts will help improve the flow of milk and prevent swelling.
How to apply:
- Put some ices in a soft and clean towel. Or you can soak a towel in cold water.
- Place the towel over the painful breast in 15-30 minutes.
The cold compress can efficiently ease many problems for women temporarily. You can find out more at Home Remedies for Bacterial Vaginosis.
A more natural way to make use of water in the treatment of mastitis is increasing the daily amount of water intake. It will ensure that you still have enough milk to feed your child to the fullest extent, while water can help reduce the growth of bacteria in your breast.
As a result, you will get rid of mastitis naturally in a short time. Water is known as one of the most useful home remedies for mastitis.
Read also Home Remedies for Water Retension
3. Heat Compress
Besides cold compress, heat compress is also one of the best home remedies for mastitis. You can use a towel soaked in hot water to apply over the painful breast for half an hour to relieve the pain caused by mastitis. Heat compress can be used to treat sore nipples as well.
Have you ever heard of mastitis massage treatment at home? Yes, it is another mastitis relief. A few minutes of massage will give your breasts time to rest and restore the balance. The benefits of massage include the reduction of swelling . You can use some natural oils during the massage to maximize the benefits.
Also, if you want to reduce breast size naturally, massage is of great help ever.
In top health benefits of honey which is always available in every kitchen, it has many advantages on your health. In addition to its sweetness, it has many antibacterial substances which enable the body to fight against the bacteria triggering mastitis.
It is the reason why honey becomes one of the most significant home remedies for mastitis. You should consume 2-3 spoons of honey each time and repeat doing it several times on a daily basis.
If you are seeking for more natural home remedies for mastitis, garlic will not make you disappointed. With some antibiotic substances, garlic is beneficial in curing mastitis. It works in the same way as antibiotics but does not bring any unwanted effect on your health.
Also, the consumption of garlic will enhance the immunity and accelerate the healing process . Thanks to nutrients from garlic, you will help your child become strong. You can digest some slices of raw garlic when you are hungry.
Garlic is excellent for not only men but also women as it helps get rid of many uncomfortable conditions such as vaginal odor. You can find out more about this condition at How to Get Rid of Vaginal Odor.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
With anti-inflammatory property, apple cider vinegar can speed up the home remedies for mastitis. The sooner you use apple cider vinegar, the faster you can get rid of mastitis naturally and stop it from spreading. On the other hand, taking some spoons of apple cider vinegar every day will make you feel stronger and more energetic.
- Mix a spoon of apple cider vinegar with a cup of water.
- A cotton ball should be soaked in the mixture and applied over the painful breast.
- After 15 minutes, use warm water to wash the areas.
This method should be followed 2-3 times per day to get the best results.
For more information about the benefits and applications of apple cider vinegar, please read Home Remedies for Abscess Tooth.
8. Cabbage Leaves
Cabbage leaves for mastitis treatments can efficiently soothe the painful breasts. Also, sulfur compounds which are present in cabbage leaves can prevent the breasts from swelling, which may cause difficulties for the breastfeeding. For ages, this has been one of the best home remedies for mastitis.
- Take some cabbage leaves into the fridge in half an hour.
- When they are cold, put them over the painful breast. It works in the same way as the cold compress.
- The leaves should be replaced when becoming warmer.
In addition to curing mastitis, cabbage is supportive in curing breast pain.
9. Aloe Vera
As a woman, you may be very familiar with the benefits of Aloe Vera. It plays a vital role in many skin and hair remedies thanks to its healing property. And in the top list of natural home remedies for mastitis, Aloe Vera is also significantly helpful. The tissue damaged by mastitis in the breasts may be repaired by Aloe Vera.
Furthermore, this remedy can make your skin light and smooth.
- Take the gel extracted from Aloe Vera and apply it directly on the painful breasts.
- Leave it dry naturally.
- Use warm water to wash those areas.
However, it is noted that you should not apply this method before feeding your child because the Aloe Vera gel can be not good for your children.
Read more health benefits of Aloe Vera at How To Get Rid of Rash Under Breast.
10. Fenugreek Seeds
Don’t forget fenugreek seeds when you are finding out some effective home remedies for mastitis. The most outstanding benefit of fenugreek seeds is improving the production of milk. Besides, it can prevent the attack of bacteria, which is the leading cause for mastitis.
- Place some fenugreek seeds in water and leave them overnight.
- In the morning, take them out and have them ground.
- Use a towel to soak in the paste you get.
- Before applying directly over the painful breasts, you should put it into the microwave to make it warmer.
Read also Home Remedies to Increase Breast Milk
Although it is not at the top of the list of home remedies for mastitis like garlic, Echinacea is still a wonderful herb that is necessary for the immune system. It can stop the growth of bacteria and remove them at the same time.
How to apply:
- Get the root extract
- Press it on the affected area
- Use the echinacea 4-5 times every day
- When you want to breastfeed your baby, you need to rinse it
Alternatively, it is possible to add 4-5 drops into your water and drink it a few times per day.
NOTE: Experts recommend not using echinacea for an extended period because of its possible side effects.
The answer of natural home remedies for mastitis is no longer hard to say thanks to milk. Rubbing some milk over the painful breasts actually can speed up treating mastitis at home. The nutrients which come from the milk can enhance the immune system as well. In addition, it also makes the skin area near your breasts more healthy and beautiful.
Calendula is one of the essential home remedies for mastitis you should have. The prevention of swelling can be achieved if you use calendula. It also relieves the pain caused by mastitis and stops the development of bacteria inside the body.
- Take some dried calendula flowers and crush them to make a paste.
- You can put the paste into microwave to make it warm first.
- Apply it directly on the painful breasts.
- After 15-20 minutes, wash those areas with warm water.
Pineapple is one of the indispensable home remedies for mastitis because of its unique content of bromelain. It is a natural enzyme which provides antiedematous, anti-inflammatory, fibrinolytic, and antithrombotic properties. As a result, pineapple can help you a lot on the recovery.
If you use fresh pineapple juice on a daily basis, you will get rid of pain soon. Also, pineapple provides many nutrients for your baby through breastfeeding.
15. Oregano Oil
Among essential oils which serve as top home remedies for mastitis, oregano oil is something you should consider. It has many incredible qualities that speed up the healing process, including analgesic, antiviral, anti-infectious, and antibacterial ones.
Moreover, it has excellent effects on your immune system and your baby’s well-being. You can get the capsules which contain oregano oil and use it twice per day. Observe the results after 5 days.
16. Tea Tree Oil
If you find it hard to get oregano oil, do not worry! Another fantastic essential oil is coming. Tea tree oil is undeniably one of the best home remedies for mastitis you can get. It is anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. Besides, it possesses lots of medicinal qualities to address not only mastitis but also other problems.
How to apply:
- You need to dilute it with water first by mixing equal parts of the oil and water
- Then, apply it on the breast
- Use either cold or hot compress
- Clean the breast with water if you want to feed your baby
Three capsules on a daily basis can be a wonderful remedy to help you get rid of mastitis naturally. Many people have tried this and managed to remove mastitis.
Besides, if you are not interested in the capsules, probiotics can be taken from natural sources, such as plain yogurt. Try it as one of the best home remedies for mastitis on a daily basis.
18. Vitamin C
In brief, vitamin C plays a vital role in remaining healthy and strong. The treatment of mastitis requires an increase in vitamin C intake. Therefore, you are recommended to eat more food which contains a large amount of vitamin C such as oranges, lemons, strawberries. All of them serve well as home remedies for mastitis.
In case you want to maximize the benefits, you can purchase vitamin C supplements at stores. A balanced diet with diverse nutrients will ensure you are healthy enough to feed the child.
Complications of Mastitis
In most cases, you can address mastitis at home with our natural home remedies for mastitis. Nevertheless, if your condition becomes severe and there is no significant improvement on the treatment, it is necessary to seek a doctor for help.
Overall, doctors will give you oral antibiotics which help to cope with mastitis.
One of the most common complications of mastitis is the emergence of pus which causes an abscess. To get rid of it, you might need surgical drainage. Thus, if you want to lower the risk of complications, the recommendation is to see a doctor as soon as possible.
When to See A Doctor
Although the signs of mastitis are clear for you to see on your own, it is better to have a doctor diagnose the problem and give advice on the treatment. When you do nothing to stop mastitis, it might become severe and complications, such as whole-body infection, appear. In the end, you might have to face hospitalization.
Therefore, a doctor is necessary if one of these symptoms appear:
- Increasing heart rate
- Burning sensation, especially when you breastfeed your baby
- Blood or white discharge from the nipples
- Shiny skin and red streaks
When diagnosing the problem, the doctor might ask you some questions about the medical history. It aims to help him or her come up with the most appropriate treatment for you.
In the next step, the doctor is likely to give antibiotics in hope of clearing your infection.
Usually, you will get prescribed antibiotics, such as cephalexin, dicloxacillin, or amoxicillin-clavulanate. Use them for about 10-14 days and remember to follow what the doctor says. In case antibiotics are not efficient in the first time, your doctor might give you another antibiotic which is stronger.
It is necessary to bear in mind that the antibiotic possibly goes into the breast milk. Therefore, you need to speak to the doctor to make sure that antibiotics do not have any side effect on breastfeeding.
Your baby might have mild loose stools as a consequence of the antibiotic. However, when you stop using antibiotics, they should disappear as well.
How To Prevent Mastitis
Even though the mastitis treatment is simple and quick with the natural home remedies for mastitis, it is still a better idea not to experience it. Mastitis is annoying for both mothers and children. Thus, take some time to look at these crucial prevention tips to reduce your possibility of mastitis quickly!
- Have your nipples dried after every breastfeeding session to fight against cracking and irritation
- Consume healthy foods and sip fluids to help stay hydrated
- Take enough rest. You should ask for help from your family members or your friends in daily activities
- Make sure your bra fits your breast well. It should not be restrictive and tight. It prevents you against engorgement.
- If you are willing to wean your children, you had better stop breastfeeding gradually. It will help protect your breast from getting full of milk and provide your baby with enough time to adjust new eating habits.
On the other hand, there is something you should avoid doing so that the treatment can get the best result.
- Stay away from soaps, including antibacterial soap, powders, and deodorants. When you use products which have dangerous triclosan, the condition might become bad with severe irritation
- Try not to sleep on the stomach. Otherwise, your breasts suffer from a lot of compress from the mattress
In general, you do not have to mess everything up if you encounter mastitis. It is extremely common among breastfeeding mothers. And with our home remedies for mastitis, you can get rid of it easily. You should overcome it as soon as possible to avoid any possible risks in the long term.
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