Facts About Breast Abscess Treatment


The most common breast abscess treatment includes a visit to a doctor’s office for proper diagnosis and a surgical drainage procedure. Breast abscesses are usually painful and require treatment to prevent ruptures, but there are rarely extremely serious conditions. The key to breast abscess treatment is knowing the signs and symptoms and when to see a doctor.


An abscess of the breast is a pus-filled bump located in the tissue under the skin of the breast. Usually only one breast is affected. It appears as a lump that is hard and tender to the touch and may also show symptoms including: pain when breast feeding, enlargement and swelling of the breast tissue, enlarged lymph nodes near the lump, warm feelings, flu like symptoms and redness of the breast. An abscess is caused by Staphylococcus bacteria. The bacteria enter the skin and cause an infection of the breast tissue called mastitis.

Due to the small nicks and scratches that can occur to the nipple during breast feeding, this condition often occurs in breastfeeding mothers. Bacteria may also cause the milk ducts to become plugged or clogged. Mastitis causes the symptoms of tenderness, swelling and pain in the breast as well as flu like symptoms. If a mastitis infection or plugged duct is not treated it can progress into an abscess. Abscesses are more dangerous than a mastitis infection alone because without treatment they may rupture and spread the infection to all the surrounding breast tissues. This is especially dangerous to breastfeeding infants if the milk becomes infected.


The lack of proper drainage of the breast by breastfeeding women can lead to a build-up of milk and cause bacteria to gather. Tight fitting bras or clothing can also place pressure on the breast tissue and cause infection problems. Damage to the skin and nipple can also create an entry point for bacteria to infect the breast tissue. Women with a previous history of mastitis are more likely to have a recurrence of mastitis that can lead to the development of a breast abscess.


Breast abscess treatment begins by first diagnosing that the painful lump is an abscess and not a precursor to cancer or a simple mastitis infection. Because any abnormal bumps of the breasts may be a sign of cancer, it is best to have all breast lumps checked by a doctor. Abscess symptoms will also not be resolved from mastitis infection treatments, but a doctor may also perform a physical exam and an ultrasound to be sure the lump is an abscess. A surgical drainage procedure will be performed in order to remove the infection from the tissue and promote healing. It is a minor procedure performed in a doctor’s office where a small incision is made into the abscess and fluid is drained out.

Drainage may be performed through a drainage tube or by leaving the cavity open to the air. Sometimes cells from the body will migrate to the abscess and create a lining for the bump, which is called epithelialization. The doctor may be required to remove these cells as well. Once the wound is drained of all pus, it is cleaned, irrigated and covered with a sterile dressing. Antibiotics are also prescribed to fight the infection. The pus may be tested to determine the exact type of bacteria causing the infection.


If the patient is breastfeeding, she will want to empty the milk from the infected breast regularly either by breastfeeding or with an electric pump. It is also a good idea to use different breastfeeding position to prevent the build-up of milk in certain places within the breast and to keep the external breast skin clean.


 

 

 


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