Have a symptom?
See what questions
a doctor would ask.


Mastitis: Introduction

Mastitis is an inflammation and infection of breast tissue. Mastitis is due to an invasion of bacteria that enter the breast tissue through the nipple and cause a bacterial infection of the milk ducts and milk glands.

Mastitis most often happens to breastfeeding women because breastfeeding can cause cracked nipples. This allows bacteria to more easily enter the breast. Less often, mastitis can occur on women who are not breastfeeding, especially in women who have gone through menopause. In rare cases mastitis may be a sign of breast cancer. However, mastitis is most commonly due to an infection of the bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus. Breast engorgement can increase the risk of developing mastitis.

Symptoms of mastitis include breast swelling, redness, and pain in the area around the nipple. Left untreated, mastitis can lead to the complication of breast abscess. For more information on complications and symptoms, refer to symptoms of mastitis.

Making a diagnosis of a mastitis begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination that focuses on the breasts. Mastitis can generally be diagnosed based on symptoms and a physical exam.

Tests that might be performed include a complete blood count (CBC). A CBC is a blood test that measures the numbers of different types of blood cells, including white blood cells (WBCs). Different types of WBCs increase in number in characteristic ways during an infectious or inflammatory process, such as a mastitis. A culture and sensitivity test (C and S) may also be performed. This involves taking a small sample of milk from the affected breast and growing it in the laboratory. This test determines the type of organism causing the mastitis, as well as which antibiotic would be most effective in treating it.

It is possible that a diagnosis of a mastitis can be missed or delayed because some symptoms, such as breast inflammation and pain, are similar to symptoms of other diseases of conditions. For more information about misdiagnosis and diseases and conditions that can mimic mastitis, refer to misdiagnosis of mastitis.

Treatment of mastitis includes medications. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of mastitis. ...more »

Mastitis: Mastitis is a breast infection or inflammation that mostly occurs in breast-feeding mothers. The typical presentation is a young lactating women with mastitis symptoms such as fever, flu-like symptoms, and breast tenderness and/or breast redness. In such cases, mastitis often progresses rapidly over hours, and it is common for breast-feeding mothers to try to fight off the fever (which may precede any breast redness), and the fever then rapidly progresses to more severe symptoms such as high fever, chills, nausea, and so on. Early treatment of mastitis is desirable for practical comfort in treatment of fever, and avoidance of the complications of mastitis. ...more »

Mastitis: Symptoms

Symptoms of mastitis include a breast that is painful, swollen, and inflamed, especially near the nipple area. A breast lump or lumps may also occur. Other symptoms can include fever, nipple discharge, and swollen glands (swollen lymph nodes) under the armpit. Swollen lymph nodes can also be tender or painful.

If mastitis is not treated promptly, ...more symptoms »

Mastitis: Treatments

The first step in treating mastitis is preventing its occurrence. Prevention includes maintaining good personal hygiene with frequent hand washing and washing the body with soap and water. It is important that women who are breastfeeding clean their nipples before and after each breastfeeding session. It is also a good idea to not stop breastfeeding suddenly and to wean a baby slowly from ...more treatments »

Mastitis: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of mastitis may be delayed or missed because some symptoms can mimic symptoms of other diseases and conditions. These include fibrocystic breasts, breast cyst, breast cancer, and breast abscess. Symptoms of a mastitis may also be masked or hidden by engorged breasts. ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Mastitis

Treatments for Mastitis

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Mastitis:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Mastitis?

Mastitis: Related Patient Stories

Mastitis: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Mastitis.

Alternative Treatments for Mastitis

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Mastitis may include:

  • Continue breastfeeding
  • Massage breasts with warm castor oil
  • Warm compress
  • more treatments »

Mastitis: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Mastitis:

Causes of Mastitis

  • Blocked breast ducts
  • Cracked nipples
  • Breast milk oversupply
  • Breast bacterial infection
  • more causes...»

More information about causes of Mastitis:

Disease Topics Related To Mastitis

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Mastitis:

Mastitis: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Mastitis

Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely to cause some level of diarrhea in patients. The reason is that antibiotics kill off not only "bad" bacteria, but can also kill the "good" more »

Rare type of breast cancer without a lump: There is a less common form of breast cancer called inflammatory breast cancer. Its symptoms can be more »

Undiagnosed celiac disease in pregnancy harms fetus: The failure to diagnose the common but less known digestive disease celiac disease (see symptoms of celiac disease) is linked more »

Misdiagnosed weight-related causes of infertility: A woman's weight status can affect her level of fertility. Although obesity or overweight can in themselves more »

Mastitis: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Mastitis

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Mastitis:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Mastitis, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Mastitis: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Latest Treatments for Mastitis

Mastitis: Animations

Prevention of Mastitis

Prevention information for Mastitis has been compiled from various data sources and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Mastitis.

  • Breast hygiene
  • Massaging breast lumps - during breastfeeding
  • Massaging blocked breast ducts
  • Avoiding cracked nipples
  • Treating cracked nipples
  • more preventions...»

Statistics for Mastitis

Mastitis: Broader Related Topics

Mastitis Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Mastitis, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Definitions of Mastitis:

INFLAMMATION of the BREAST, or MAMMARY GLAND. - (Source - Diseases Database)

Inflammation of a breast (or udder) - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use. Information provided on this site is for informational purposes only; it is not intended as a substitute for advice from your own medical team. The information on this site is not to be used for diagnosing or treating any health concerns you may have - please contact your physician or health care professional for all your medical needs. Please see our Terms of Use.

Home | Symptoms | Diseases | Diagnosis | Videos | Tools | Forum | About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Site Map | Advertise