Mastitis and how Osteopaths can help

osteopaths can treat mastitis, along with many other breast feeding conditions such as blocked ducts, engorgement and blebs. read on to find out about mastitis, and how our osteopaths at total balance can help you.

What is mastitis?

Mastitis is an inflammatory condition of the breast which can occur in breast feeding women which may or may not be accompanied with an infection.

Mastitis most commonly (but not exclusively) occurs in lactating women due to the potential of milk stasis. Milk stasis is where the milk isn’t moving out from the breast as optimally as we would like. Milk stasis can be caused by a number of things including blocked ducts, infrequent emptying of the breast, poor attachment of the baby to the breast, and tight-fitting clothing. 

Do you need antibiotics for mastitis?

The answer is sometimes. In cases of mastitis caused by infection by bacteria, antibiotics are needed. In these cases there is commonly nipple trauma that has led to the infection.

If the signs and symptoms the woman is experiencing are very severe, then a visit to the GP and antibiotics may be warranted. Especially if these symptoms are systemic i.e. fevers, chills, lethargy.

Why is my baby fussy when I have mastitis?

It is important to know you can still breastfeed while you have mastitis. The milk from your breast that has mastitis will not cause any harm to your baby. It is important you rest during this time as well, so in some cases mum’s choose to express/pump in order to have some time to rest when they can.

In mastitis there can be an increase in sodium and chloride in the breast milk due to the milk stasis and subsequent inflammatory process. The breast milk may become more salty and less sweet, and your baby may become slightly fussy on the breast due to this.

Did you know Osteopaths can help with mastitis?

Mastitis along with other breast conditions is something we can treat here at Total Balance. We use specific hands-on treatment along with therapeutic ultrasound. We will also educate you on some things you can do at home to manage the current issue and also prevent it from recurring.

Therapeutic ultrasound treatment for mastitis 

Therapeutic ultrasound is just one way we can treat mastitis here at Total Balance Health. It is a handy tool on it’s own, but improvements in your mastitis are achieved far more quickly when used in conjunction with our hands-on therapy. 

Therapeutic ultrasound uses mechanical energy which is causing vibrations. There can also be heat generated by the ultrasound machine to give some thermal therapy.

In regards to treating mastitis, the ultrasound is acting to improve the flow of milk and as a result reduce the milk stasis. The thermal aspect can influence fluid flow, blood flow and lymph flow.

Who can I see at Total Balance to help me with my mastitis or other breast-feeding conditions?

Our Osteopaths Dr Simmone Ortland, Dr Megan Brooks and Dr Sarah Duggan have all participated in further training in the treatment of breast health conditions, such as mastitis, engorgement, blocked ducts and blebs.

Three common mastitis misconceptions to remember:
  • Antibiotics are always needed to treat mastitis. This is not true. Antibiotics are only needed in infectious mastitis (not inflammatory mastitis)
  • You need to stop breast-feeding your child if you have mastitis. This is not true, continuing with feeding and expressing encourages milk flow 
  • I must massage my breast very firmly to help with mastitis. This is not the case, you want a gentle touch as we don’t want to cause any trauma to the delicate breast tissues.

Dr. Sarah Duggan (osteopath at Total Balance Health)

DISCLAIMER: THIS BLOG POST IS AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL ONLY.  IT IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR MEDICAL ADVICE FROM A REGISTERED AND QUALIFIED DOCTOR OR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.

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