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Thread: Recurrent mastitis...7 times in 9 wks

  1. #1

    Unhappy Recurrent mastitis...7 times in 9 wks

    Hi there. I'm really hoping for some help as I'm desperate. My son is 10 wks old now and I've had mastitis 7 times (or the same infection recurring). Of those times, 5 were just on the left, once on both, and once just on the right. The first time was 1 week after he was born. I got it once a week after that for the first month. I used homepathic remedies and lots of rest to get better. The 5th time it was on the right side and very severe and I just couldn't take it anymore so I went on antibiotics. The doc at urgent care was a jerk and told me it could be cancer and I would lose my breast. He said I should be hospitalized and I said no. The antibiotics worked right away. He gave me an IV of them while there and then 10 days of Ammoxicillin. The infection came back 1 week after I stopped the antibiotics. I saw a breast specialist who has to date seen me 3 times now and has said it does not seem like inflammatory breast cancer (had 3 ultrasounds). She gave me Keflex for 14 days, but when I saw her after 7 days, she told me to stop them since it looked better. I kept taking some for a few more days because I knew it wasn't totally gone. Again, one week after I stopped, it came back. I called her and told her I had 3 days of antibiotics left and she didn't want to call in more. She told me to go the weekend with the 3 days worth and call her Monday to see how it went. Again, the antibiotics worked right away. I called Monday to say that I was much improved, but it wasn't gone yet. She told me I didn't need anymore antibiotics since it had improved. What? Stop after only 3 days? So I got the rest of the rx from my regular GP. I have 1 week left on antibiotics.

    When I get mastitis, it's the typical redness, pain, swelling, fever, chills, shakes, and feeling awful. I also get horrible joint pain.

    My current theory is that I get it from a cracked nipple because I've never had a clogged duct I don't think. The mastitis starts as joint pain and then the fever and THEN the breast turns red. I've not had the redness of a clogged duct to warn me or anything like that. I try to take it easy, but the mastitis seems to come after small outings or activities such as going to the grocery store and hanging up laundry in the same day. We're not talking marathons here.

    I think I get the cracked nipple from poor latch because of oversupply and he slides down to the nipple to slow the flow. I have done block feeding which helps with the very well and I just take him off after let down to let it spray a bit before putting him back on. That works, but I don't want to not empty the breast often either to avoid a build up of bacteria. Catch 22. My plan is to work on the oversupply while on antibiotics and just not let that breast get too full.

    I have hired a lactation consultant and been to a LLL meeting. I got good suggestions for better latch and healing the nipple.

    So here I am 7 days into the second round of Keflex (3 round of antibiotics) and my breast is still pink, but it doesn't hurt and the redness is gone. It just sometimes looks pink. However, the other one sometimes looks pinkish too. The breast specialist said that sometimes nursing moms have pink breasts? Is that true? I mean the skin of the breast, not the nipple area. Also, I still feel run over...achy and weak. Actually, even when I felt much better after the last round, I was still achy and weak. I don't know if it's the infection still in there or something else since I have thyroid issues.

    If you have any suggestions of how I can avoid more episodes, I'd be so appreciative. I take soy lecithin even though I think that's mostly for clogged ducts. I have taken astragalus and poke root during an acute episode. It was suggested I try poke root as a preventative measure too and just take a little each day. Is that okay? Also, a LLL leader told me about something called Wishgarden mastitis tincture which could help. I'm going to try that. I've also tried phytolacca and hepar sulphur.

    I am determined to nurse my son, but I am getting so frustrated with these repeated infections. I can't live my life the way I want. I'm either in bed with a fever or avoiding any activity to avoid re-infection, and I'm so achy all the time.

    Please help! Thanks for reading my novel.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    504

    Default Re: Recurrent mastitis...7 times in 9 wk

    I'm so sorry you've had such a difficult time. Even when the infection clears (once and for all, hopefully!) I would imagine your body will take a while to recover your strenth from all of this. Your body is still recovering from childbirth, let alone all those infections! I admire your determination and I hope this ends for you soon. I never had breast infections so I don't have any good advice for you there, but I occasionally would notice that a portion of my breast (the skin, like you said) was pink. In my case, switching to a different type of bra pad helped. There was something about the pads I was using that irritated my skin. So perhaps try that, or use washable pads. Anyways, lots of hugs to you.
    Blessed with DS - born 9/2/09 - nursed/pumped for 12 months
    Blessed with DD - born 3/27/12 my dreamfeeder

    903 ounces donated.
    http://www.wakemed.org/landing.cfm?id=135

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,860

    Default Re: Recurrent mastitis...7 times in 9 wk

    Welcome and congratulations on the new baby! I am so impressed that you have kept nursing despite the recurrent mastitis. I think the thing I would do in your shoes is to demand a bacterial culture of you and your baby. I'd have the doc take swabs from your breast and of your milk, but also any other likely locations for bacteria to hang out. (Skin, mouth, nasal cavities, vagina, anus, etc.- basically everything a swab can reach.). The reason I suggest this is that a friend of mine had repeat bouts of mastitis for 6 months, and would treat with antibiotics only to have the infection return. Finally, her doc got her cultured, and discovered that she had a drug-resistant strain of bacteria. The antibiotics she was taking would knock the bacteria back for a while, but they could not kill it. One course of a different, appropriate antibiotic later, and she was done with the mastitis for good.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    10,440

    Default Re: Recurrent mastitis...7 times in 9 wk

    The Wishgarden stuff can sure help. I takeit myself at the first sign of a plug starting, and it sure helps.

    You need a culture and the right antibiotics.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Recurrent mastitis...7 times in 9 wk

    Hi Momma, I wanted to chime in too as I have had maybe 8 episodes of mastitis since my son was born 9 months ago, in varying severity, and just in the last bout went for the antibiotics as it was nasty achy and feverish. My midwife was adamant about me taking the antibiotics until they are GONE, 10 days, 4X/day, crazy stuff dicloxacillin, or the infection will grow resistant.
    Do you wash your nipples regularly? Especially if your milk leaks and the nipples sitting in wet bra or shirt for a long time.
    For me I could always see why it came on, doing too much, forgetting that nursing a babe is a lot of work in itself and to honor that. Your baby is still so young, and your body healing from childbirth and it all, calm...sleep with your baby. I keep learning this again and again! You are doing great to stick with nursing, you'll make it through!
    Momma to Gordie Oshkay born 1/6/11.
    He's a love monkey who loves & eats big!
    We EBF, cloth diaper, and do lots of baby wearing as he loves being close to momma!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Recurrent mastitis...7 times in 9 wk

    and drinking lots of water too! a tall glass every waking hour, i noticed this helps in myself.
    Momma to Gordie Oshkay born 1/6/11.
    He's a love monkey who loves & eats big!
    We EBF, cloth diaper, and do lots of baby wearing as he loves being close to momma!

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