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Thread: Recurrent (weekly) plugged ducts

  1. #1

    Unhappy Recurrent (weekly) plugged ducts

    I'm hoping someone can provide advice for two issues I'm having...one chronic and one acute.

    1. My daughter is 12 months old and I've been getting recurring plugged ducts (usually once a week, sometimes more often) for the past three months or so. It's usually my right breast that is affected, although every once in a while it's my left.

    (Interestingly, I also got plugged ducts when I breastfed my older son, but it was usually my left breast and not as frequently as I've been experiencing this go-around).

    I've followed all the advice that I've read on KellyMom (comfortable bra, ensure latch is correct, favor plugged side, make sure breast is emptied, take lecithin). But usually the only thing that works is when I take a hot shower and forcefully massage/hand express the blockage out.

    Now, if I feel even the teeniest bit of hardness developing in my breast, I proactively massage/hand express is before it gets too bad. So, I'm able to manage the situation, but it's frustrating (and, at times, pretty painful), so I'm wondering if there is anything else I can do? Or maybe there's another underlying breast issue? This brings me to my next point...

    2. Four days ago, I had a plugged duct so had to forcefully massage it out. Since then, I developed what looks like a white head and swelling on the lower side of my nipple. This white head looks a little bit like a zit and also resembles what I often see on the top of my nipple when I have a plugged duct. However, this one is on the side of my nipple where milk doesn't come out. I also have an extreme amount of tenderness/pain in about 1/3 of my breast. I feel an ever-so-slight hardening, but it doesn't feel plugged.

    I'm wondering if all of this is just an effect of the forceful massaging I did four days ago (e.g. a plugged pore, inflammation)....or if I irritated a Montgomery gland....or if there's some other underlying breast issue.

    If anyone has thoughts/advice on either of these issues, I'd greatly appreciate it! Much thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    New York

    Default Re: Recurrent (weekly) plugged ducts

    My hats off to you momma, you nursed this long even though the experience has not been smooth sailing.
    It sounds like you have developed what is called a bleb on your nipple.
    you have been doing the right thing all along by being proactive and not ignoring plugged ducts.
    It doesn't sound as though your forceful massaging caused the bleb.
    You have probably become an expert on plugged ducts, avoiding mastitis, and nursing through obstacles.
    I had a friend who struggled with constant plugged ducts and mastitis. She had her teeth cleaned, her cavity filled and lo and behold her breast problems cleared up.
    Started my family in 1986
    Finally done in 2001

  3. #3

    Default Re: Recurrent (weekly) plugged ducts

    Thanks for your insight and supportive words! Interesting story about your friend's plugged ducts clearing up after the dentist. Maybe I need to step up my flossing! Anything is worth a try at this point. I think I may also up the amount of lecithin I take, as well as do a better job at limiting my saturated fat intake. Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Recurrent (weekly) plugged ducts

    I agree: it does sound like a bleb. They often crop up more frequently during teething, when baby changes her latch to soothe sore gums- so is your baby by any chance working on a tooth?

    Link from kellymom on blebs and what to do about them: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mother/nipplebleb/

  5. #5

    Default Re: Recurrent (weekly) plugged ducts

    This is really helpful, thanks. As I read more about blebs (such an unfortunate name!), I'm thinking I'm actually prone to get blebs, which is leading to the plugged ducts. I'm adding some of the suggested management strategies for blebs to my routine (in my spare time, right!?) and hope that those will solve the problem.

    Also, in reading all the tips again, it got me thinking that my car seat belt and my cross-body bag both hit my breast where I most frequently get the plugged duct. (Light bulb!) I don't know why it didn't occur to me sooner.

    Hopefully all these small changes I'm now making will lead to a big improvement. Regardless, after REACTING to the problem for so long, it's nice to be focusing on prevention / getting to the root cause.

    Thanks so much for your support.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Northern Cal.

    Default Re: Recurrent (weekly) plugged ducts

    I also found that the only way to avoid recurrent clogged ducts was to constantly, proactively massage my breasts in the shower. Every. Single. Day. For a year. It was tedious, but it worked. The clogged ducts started to fade after a year, and I only experienced them occasionally in Joe's second year, so likely you'll get some relief soon.

    I also agree that it's good to look for triggers, like an ill-fitting bra, purse strap, or car seat belt. For me, pumping more at work, and nursing less, was a trigger every time. If I had to work late one night, I'd be sure to be sore the next day, because the pump just didn't do it for me.

    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Recurrent (weekly) plugged ducts

    @JoMo -- Thanks so much for your post. I was beginning to think that I was the only person in history that has had plugged ducts so regularly for this long. It's so reassuring to know that I'm not alone! Good luck with baby #2 -- hope you don't deal with the recurring plugged ducts again.

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