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Thread: Plugged ducts?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    1

    Unhappy Plugged ducts?

    I have (at least I think this is what it is) plugged ducts on my left side. There's a painful mass about the diameter of a hot dog and maybe an inch and a half long right up against my chest on my left breast. I don't know what to do- I've tried ice packs, and pressure massage, and I've been having my baby nurse as much as possible on that side (without neglecting the other side).

    My baby keeps punching the sore part of my breast, and it just leaves me sobbing it hurts so much (and she thinks it's funny, little stinker ). I'm also afraid I'll get mastitis again! Is there anything else I can do? Nothing seems to be helping!

    Julia

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1,168

    Default Re: Plugged ducts?

    Ouch! Sorry you're dealing with this.

    It does sound like a plugged duct, and the pain and swelling is largely due to milk backing up behind the blocked area.

    Instead of ice, I would apply moist heat frequently. Perhaps a bath, or frequent showers if the water hitting the area isn't too painful. Or warm a wet towel in the microwave (be careful -- hot spots can scald you!) and apply to the affected area every couple of hours.

    Continue with the massage and the frequent nursing. Once the blockage is expelled through the nipple, there will likely be a lot of milk right behind it.

    I hope this resolves so that you feel better quickly!

    --Rebecca

    If you get plugged ducts frequently or chronically, it may be due to poor latch and positioning (because this results in uneven and inadequate drainage of the breast) or a poorly fitting bra. Some women find that taking a lecithin supplement helps them avoid chronic plugged ducts.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    3,900

    Default Re: Plugged ducts?

    Yes, do try warmth instead of cold. Cold can inhibit letdown, while warm compresses before feeding can help release the plug.

    You can find more information here:
    www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/mastitis.html

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    1,198

    Default Re: Plugged ducts?

    Oh...have been there several times! To echo previous posters - use warm moist compresses SEVERAL times per day. And you might want to keep doing this for several days after you feel no more discomfort, because these things actually take quite a bit longer to fully resolve than we think. (Learned all this from months of lactation consultant visits and lots of less-than-comfortable hands-on treatments to help move the plugs out. ouch!) Some questions for you...if you hand express/compress your breast to make milk come squirting out, do you see less points of spray than previously? (It's worth noting this kind of thing from time to time.) Do you see any localized small white spots on the very tips of your nipple where the milk usually flows? If so, this is called a bleb and it's part of a plug coming to the surface. Wash your hands thoroughly, scrub under your finger nails and once you have applied some lanolin and really warm/moist heated your breast, gently scrape (it sounds terrible, but it's not that bad, i promise) at the white spot to see if you can loosen it. Beware that you may get quite a flow of milk if you get something removed! Some women report that when they do this and clear bleb spots, they actually pull out small angel-hair-pasta like stringy solidified milk! I've never seen this myself, though. Anyway...just some thoughts. Lots of warm, moist heat (you can wet and microwave a disposo diaper for a quick and easy re-usable heatpad) and LOTS of massaging of the breast. Also, make sure your bra isn't too tight....ease off of any underwires if you are currently using them...at least for a while... (all advice I got....it all helped!)
    Good luck!!
    -Linda

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    167

    Default Re: Plugged ducts?

    I have experienced the clogged ducts also-and they are painful. Again to reiteriate-warm compress or showers before feeding and I started Leitchin. I took it in the afternoon, and by the evening the clogged duct was gone. Such a relief!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    61

    Default Re: Plugged ducts?

    Here's dosage info etc. on the lecithin:

    http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/vi.../lecithin.html

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    1,198

    Default Re: Plugged ducts?

    Just a heads-up about lecithin, there are some cases where it's not an appropriate way to go for plugged ducts! If the cause of your plugs has more to do with a particularly strong milk-ejection-reflex and, overall, alot of milk and perhaps some milk stasis because the milk isn't getting cleared through effectively and stuff is just buliding up, lecithin can actually make things worse. If the plugs are caused mostly by a composition-of-the milk (i.e, super super rich/fatty), then lecithin works because it makes milk flow alot more freely. BUT, if flow isn't the issue because your milk is already a good consistently and flowing alot, having things flow more will make it even tough to clear effectively...you'd need to feed even more frequently and thoroughly and/or pump even more... so, just a word of gentle caution. If you can speak with someone in your area to help determine what the cause of your plugs are, that might be wise before you start with lecitin... good luck!
    jsmom

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