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Thread: Plugged Duct or Abscess?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Plugged Duct or Abscess?

    I'm not sure where to put this...I am about 5.5 weeks PP and exclusively pumping for my surro son. I have been struggling with plugged ducts in my right breast for the last 3 weeks. I only get about .5 oz while pumping and nothing seems to be helping. I've done everything too-warm compress and massage, massage and hand expression in the shower and in the bathtub, using a wide tooth comb to "rake" from my collar bone to my areola, larger breast shields, and nursing my surro son but he is bottle feed or gets milk from an SNS so he's kind of lazy when it comes to trying to actually trying to nurse. I use a hospital grade pump and I have been taking Lecithin for the last 2 weeks. I don't wear an underwire bra or carry a bag or sling or anything heavy on that side and I have pretty much been sleeping on my left side or back.

    I now have a huge rock hard lump in my breast that is extremely tender and causes me a lot of pain. It's about the size of a golf ball and you can see it just by looking at my breast. At this point I'm really not sure what is going on. Is this still just a plugged duct or has it become an abscess? If it is still a plugged duct what else am I suppose to do to get it out? I'm really not clear on what an abscess is other than that they're really rare, but usually require surgery to fix.

    Help please!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: Plugged Duct or Abscess?

    Hi Trish,

    How wonderful that you're providing milk for the baby! Sorry you had to wait 5 days before getting an answer on the board. Here's an article that may answer many of your questions. Rather than repeat it, I'll just direct you right to the link: http://llli.org/NB/NBMarApr07p76.html. I'd also recommend speaking directly with a LLL Leader since it sounds like you have already tried many ways to relieve the duct. Find a Leader through the llli.org site. Please feel free to send a private message if I can help in any way.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: Plugged Duct or Abscess?

    Oh dear I'm sorry you had to wait so long too. I totally missed this post. What a great thing you're doing, pumping for your surro son!!!

    First off this is something that needs the attention of a breastfeeding-friendly doctor or IBCLC. It's impossible for me to say if it's become an abscess or not. But either way you'll need some help.

    There is some good information in this link:

    Breastfeeding and Breast Abscess

    And also this:

    Abscess: An abscess occasionally complicates mastitis. You do not have to stop breastfeeding, not even on the affected side. In the past, an abscess was almost always drained surgically. Now, more and more, repeated needle aspiration or drainage under radiographic control is done, and interferes less with breastfeeding. If you need surgery, the incision should be kept as far away as possible from the areola. Contact the clinic.

    A lump which isn't going away: If you have a lump that is not going away or getting smaller over more than a couple of weeks, you should be seen by a breastfeeding friendly physician or surgeon. You don’t have to stop breastfeeding to get a breast lump investigated (Ultrasound, mammogram, and even biopsy do not require you to stop breastfeeding even on the affected side). A breastfeeding friendly surgeon will not tell you that you must stop breastfeeding before s/he can do tests for a breast lump.
    from Blocked Ducts and Mastitis

    Hope that helps! And I hope you feel better soon.
    Erin (32), breastfeeding CLW, knitting cloth-diapering crocheting, heirloom tomato-growing philosophizing poker-playing feminist artist mama to my 19 month old daughter! Baby #2 due January 2009.

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