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Lactostasis in a nursing mother: symptoms and treatment of lactostasis

  • Lactostasis in a nursing mother: symptoms and treatment of lactostasis

    Lactostasis is such a complication of the postpartum period, in which there is a stagnation of milk in the mammary glands or a delay in its isolation.

    The vivid clinical manifestations of this condition do not present difficulties for diagnosis.

    With the timely start of treatment, it is possible to achieve a positive result in the shortest possible time, which will favorably affect the overall condition of the nursing mother.

    Causes of lactostasis


    In the postpartum period, a lactation physiological increase is observed in the lactating mother, which is intended to meet the child's nutritional needs. In the first day there is a discharge from the mammary glands of colostrum, in the next several days, transitional milk is formed, and about 3 to 4 days, mature milk forms.

    It is at this time that the risk of developing lactostasis increases, especially if the woman does not pay due attention to the condition of the mammary glands. Colostrum has the greatest density, so it can easily clog out the outflow ducts.


    In addition, there are predisposing factors that significantly increase the likelihood of this postpartum complication. These include:

    1. 1) Anatomical features of the breast that disrupt the normal outflow of milk, for example, narrowness of the outflow ducts of
    2. 2) Spasmodic lactation, which develops against the background of increased psycho-emotional load
    3. 3) Excessive milk production. According to statistics, milk production in the volume that the child eats, is only adjusted to the second month of lactation. During the first month, some women may have more milk than there is a need for it, so a woman may not have time to express the chest
    4. 4) Breast shape features - a large chest, flat or retracted nipple( therefore,on its extension)
    5. 5) Premature or small children who can not fully suck the milk, as they lack strength, so it stagnates in the mammary gland
    6. 6) The mother does not correctly apply the babyto the breast( it should not only grip the nipple, but also the nipple circle. This attachment will also reduce the risk of cracking the nipple)
    7. 7) Large gaps between the feeds that contribute to the accumulation of milk in the mammary gland
    8. 8) Wearing a tight bra that disturbs the normalblood circulation and lymphatic drainage from the chest
    9. 9) Traumatic injury of the breast
    10. 10) Local exposure to low temperatures on the chest.
    Knowledge of these causes will prevent the development of this pathological condition and avoid the development of a number of formidable complications.

    Symptoms of lactostasis in a nursing mother


    Lactostasis has typical clinical manifestations that allow a nursing mother to suspect that something is amiss. The main symptoms of the disease are:

    • engorgement of the breast tissue, which becomes very dense
    • redness
    • breast tenderness
    • to the touch chest
    • when pressing on the parasol, milk flows at first with difficulty, and then abundantly secreted
    • milk can taste salty.
    However, in this case, it should be borne in mind that its taste also depends on the food that the woman ate the day before. Therefore, only this symptom is not a reason to call a doctor.

    Lactostasis can affect only one breast, or two at the same time. In addition to local manifestations, lactostasis in the nursing mother leads to the appearance of general symptoms, namely:

    • elevated body temperature
    • weakness and malaise as manifestations of intoxication syndrome
    • headache
    • irritability and nervousness.
    However, in order to diagnose lactostasis, simultaneous presence of several symptoms is necessary. The presence of only one trait does not yet say anything about this pathological process.

    In such cases, dynamic monitoring of the mammary glands is required, which a woman should perform several times a day.

    What can not be done with lactostasis


    When lactostasis a woman needs to adhere to certain recommendations that will allow her to cope with the problem more quickly.

    They are as follows:

    1. 1) Reduce the amount of liquid being drunk as it promotes additional milk formation
    2. 2) Do not delay subsequent feeding of the baby, because on this background more milk accumulates in the mammary gland
    3. 3) Eliminate salted foods from the diet,which draws water
    4. 4) Do not massage the chest, as the massage movements block the outflow ducts.
    In addition, it contributes to the accession of opportunistic microflora, which contributes to infection of the breast, increasing the risk of developing mastitis, especially against a background of reduced immunity.

    Treatment of lactostasis: how to express milk?


    The essence of lactostasis treatment of a nursing mother is to express the mammary glands.

    With the problem already developed, breastfeeding does not help to improve the situation. Therefore, it is necessary to express the mammary glands independently. However, this must be done correctly.

    The main recommendations for a nursing mother are:

    1. 1) Pressing on the nipple circle so that the milk is allocated
    2. 2) Subsequently, by pushing the milk towards the nipple with the help of the radial movements and repeat the pressure. So do until the mammary gland becomes soft.
    Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used to reduce the pain syndrome. They reduce the production of prostaglandins, which determine the development of the inflammatory reaction. These drugs can be used as tablets, suppositories, injections. They can be used in advance before expressing the breast, which will facilitate this procedure.

    We should not disregard these recommendations and use the breast pump at the very beginning, as it is not very effective in this situation. After exfoliation of the breast by hand, breast pumps can be used, since the subsequent milk has a lower density than the first one.

    After this, a woman should breastfeed her baby as often as possible to prevent the recurrence of lactostasis.

    Prevention of


    To prevent the development of lactostasis, a woman must have in advance basic information that relates to:

    • chest preparation for lactation
    • causes of lactostasis
    • first symptoms of lactostasis
    • what should be done with the first manifestations of lactostasis
    • when there are indications for seeking medical help to preventdevelopment of complications.
    Against the backdrop of developed lactostasis, it is necessary to carefully follow the rules for the care of the mammary glands. This will prevent the development of inflammatory complications, the risk of which is significantly increased.

    To avoid this, the breasts should be washed with soap before each feeding and after it, it is also necessary to wash the hands that are the source of the infection, especially after going to the toilet.

    Complications of


    Complications develop when women seek medical help late. The main negative consequences of this condition are:

    1. 1) Mastitis - inflammatory lesion of the mammary gland
    2. 2) Breast abscess - development of purulent foci in the mammary gland, which are delimited by
    3. capsule 3) Necrosis of breast tissue
    4. 4) Hypogalactia - decreased milk production and t.
    In conclusion, it should be noted that lactostasis is a complication of the postpartum period. On its background, a number of other pathological processes may develop.

    Therefore, a timely request for medical care is required, while the doctor will prescribe the necessary treatment, as well as give general recommendations. Their implementation is the key to normalizing the general condition of women.


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