Alternate Names : Mastitis
A breast infection involves an infection of the breast tissue and/or the milk ducts of the breast.
What is going on in the body?
Breast infections are most common in women who are breast-feeding. Bacteria can get into the milk ducts through a crack in the nipple and cause an infection. Incomplete emptying of breast milk during feedings can contribute to the problem. Milk ducts can become blocked. A breast infection can also occur when bacteria enter the tissue through an opening on the skin.
What are the causes and risks of the infection?
Breast infections are caused when bacteria enter the milk-producing ducts or an open area on the breast. They are more likely when the flow of milk is blocked or restricted. Factors that increase a woman's risk for breast infection include the following:
blocked milk duct
breast abnormalities, such as those following breast surgery
conditions that lower resistance to infection, including anemia, stress, and diabetes
exercising the upper arm too much, such as shoveling snow
fibrocystic changes in the breast
going too long between breast-feeding sessions
incorrect positioning of the baby during breast-feeding
objects that press on the breast, such as heavy shoulder bags
past injuries to the breast
stopping breast-feeding suddenly
teething pain in the infant
tight clothing, such as underwire bras