Mastitis is a painful inflammation of the breasts, and an infection often accompanies it. It almost exclusively affects breastfeeding women, but it is also possible for women who have recently weaned their babies to experience this condition as well. Occasionally, women who are going through menopause may also be affected by mastitis. Because this is an infection, it’s important to get treatment as soon as possible to prevent it from worsening. The most common indicators of mastitis are symptoms such as breast swelling, pain and tenderness, fatigue, fever, chills and an uncomfortable burning sensation when breastfeeding. Other signs of a breast infection include a sudden appearance of breast lumps, unusual redness, warm skin, and general malaise.
Several things can lead to mastitis, so it’s important to know what they are to minimize the risk of contracting it.
While poor nutrition may not actively cause breast infection, it plays a big role in determining risk levels. It’s vital for breastfeeding mothers to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet to properly nourish their babies, but it’s also important for keeping the mother as healthy as possible.
Conditions like dehydration and low iron can increase the risk of developing a breast infection, and diets heavy in sugars, caffeine, processed foods, and fats also make mastitis more likely. Most doctors recommend new mothers maintain a balanced diet including iron-rich foods and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Drinking up to ten glasses of water per day can also be helpful.
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