Hexahealth Care Team Monday, 06 February 2023
Breastfeeding mothers should always be aware of the signs and symptoms of breast lumps and what might cause them. Breast lumps can be a normal part of breastfeeding, but it's important to have them checked out if you notice any changes. Knowing when to consult with a healthcare provider and how such an issue may impact your breastfeeding experience is also important. This article will provide detailed insights into lumps in breast during breastfeeding. With this knowledge, you will be better prepared to make informed decisions about your health care and ensure that breastfeeding continues safely and successfully for both mother and baby.
Table of Contents
- Causes of Breast Lumps during Breastfeeding
- How to Detect Lumps in Breast During Breastfeeding?
- When Can Breast Lumps in Breastfeeding Become Painful?
- Pain Management for Breast Lumps during Breastfeeding
- Lifestyle Changes
- When to Consult a Doctor?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Related Expert Doctors
- Related Hospitals
Causes of Breast Lumps during Breastfeeding
Lumps in breasts during breastfeeding are a common issue among mothers. Breastfeeding mothers should not ignore any changes they feel in their breasts, as some of these issues may require medical attention. Let's discuss the different causes of lumps in the breast while breastfeeding.
Blockage in Milk Duct
Blockage in milk ducts is a common reason for lumps in breasts during breastfeeding. When the flow of breast milk is blocked, an area may become swollen and tender due to the back-flow of milk or infection behind the blockage.
You might feel a firm, round lump that can range from pea size to marble size. Some of the important things you need to know:
- This lump usually resolves within 24 hours with frequent breastfeeding or by gently massaging over the area while nursing.
- If the symptoms persist or worsen after 24 hours, it's essential to contact your doctor as soon as possible so they can rule out any other more severe causes like mastitis or an abscess.
Mastitis is a common condition that can cause lumps in breast during breastfeeding. It occurs when the milk ducts in the breast become blocked, leading to inflammation and infection. Key things to know about mastitis:
- Symptoms of mastitis typically include redness, swelling, tenderness, warmth to the touch, and pain in one or both breasts. In some cases, fever may also be present.
- If left untreated, mastitis can worsen and lead to an abscess which requires medical attention for proper treatment.
Engorgement is a common and normal part of the breastfeeding process. It occurs when the breasts become overly full of milk, causing them to feel larger, harder, fuller, and more painful. Engorged breasts can lead to lumps or knots in the breast tissue due to blocked milk ducts or plugged hair follicles.
Some crucial things you must know:
- Common symptoms include:
- Swelling around the areola
- Intense pain that may radiate through your arm or shoulder
- Redness of the skin on your breast
- Warm to hot feeling in your breast tissue
- If left untreated, engorgement can lead to infection, such as mastitis, so it's essential not to feed too frequently on one side only but to alternate between both sides during each feeding session if possible.
Swollen Lymph Nodes
Swollen lymph nodes can be a potential reason for lumps in breast during breastfeeding. The lump may form due to excess milk production, an infection such as mastitis, or other causes associated with the child's suckling action.
Here are a few important points you must be aware of regarding swollen lymph nodes:
- As these types of lumps tend to be sensitive and tender when touched, it is recommended that a physician be consulted.
- Depending on the cause of the lump and its size, the doctor may need to perform additional tests such as ultrasound imaging or take samples for biopsy to determine the exact diagnosis.
- If left untreated, swollen lymph nodes can lead to complications, including blocked milk ducts and altered milk supply, affecting both the mother's and baby's health.
An abscess can also cause lumps in the breasts while nursing. An abscess is caused by bacteria and forms a pocket of pus near the breast skin's surface.
- When touched, a woman may notice swelling and redness around the lump and warmth.
- She may also have fever, chills, fatigue, and pain in the area, ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain that worsens with movement or touch.
- If she notices any changes like this, she should immediately contact her doctor for further evaluation and antibiotic treatment if necessary.
These lumps in breast during breastfeeding are usually caused by cysts, fluid-filled sacs that form due to increased pressure in the milk ducts during breastfeeding.
- While these cysts may be painful or uncomfortable, they typically do not cause harm and may go away with time.
- However, if a cysts persists for longer than two weeks or appears different from other lumps you have experienced before, it is essential to consult your doctor as soon as possible so they can evaluate and rule out any more serious conditions, such as breast cancer.
- Most often, though, these cysts will resolve without treatment or intervention once breastfeeding has stopped and hormone levels have returned to normal.
Lipoma is a benign, fatty tumour that may develop in women's breasts during breastfeeding. These lumps in breast during breastfeeding often appear as small, round bumps or masses under the skin and can generally be felt by touch.
- Generally, lipomas are not painful or uncomfortable; however, they may cause discomfort while nursing due to their location on the breast.
- Although these tumours are usually harmless and do not require treatment, it is important for any woman who observes a lump in her breast to consult her healthcare provider immediately for further evaluation.
A hematoma is a common reason for lumps in breast during breastfeeding. It occurs when a milk duct becomes blocked, and the resulting pressure causes swelling in the breast tissue.
- Hematomas can be painful and may cause redness, warmth, or even bruising of the affected area.
- While it's normal to have some tenderness when producing milk, a healthcare provider should evaluate any lump that persists.
- A hematoma can lead to further complications, such as mastitis (breast inflammation), if left untreated. However, with proper care and attention, most cases resolve without any long-term issues.
Fibrocystic breasts are a common cause of lumps in breast during breastfeeding. Fibrocystic breasts occur when the milk-producing cells and ducts in the breasts become enlarged due to hormonal changes, causing them to form benign cysts or lumps.
- These cysts can vary in size and shape and may feel tender or painful.
- Breastfeeding mothers should pay close attention to any changes in their breast tissue, as these could be signs of fibrocystic breasts.
How to Detect Lumps in Breast During Breastfeeding?
If you experience pain or discomfort due to lumps in breast during breastfeeding, it is essential to consult with your doctor right away so that they can diagnose the issue and recommend treatment options if necessary.
Additionally, regular self-exams can help detect any potential problems early on and allow for a timely intervention from a medical professional if needed. Here are some things to check for signs of lumps in the breast during breastfeeding:
- Breast Self-Examination: Breastfeeding mothers should check their breasts regularly by breast self-examination. This process includes
- Visual inspection of the breast where you would need to inspect your breasts in the mirror to check for any change in size, shape or texture of the breasts.
- Following the visual inspection, you need to do a manual inspection of the breasts where you need to use your fingertips and move around your breast while standing, lying down or in the shower to check for breast lumps.
- Physical Examination by the Doctor: The doctor will perform a physical exam, feeling the lump to determine its size, shape, and texture.
- Mammogram: Depending on how old you are and what risk factors exist, mammograms may be recommended by doctors, especially if they suspect something like an abnormality in one or both breasts
- Ultrasound examination: Ultrasound examinations are very useful tools used when detecting abnormalities within the body, such as tumours or cysts because they use sound waves rather than radiation which makes them safer than x-rays
- Biopsy and Other tests might be needed: In certain cases where a lump has been detected via physical examination and imaging techniques, biopsies may need to be performed along with other diagnostic tests such as MRI to accurately determine whether it's benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
When Can Breast Lumps in Breastfeeding Become Painful?
Breast lumps can occur during breastfeeding and may be painful. Lumps in breast during breastfeeding can become painful when caused by mastitis or a blocked duct.
Pain usually develops gradually, starting as a mild discomfort in the breast and then increasing in intensity over time. In some cases, pain may become severe enough to wake you up at night or affect your daily activities.
If you experience any type of pain from a lump while breastfeeding, it’s always best to seek medical advice for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. The doctor will examine the area carefully and run necessary tests to rule out any serious underlying conditions like cancerous tumours or infection.
When treated properly, most breast lumps resolve quickly without causing too much disruption to your breastfeeding routine.
Pain Management for Breast Lumps during Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding can be a wonderful bonding experience for mother and child, but it can also cause pain due to lumps or other medical issues. Pain management for breast lumps during breastfeeding is essential for creating a healthy and successful relationship.
Below mentioned are some ways to pain management for breast lumps during breastfeeding:
- Take pain medications: Pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help reduce discomfort from breast lumps during breastfeeding. Consult your doctor about the best medication for the breast lump during breastfeeding.
- Use cold or heat treatment: Applying a heated compress, such as a warm washcloth or an ice pack, on the affected area may help ease discomfort.
While breastfeeding, this can be done several times throughout the day to relieve any soreness associated with a lump in one'sone's breast.
- Massage your breasts: Gently massaging around and over the lumpy areas may help break up clogged milk ducts, reduce inflammation and swelling, and remove blockages causing pain in one'sone's breasts when nursing their baby.
- Wear supportive bras: Wearing comfortable yet supportive bras can help keep your breasts in place so they don't rub against clothing which can cause further irritation or aggravate any existing lumps in your breast tissue.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Relaxation methods such as deep breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation may help alleviate tension that could contribute to additional pain when feeding one's baby at the breast.
Making the right lifestyle changes is a key step for any breastfeeding mother with a breast lump to help prevent and cure it. By following these tips, mothers can be sure they are taking the best care of their body and baby's health.
- Maintain a healthy and balanced diet: Eating nutritious foods high in fibre, calcium, and low in fat can help reduce the risk of developing breast lumps during breastfeeding.
Consuming whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins like fish benefits overall health, including reducing the risk of breast lumps.
- Exercise regularly: Regular exercise (at least 30 minutes every day) can help keep your body fit and strong while also providing relief from stress, which can be associated with several conditions, including breast lump development during breastfeeding.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps to flush toxins out of your system, which can reduce inflammation related to many reasons, such as the development of breast lumps during breastfeeding or other medical problems such as mastitis or thrush infections.
You should aim for at least eight glasses per day to stay properly hydrated throughout your postpartum period when you're nursing your baby.
- Avoid caffeine: Caffeine increases cortisol levels in our bodies which may increase inflammation leading to an increase in painful symptoms associated with any ailments connected with lactation or motherhood.
Some ailments may include mastitis, thrush infections, or even breast lumps developed during breastfeeding.
- Avoid alcohol consumption: Avoid drinking more than one glass occasionally since drinking too much has been known to cause dehydration and worsen existing conditions.
- Get adequate rest & relaxation: Mothers must get enough sleep each night (ideally 7-8 hours) since lack of sleep is linked with an increased risk of developing certain illnesses.
It includes those related to lactating women/mothers, like mastitis, thrush infections, etc., and extends beyond these specific ailments into general health complaints like fatigue, depression, etc.
When to Consult a Doctor?
If you notice a lump in your breast while breastfeeding, it's essential to have it checked out by a doctor right away.
- Most lumps are not severe and can easily be treated. However, if the lump is more than an inch wide or does not move around when pressed, it is essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- It may be necessary for the doctor to perform further tests, such as a mammogram or ultrasound, to determine what type of lump it is and how best to treat it.
- Additionally, any changes in the size or texture of the lump should also prompt you to see your doctor immediately—even if you're still breastfeeding—as this could indicate cancerous activity in some cases.
Consulting with your physician will help ensure your health is properly cared for during your breastfeeding period.
The bottom line is that finding a lump in your breast while breastfeeding can be alarming. However, taking the time to assess the situation and understand what may be causing it is important. It could be anything from a blocked milk duct or an infection to something more serious like cancer.
While most lumps in breast during breastfeeding are often benign, it is still critical to seek professional help to rule out any underlying causes. With the right diagnosis and treatment plan, lactating mothers can continue breastfeeding safely and confidently.
If you are concerned about changes in your breast during breastfeeding, HexaHealth experts can provide reliable, and up-to-date information about breast lumps in breastfeeding. Our team of certified doctors and specialists is available to answer your questions, discuss diagnosis options, and connect you with the right specialist. They will work with you to ensure that any treatment plans or decisions are based on the best evidence-based practices to safeguard your health. With HexaHealth's expertise, you can access accurate advice regarding your health concerns.
If you suspect the lump is caused by a clogged milk duct, you can continue nursing on the affected breast. If this is painful, try switching positions for better drainage. If your baby doesn't fully drain the affected breast, use your hand to express milk from it or a pump to prevent further clogging.What does it mean when you have lumps in your breast while breastfeeding? ›
Lump in Breast
Fortunately, most lumps in a lactating mother's breasts are either milk-filled glands or an inflammation, such as a blocked duct or mastitis. If the lump is tender, it is probably mastitis. Check out this page for information on treating mastitis.
- Antibiotics for a breast infection.
- Fluid drainage for a breast cyst (if it is large or painful).
- Excisional biopsy to remove a mass (if suspicious for cancer, painful or enlarging).
- Cancer treatment if the lump is biopsy-proven breast cancer.
Plugged Milk Duct
Most plugged ducts resolve without treatment after a few days because the act of emptying the breast through breastfeeding or pumping will often clear the blockage.
- You may feel a lump on your breast.
- The area where the lump is may look red and irritated.
- The lump may feel soft, dense, or tender.
- Your breasts may feel full even after nursing your little one.
If you find a breast lump that feels round, smooth and firm, it could be a cyst — a dilated milk duct filled with fluid. A breast cyst can be large or small, and the surrounding breast tissue may be tender. A breast cyst may appear before your menstrual period and get smaller or disappear afterward.When should I be worried about a lump in my breast? ›
Reasons to consult a health care provider include: Finding a new breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue or the other breast. Noticing a change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast. Having breast pain that doesn't go away after the next period.How do you treat breast lumps naturally? ›
Breast lumps can be cured naturally through home remedies and lifestyle modifications such as wearing a supportive bra, applying cold or hot compress, and reducing caffeine intake. A few herbs such as kalmegh, ashwagandha, flax seeds, and ginger can also be used to cure breast lumps naturally.How do breast lumps go away? ›
Some lumps go away on their own. In younger women, lumps are often related to menstrual periods and go away by the end of the cycle. However, if you find a lump (or any change in your breast or underarm area), see a health care provider to be sure it's not breast cancer. Learn more about benign breast conditions.What is the main cause of breast lump? ›
Breast lumps can be caused by: Breast cancer. Breast cysts (fluid-filled sacs in breast tissue that are usually benign) Fibroadenoma (a solid, benign mass most common in young women)
You should try ice packs, baking soda baths, and fever-reducing medication. Skin lumps caused by injury usually fade on their own as the swelling goes down. Applying an ice pack and elevating the area can reduce inflammation and ease pain.What kind of lumps are normal in breasts? ›
Fibroadenomas are solid, smooth, firm, noncancerous (benign) lumps that are most commonly found in women in their 20s and 30s. They are the most common benign lumps in women and can occur at any age. They are increasingly being seen in postmenopausal women who are taking hormone therapy.How do you unclog a milk duct? ›
If you develop a plugged duct, be sure to breastfeed or remove milk often and alternate different feeding positions. Do not stop breastfeeding. This will make the problem worse. It often helps to apply warm compresses to the area or soak the breast in warm water while massaging the lump.Can a doctor unclog a milk duct? ›
Sometimes a clogged duct is intensely painful or does not go away with home remedies. A clogged duct that does not resolve can lead to mastitis, which is inflammation of the breasts due to infection. Although mastitis can be painful, a doctor can usually treat it with antibiotics.Can blocked milk duct cause a large lump? ›
A blocked duct is an area or segment of the breast where milk flow is obstructed (milk stasis) causing a tender lump or spot in the breast.Can a lump in the breast be nothing? ›
"More often than not, breast lumps are harmless. But, any lump could potentially be breast cancer, and it's impossible for a woman to determine whether her lump is cancerous or benign just by feeling it."How do you get rid of a clogged milk duct? ›
Firmly massage the affected area toward the nipple during nursing or pumping and alternate with compression around the edges of the clogged milk duct to break it up. Try a warm soak in the bath or shower along with massaging the plugged duct while soaking.What do I do if my clogged milk duct won't unclog? ›
Apply heat to the clogged area before each feeding to help with the flow of your breast milk through your ducts. Try a vibration/lactation massager. An electric toothbrush works well but if you are prone to clogs, a lactation massager is a good investment.How do you unblock milk ducts naturally? ›
- Applying a heating pad or warm cloth for 20 minutes at a time. ...
- Soaking the breasts in warm Epsom salt baths for 10–20 minutes.
- Changing breastfeeding positions so that the baby's chin or nose points toward the clogged duct, making it easier to loosen the milk and drain the duct.