March 30, 2010

Remedies for Blocked Duct in Breast

Posted in Category : Women's Health

As the name suggests, blocked duct in the breasts is a condition in which the milk ducts get clogged, sore, painful, and inflamed. This condition usually affects breastfeeding women but may also occur in women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding. Breast ducts usually become clogged when the breastfeeding woman’s milk fails to drain. Other reasons for blocked duct are ill-fitting nursing bra, skipped or incomplete feeding, viral ailments like cold, and stress. Ducts may also block for no reason at all. The initial symptoms of a plugged duct include a small, sore and hard lump or a spot in the breast that is tender to touch. It’s also accompanied by redness on the breast, aches, fatigue, and fever. These symptoms mean the blocked duct has become infected, a condition that is called mastitis, which is caused when bacteria infect the breast through a crack or soreness in the nipples.


Blocked ducts usually resolve on their own without any treatment within a day or two of affecting the breasts. If the woman is breastfeeding the baby, she must continue to feed him on the affected side to drain the milk. Clogged duct can also be treated by holding a hot compress to the affected area. One can do this by applying heating pad or a hot water bottle. But, the heat compress must not be used for too long. It would also be beneficial if the warm compress is alternated with a cold compress. Heat compress improves blood circulation and cold compress brings relief from pain. The woman can soak in a warm bath or stand in a warm shower. Heat also promotes immunity that fights infection in the inflamed area. You can take crushed ice cubes or frozen vegetables in a plastic bag and use it as a cold compress. The woman suffering from blocked duct must not sleep on the stomach or even on the side of the affected breast. If the breast touches the mattress, there are chances of it blocking more. The sufferer can also massage the area of soreness gently. Doing this unclogs the duct and improves circulation. Massaging the breasts especially during a warm bath helps in unblocking the ducts. Drinking about 10 glasses of water everyday and eating a well balanced diet are also important as nutritional deficiency and dehydration can also block ducts. Getting rest is also important when suffering from blocked duct as it can promote immunity level.