What is Mastitis?


There are two types of mastitis, inflammatory mastitis and infective mastitis.


Normally inflammatory mastitis occurs first and then it can develop into infective. It occurs when breastmilk isn’t moving freely through the breast and the normal breast stasis is overcome, causing an immune reaction in the milk and an inflammatory response in the breast.

This process can cause flu-like symptoms very quickly.


Some of the signs of mastitis are:

• Febrile or feverish
• Red and/or hot in the area
• Hard lump in the breast
• History of damage to the breast (e.g older child threw a cricket ball at me)
• Damaged nipples
• Unilateral breast signs


What causes mastitis?

  • Bras – may be too tight, perhaps get them professionally fitted
  • Past trauma to the breast (scarring causing incomplete drainage)
  • Changes in feeding/sleeping
  • Breast Pumps – the vacuum may be on too high, it doesn’t need to be on high the whole time
  • Breast pump – Flanges are the wrong size
  • Exhaustion and stress
  • White spots/blebs – Thickened milk stuck in the ducts
  • Ankyloglossia (tongue-tie)
  • Unresolved breast engorgement
  • Incomplete draining of the breast
  • Poor positioning/attachment/sucking of baby



What is the treatment for inflammatory mastitis?

  • Therapeutic Ultrasound by a Physiotherapist (click here to find out more)
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories can help to reduce the inflammatory process (please check with your pharmacist that you can take them)
  • If it’s a persistent issue see a lactation consultant


When should I see a Doctor?

If you have a fever and feel very unwell, then see your GP to see if you require antibiotics as well.


What does a session with a Women’s Health Physiotherapist for mastitis include?

  1. Applying Therapeutic Ultrasound to the area required
  2. Thorough subjective assessment of your breastfeeding (current and past history) and postnatal history.
  3. Education on the use of breastfeeding holds and other management strategies you can use at home to assist with drainage of the breast.
  4. Discuss and investigate the possible causes of your blocked duct
  5. Liaising with the other health professionals involved in your care (for example GP or lactation consultant)


Please click here to book an appointment online with Amy, or call (08) 6389 2947 for more information or to schedule an appointment over the phone.