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Lactational mastitis

J Michael Dixon, MD
Section Editors
Anees B Chagpar, MD, MSc, MA, MPH, MBA, FACS, FRCS(C)
Daniel J Sexton, MD
Deputy Editors
Elinor L Baron, MD, DTMH
Kristen Eckler, MD, FACOG


Lactational mastitis is an infection of the breast associated with pain, redness, fever, myalgias, and malaise that occurs in the setting of breastfeeding. It is most common during the first six weeks postpartum.

Issues related to lactational mastitis will be reviewed here. Issues related to other breast infections are discussed separately. (See "Primary breast abscess" and "Breast cellulitis and other skin disorders of the breast".)


Lactational mastitis has been estimated to occur in 2 to 10 percent of breastfeeding women [1]. The incidence of mastitis requiring hospitalization is low; in one cohort including 136,459 new mothers, 127 women were hospitalized for mastitis, an incidence of 9 per 10,000 deliveries [2].

The risk of recurrence of mastitis in women with prior history of lactational mastitis is higher than in women with no prior history.


Lactational mastitis often occurs in the setting of the following breastfeeding problems, which typically result in prolonged engorgement or poor drainage [3]:


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Literature review current through: Feb 2017. | This topic last updated: Tue Mar 15 00:00:00 GMT 2016.
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