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Swollen breasts can occur before menstruation, but are more common in breastfeeding mothers. Swollen breasts in breastfeeding mothers, also known as mastitis, are usually caused by blocked milk ducts or a bacterial infection. In addition to feeling pain, symptoms can also be accompanied by fever
The breasts have four main tissues, namely fatty tissue, connective tissue, glands, and milk ducts. If there is a disturbance in the breast tissue, for example, because the milk ducts are blocked, the breast can become swollen.
When swollen, the breasts feel bigger, the blood vessels sometimes appear clearer, the skin texture becomes rougher, and the breasts may feel warmer. This change in breast shape can make you feel pain.
Causes of Swollen Breasts
One of the common causes associated with swollen breasts is mastitis, which is an infection of breast tissue that often occurs in breastfeeding mothers. This infection is caused by bacteria that enter the milk ducts through sore nipples.
Sores can occur due to an incorrect feeding position for the baby, late feeding the baby, a bra that is too tight, or the use of breast cream on the nipple.
Another cause of swollen breasts is the menstrual cycle. This complaint usually appears together with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and occurs due to hormonal changes in a woman's body before menstruation.Swelling and pain may occur in both breasts. This pain that can be felt every month will end when menopause arrives.
There is also swelling and pain in the breasts that occur outside the menstrual period. This condition usually occurs in women aged 30-50 years. This pain and swelling of the breast tends to occur in only one breast, and can be caused by a cyst or fibroadenoma (lump in the breast).
In addition to the above conditions, blockage of the lymphatic channels of the breast, hormonal disorders, and breast cancer can also make the breasts swollen.
Swollen Breast Treatment
How to deal with swollen breasts depends on the cause. If swollen breasts occur due to mastitis, treatment can be done in the following ways:
Compress and massage the breast
Compress the breast with a towel that has been soaked in warm water for a few minutes, then massage it when you want to breastfeed. After feeding the baby, compress the breast with cold water. To reduce blockage, breastfeed the swollen area first.
Continuing breastfeeding is an important way of dealing with mastitis. Swollen breasts can occur because breast milk is not released. To empty the breast, feed the baby or do a breast pump. Look for the correct and comfortable breastfeeding position so that the milk flows smoothly.
Consult the doctor
If the blockage is still there within 8-12 hours, see a doctor immediately. Treatment of mastitis should be carried out as soon as possible. Your doctor may prescribe pain relievers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol and antibiotics.
If swollen breasts occur during the menstrual cycle, it can be relieved through self-care at home, namely:
1. Breast warm compress
Compress the breast with a towel that has been soaked in warm water. This warm temperature can relax tense muscles and help reduce pain. Apart from that, you can also take a hot bath or bath.
2. Breast cold compress
In addition to warm water, you can also compress with a towel that has been soaked in cold water or wrap ice with a towel, then put it on the swollen breast. You can also use ice gel which is usually found in breast milk bags.
3. Use a comfortable bra
A comfortable bra can help reduce pain and reduce pressure on the breasts. Avoid using underwire bras as long as your breasts are still swollen and sore. If possible, wear a bra that fits and is comfortable when sleeping so that it provides good support for your breasts.
You can also wear a sports bra, as this bra is specially designed to support your breasts and help protect them from pressure. Don't forget to always pay attention to the size of the bra that fits your breasts.
4. Pay attention to food and drink
When your breasts are swollen, you are advised to pay more attention to food and drink intake.Eat less fatty foods, such as fried foods, and replace them with fruits and vegetables. In addition, reduce consumption of caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate) and foods that are too s alty.
5. Take painkillers
If the pain is really uncomfortable and doesn't improve after doing some of the tips above, you can take painkillers like paracetamol.
If the breast is swollen with unbearable pain, there is a lump on one side of the breast, or brown discharge or blood is coming out of the nipple, consult a doctor immediately. This condition needs to be further examined by a doctor to ensure that the swollen breasts are not caused by a serious medical condition.