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Blocked milk ducts: Causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention

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PT health Life – Clogged milk ducts are a phenomenon in which the milk duct system is clogged so milk cannot flow out. This phenomenon often occurs in pregnant women in the first days after giving birth and during breastfeeding.

If not treated promptly and properly, the mother may develop mastitis, breast abscess, which gradually becomes fibrotic bands or fibroadenomas.

1. Causes of milk duct blockage

Clogged milk ducts (also known as clogged milk ducts or clogged milk ducts) is a condition in which breast milk stagnates inside the milk ducts in the breasts without being pushed out, making breastfeeding difficult and difficult. like causing pain to the mother.

At 16 weeks of pregnancy, the production structure (milk follicle) is complete to produce the first drops of colostrum. So as soon as the baby is born, milk is already in the breasts and as long as the baby latches properly, he or she will receive breast milk.

Many mothers mistakenly believe that only those who do not breastfeed will experience clogged milk ducts. In fact, there are many causes leading to this situation.

Some main causes of clogged milk ducts after giving birth are commonly due to:

You should massage your nipples gently in a circular motion to stimulate and clear the milk ducts.
  • Just gave birth: Some mothers experience clogged milk ducts after giving birth. The breasts contain a lot of milk but still cannot flow out to feed the baby.
  • Excess breast milk: In most cases, the cause of clogged milk ducts is due to excess breast milk in the breasts because the baby did not suck it all or you did not pump the excess milk after the baby was full, leading to milk remains, causing a blockage.
  • Breasts are under pressure: Wearing a bra that is too tight, a tight shirt or carrying a baby carrier in front of your chest sometimes causes the milk ducts to become clogged. In addition, sleeping on your stomach and exercising also cause the same condition.
  • Less milk pumping out: If you pump less milk or do not pump all the milk out, you are likely to encounter clogged milk ducts. The machine’s weak suction force, unable to pump out all the milk, can also be the cause of clogged milk ducts.
  • The baby does not latch on to the mother’s breast properly: When the baby does not latch on to the mother’s breast properly, the baby will not be able to drink the amount of milk produced by the mother. Therefore, milk left behind in the breasts is the cause of clogged milk ducts.
  • Mother does not breastfeed regularly: If the baby does not breastfeed regularly or does not pump out all the milk within about 5 hours to 1 day, it will cause clogged milk ducts.
  • Stress: Stress will slow down the production of the hormone oxytocin, which is responsible for stimulating the breasts to secrete milk.

2. Symptoms of milk duct blockage

Whether you’re in the early stages of breastfeeding or have been breastfeeding for a while, clogged milk ducts can happen at any time. You may notice some signs that you have a clogged milk duct:

  • Milk is not secreted or secreted very little, even when the mother actively expresses milk.
  • The breasts are firmer and larger than normal, the level of tightness is getting bigger and bigger, and the feeling is painful.
  • Clogged milk ducts into hard clots. When touching the breast, the mother feels one or more hard spots.
  • Breasts swollen, hot and red.
  • Sometimes clogged milk ducts cause fever.
Clogged milk ducts are a condition in which breast milk stagnates inside the milk ducts in the breasts without being pushed out.

3. Is clogged milk ducts contagious?

Clogged milk ducts are a condition in which a certain amount of milk is retained inside the breasts in the milk ducts. Clogged milk ducts are not an infectious disease so they cannot be transmitted.

4. Prevent clogged milk ducts

To prevent and limit clogged milk ducts, mothers need to breastfeed their babies immediately after birth, continuously and according to the baby’s needs. Use your hands or a milking machine to remove excess milk. Avoid long-term stagnation of milk causing blockage and mastitis.

  • Before breastfeeding, mothers should use a warm towel to warm their breasts. At the same time, gently massage the breasts from top to bottom and from outside to inside for better milk circulation. Massage shoulders, neck, nape.
  • You should massage your nipples gently in a circular motion to stimulate and clear the milk ducts. Let your baby breastfeed on the clogged breast first, then switch to the other breast.
  • After the baby finishes feeding, the mother should pump out all remaining milk by hand or a specialized breast pump to ensure there is no excess milk left in the breasts causing stagnation.
  • Mothers should wear comfortable bras or limit wearing bras to make their breasts more airy and help milk circulate more easily.
  • Add the necessary amount of water every day. Have a reasonable diet and rest. Mothers need to avoid being too stressed, try to keep themselves in a comfortable, optimistic and happy mood as possible.
  • Mothers should practice light exercises such as meditation, yoga, walking, etc.

However, in cases of long-term milk duct blockage leading to mastitis or breast abscess, mothers need to see a doctor early to receive appropriate treatment instructions from a doctor such as incision to drain pus or use antibiotics. born.

5. Treatment of clogged milk ducts

Depending on each specific injury on each patient, there are specific treatment regimens.

Physical therapy methods have clear advantages such as:

  • Quickly dissolves frozen and lumpy milk ducts.
  • Does not cause trauma to inflamed or clogged milk glands and other normal milk duct systems.
  • There is no need to use systemic pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • During treatment, maintain normal breastfeeding to avoid loss of milk and loss of breast milk.

Physical methods such as:

  • Treatment with heat methods: Reduces pain, reduces tissue spasms, enhances the anti-inflammatory process and increases tissue regeneration to speed up wound healing.
  • Ultrasound treatment: Has the effect of reducing pain, softening the tissue, increasing biological reactions and increasing the metabolism of the tissue to help the regeneration process happen faster.
  • Laser treatment: Reduces tissue edema, reduces pain and inflammation, increases fibroblast activity, and collagen synthesis plays an important role in tissue regeneration.

In addition, depending on the stage of the disease, there are appropriate treatment methods that bring effective treatment.

Summary: Although clogged milk ducts are not life-threatening, if not detected and treated promptly, they will seriously affect the mother’s health, leading to many difficulties in nurturing and caring for the baby. To receive safe and effective treatment for clogged milk ducts after giving birth, when symptoms appear, mothers should go to a medical facility to be examined by doctors and get the best treatment for each case.

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