How can I tell if I have a plugged duct?
If you feel localized pain within the breast or a tender lump, you probably have a plugged duct. You milk ducts cant extend all the way into your armpits and you might experience pain in that area. When milk sits in the breast for an extended period of time, it can thicken and create a hard or tender spot known as a plugged duct. The skin over the area may appear pink or red. You will feel well over all, i.e. no body aches, headache, chills, or fever. If you have aches & fever your cloggled milk duct might have turned into mastitis.
What causes a plugged duct to form?
Clogged ducts can occur for a variety of reasons. Milk oversupply, use of a nipple shield, improper latch, tight fitting bra, cross-body bag, and/or pressing your thumb or finger into the same position on the breast throughout a feeding, can all contribute to plugged ducts. Figuring out what is causing your clogged ducts is key to preventing it from recurring clogged milk ducts. Learn more about the common causes here.
How can I resolve a plugged duct?
The key to clearing a plugged duct is to empty the breast frequently and thoroughly. You may physically see the clogged milk duct coming out in the form of thick discharge and it may have blood in it. Follow these steps to help resolve your plugged duct:
It’s not uncommon for babies to ingest the plugged duct during a breastfeeding session. The thickened milk is perfectly safe for a baby to ingest, so don’t be alarmed if you never see it. Many women experience breast tenderness for several days after the plug has been resolved.
For chronic or recurrent plugged ducts:
Some women have found lecithin to be helpful. The recommended dosage is 1 tablespoon 3-4 times daily or 1-2 capsules (1200 mg each) 3-4 times daily.
Therapeutic ultrasound has also be found to help relieve persistent plugged ducts.
What are the risks of not treating a plugged duct?
IF THE PLUGGED DUCT DOES NOT RESOLVE IN 12-48 HOURS AND/OR YOU DEVELOP A FEVER, PLEASE SEE YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FOR ADDITIONAL TREATMENT.