Having breast abscess is certainly not the end of the world for a lactating woman, though in the beginning it may seem so. In this article I will discuss about breast abscess treatment and recovery issues:
While you may be at the mastitis stage or during the initial stages of breast abscess, the most possible treatment is through antibiotic tablets. If your doctor feels that you need more than pills, you may reach the second type of treatment – injections. Just like pills, here too you will have to undergo a 5 day course of injections (one full course).
Believe me this is very painful because three times a day (and for each day of the course) you have to take them on your hand. And if after taking all these courses you don’t get well, then it is time for I&D. I&D stands for incision and drainage which is generally done as the final treatment for breast abscess.
In-patient or complete hospitalization is needed for performing I&D. Here the doctor will administer anesthesia and you will be taken to the ‘Surgery’ or the Theatre. What happens next you will never know (the pain I mean) so you can relax. During I&D the surgeon puts an incision or cut on your breast where the infection has set and drains out the pus.
The pus sample is then taken to the laboratory for testing the type of bacterial infection that you have had. A short rest in the ICU and thereafter you will be wheeled back to your hospital room. Once there you can feel the fully bandaged breast without the usual nagging pain that you used to feel due to your abscess.
You will be given anti biotic injections (which are usually in large bottles) three times a day for five days atleast. Now the most annoying part of I&D treatment – your medical wound or the incision is not sealed and is left open. The idea is to have the skin heal naturally without any medicine or stitches.
Cleaning the wound during your hospital stay can get painful sometimes. It is generally said that once an I&D is performed, the mothers breast milk stops. This is not correct.
Some women continue to produce breast milk even after an I&D and that is why for them it may take 2-3 months for complete recovery and closure of the wound. For others whose breast milk supply stops after I&D it may take a month for complete closure of the wound.
During your hospital stay you will not be able to breast feed your baby for two reasons- your surgery and due to the anti biotic. Breast milk usually can leak from the wound during your entire recovery time (2-3 months).
To avoid getting abscess again during this time, always express milk from your breast using your hand or pump. You can throw this milk during the first few weeks. And once you stop anti biotic can start feeding your baby. The surgery mark on your breast will remind you forever the harrowing experience you once had with breast abscess.