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Mastitis is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Infection of the breast causing pain, swelling, and erythema
  • Most commonly in women who are breast-feeding
  • Often with systemic symptoms also:
    • Malaise
    • Fever
  • Incidence may be as high as 33% in lactating woman
  • Onset typically 2–3 wk to months postpartum
  • 75–95% occur before infant is 3 mo old
    • Rare during 1st postpartum week
  • More common in advanced maternal age and patients with diabetes
  • Complications:
    • Recurrence
    • Abscess
    • Sepsis
    • Necrotizing fasciitis
    • Fistula
    • Scarring
    • Breast hypoplasia

Pediatric Considerations
Can occur in full-term infants <2 mo of age


  • Staphylococcus aureus most common
  • Less common causes:
    • Coagulase-negative Staphylococcus
    • Streptococcus spp.
    • Escherichia coli
    • Haemophilus influenzae
    • Candida albicans
  • Risk factors:
    • Cleft lip or palate
    • Cracked nipples
    • Infant attachment issues
    • Local milk stasis
    • Nipple piercing
    • Poor maternal nutrition
    • Previous mastitis
    • Primiparity
    • Restriction from a tight bra
    • Sore nipples
    • Short frenulum in infant
    • Use of a manual breast pump
    • Yeast infection

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Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Mastitis." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307340/all/Mastitis.
Mastitis. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307340/all/Mastitis. Accessed April 24, 2019.
Mastitis. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307340/all/Mastitis
Mastitis [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 April 24]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307340/all/Mastitis.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Mastitis ID - 307340 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307340/all/Mastitis PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -