Blocked breast ducts are not only an inconvenience, as they can dramatically slow down the flow of your breast milk, but they can be incredibly painful as well. The cause of blocked ducts is plentiful, however a few of the main causes maybe and are not limited to:
1. A poor latch of your baby on the breast and hence poor emptying of your breast
2. Excessively thick / fatty milk constituency
3. Inexperience with the various positions of breast feeding -may lead to poor latching
4. Fatigue of the mother
5. Low hydration and poor supply of milk
6. Over supply of milk
Physiotherapy working in conduction with a good Breast Lactation Consultant, may assist in successfully clearing blocked reast ducts. A noninvasive physiotherapy modality such as Ultrasound is often a key to successfully clearing blocked ducts.
Therapeutic ultrasound uses sound waves to create a ripple effect that passes through the breast tissue and ducts and hence clear the blockage in the blocked milk ducts.
Ultrasound is painless, and affective. Depending on the extent of the blockage of the breast duct, Treatment sessions may need needs to be 30 – 45 minutes in duration and may need to be applied over 1-3 sessions to clear the blocked ducts. Treatment sessions are most affective when applied daily or 1 day apart.
Often a combination of the ultrasound treatment plus soft tissue massage, rest, and good hydration, support good milk flow. Please address block ducts sooner rather than later to avoid further complications such as Mastitis. Mastitis can be very painful and make a new mum feel very unwell.
The signs of Mastitis are:
1. Pain in the breast or at the blocked duct or arm pit
2. Redness around or near the blocked breast duct
3. Heat of the breast or blocked area
4. You may feel unwell with flu like symptoms and or a fever that arises suddenly
5. Milk flow slows down or stops
6. If you have any signs of Mastitis please ask your General Practitioners (GP) advise as soon as you notice any of the above signs and start antibiotics immediately.
Ultrasound may then be applied to your breast 1 – 3 days after you start your antibiotic treatment.
Happy Breast-Feeding Ladies!