Mastitis and Chinese Medicine  


Diagnosis of Mastitis:

Mastitis is an acute infection of the breast (called a breast abscess). This condition shows symptoms of distention of the effected breast and painfully swollen with lumps. If caught early enough, mastitis may be massaged out and treated with warm moist herbal washs. When left untreated mastitis may manifest symptoms similar to that of the flu. As this breast bloackage grows and fills with pus it gets very painful and leads to the formation of an abscess.

 Once the abscess has evolved the effected area will get red, hot and painful. Internal blockages are deeper and generally can't be seen on the surface, grow slower, are harder to detect, and are tougher to move or break-up. The major cause of mastitis is during breastfeeding the milk stagnates (from possible irregular feeding, not enough stimulation, etc.), this results in blocked duct(s) and creates the infection.


Etiology (causes):

2 types of mastitis, late pregnancy or postpartum


Postpartum Mastitis


1. Liver Qi stagnation w/ Stomach Heat - emotional stagnation, eat too rich/hot food ST Heat Qi stagnation and Heat turns milk into blockage infection.

2. Toxic Heat invasion - at beginning of breastfeeding nipple is not tough, it cracks and milk stagnates in the crack leading to infection. If nipple is too small the baby will suck with great force and may injure the nipple, it then gets invaded from the exterior.


Pregnancy Mastitis


1. Internal Cause - all Essence goes to low Jiao for fetal growth, anything that may cause Heat (woman is already Fire at this time) the Heat follows the Chong Mai and goes into breast creating the infection. i.e. Yangming Heat


Chinese Medicine Differentiation and Treatment  for Postpartum Mastitis 

Early stage remove blockage, open Jing, dissolve.

Liver Qi stagnation and Stomach Heat -

milk secretion is not smooth, emotional stress, diet, starts with a hard lump breast engorgement, may get flu like symptoms of liver and stomach Heat.

Principle of Treatment: - soothe Liver, clear Stomach Heat, promote milk secretion and dissolve hardness

Herbal Medicine Formula: Gua Lou Niu Bang Zi Tang + clear Heat herbs (Pu Gong Ying, Zao Jiao Cao)

External treatment - massage (from base to nipple) - Heat w/ moist herbal compresses (Pu Gong YIng) Late stage


Toxic Heat

hard lump in the breast with redness and sensation of Heat on the skin, high-fever, may feel pulse on abscess, abscess may also have a soft center which is likley an accumulation of pus.   

Principle of Treatment: - strengthen Wei Qi to discharge pus

Herbal Medicine Formula: Tou Li Xiao Du San or Xian Fang Huo Ming Yin


Late Pregnancy Mastitis

Internal Medicine

starts with deep hard lumps where the skin gets red hot and painful, fever and flu symptoms may appear, takes longer to manifest i.e. 1 month.

Principle of Treatment: - soothe Liver, clear Stomach Heat, calm fetus

Herbal Medicine Formula: Xiao Yao San + Pu Gong Ying and Gua Lou, Su Geng

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