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Breast Engorgement (cont.)

Exams and Tests

No exams or tests are needed to diagnose breast engorgement. If your doctor suspects a breast infection (mastitis), you will be treated with antibiotics.

For more information, see the topic Mastitis While Breast-Feeding.

Treatment Overview

Breast engorgement is a common problem after birth and during breast-feeding. You can prevent and treat it at home. You do not need to visit your doctor unless you have symptoms of an infection (mastitis), which may require antibiotic treatment.

If you are not going to breast-feed, there currently is no safe medicine available for "drying up" your breasts and preventing breast engorgement.

You can use self-care measures to help prevent or relieve breast engorgement.

  • If you are breast-feeding, self-care focuses on increasing the flow of milk out of your breasts. You do this with frequent breast-feedings, making sure that your baby is latched on well. You can expect some relief within 12 to 24 hours. And the discomfort should disappear within a few days.
  • If you are not breast-feeding, breast engorgement will improve as your breasts stop producing milk. Pain and discomfort should go away in 1 to 5 days. You may find home treatment helpful for relieving symptoms.

For more information on self-care measures to help prevent or relieve the discomfort of breast engorgement, see the Home Treatment section of this topic.

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