During the last week of our vacation, my illness started with a sore throat and body aches and no other symptoms. I thought I was getting the flu. I was so disappointed to be getting sick on our active vacation, as we visited friends and family and did some sightseeing. I used over the counter medications to relieve the sore throat and body aches. Three days after the onset of my first symptoms, I developed a head cold. I went to CVS and bought more over the counter medication – Sudafed PE. As long as I continuously took the over the counter medications, I felt okay – not great – but okay. Other people could only tell I wasn’t feeling very well by my nasally voice.
Shortly after the onset of my head congestion, I noticed a few bright red lines on my left breast accompanied by slight pain. Since I had suffered a self-diagnosed breast infection before, I was familiar with the symptoms. As the days progressed, the redness on my left breast spread, the pain became intense and the nipple inverted. I was in a lot of pain when I stood up, so it was more comfortable to lay down. The pain was so intense, that it was extremely uncomfortable for me to hug anyone and have their bodies press against my breast. Since we were visiting relatives I haven’t seen in years, I had to hug anyway.
Yesterday was day seven of my breast infection and I’m now home. I had to make a doctor’s appointment because of the intense breast pain I was having. Luckily, there was an appointment available for the next day – today. The front of my left breast and underneath it is totally red and the front of my breast feels very hard and is very painful. The redness feels very hot. I always sleep on my left side, so it has been very uncomfortable for me to sleep. I feel pain in my breast even when I’m just walking.
I went to the doctor today and she diagnosed me as having Mastitis – inflammation of tissue in the mammary glands inside the breast. She said there also may be some kind of abscess going on inside my left breast. It was all caused by the same infection that resulted in my first symptoms – the sore throat, body aches and head congestion. She gave me Augmentin – a penicillin antibiotic, to take for 10 days to hopefully clear up the bacterial infection and Vicodin to take for the pain. I have a 10 day follow-up appointment scheduled to make sure the Mastitis has cleared up and to then schedule a mammogram to make sure the problem isn’t anything else.
Mastitis is more common in lactating women, but it can happen to anyone.
If you develop changes in your breast(s), please see your doctor as soon as possible to make sure it isn’t anything serious. In the meantime, if you have breast pain you can take over the counter pain relievers. I found that wearing a good support bra eased the breast pain a little bit. Find a comfortable position for your breast while laying down, so you can sleep. When laying down, apply a warm compress to your breast to alleviate some of the pain and discomfort and possibly improve blood circulation.
We always need to be aware of our bodies and to seek medical care to prevent serious illnesses and complications.