Ever suffered from Mastitis? You would know how uncomfortable it is. Read on to find out how you can use Belladonna for Mastitis.
What is Mastitis?
Mastitis is inflammation of the breast tissue and it commonly affects breastfeeding women. This usually occurs in the first 3-6 months of nursing. Lactation mastitis can manifest with or without an infection. In the absence of infection, mastitis is usually attributed to clogged milk ducts and ‘milk stasis’.
The stagnant milk creates the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive, enabling the inflammation to progress to an infection. In the case of primary infection, the culprit is Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, or Salmonella species that enter the breast tissue through a break/cut in the nipple or the surrounding skin.
- Anything that prevents the breast from being completely empty on a regular basis can be a risk factor. Keep a note of the following risks:
- Infrequent breastfeeding/pumping sessions
- Improper latching/nursing techniques such as preference given to one side, leaving the other breast partially drained.
- An abrupt end to nursing instead of gradual weaning
- Excess pressure on the breast from tight-fitting bra/clothes, seat belts, or even bag straps.
- Contaminated breast implants
- Nipple piercings
- Irritated /cracked/sore nipple and surrounding skin from shaving or plucking hair, or skin conditions like eczema, or breast injury.
- Diabetes or illnesses that compromise the immune system.
- Previous episodes of mastitis.
The breast appears red and swollen or hardened in a wedge-shaped pattern. The affected area is warm and hurts (mastalgia) when you touch it. It is accompanied by itching and a persistent burning sensation.
Elevated body temperature, chills, and flu-like symptoms. Accompanied by a feeling of lethargy and malaise and sometimes a white or bloody discharge from the nipple.
In case of infection, the doctor prescribes oral antibiotics like amoxicillin or ciprofloxacin. Do not self-medicate with antibiotics. Over-the-counter drugs to alleviate fever, pain, and inflammation are ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Ensure that while breastfeeding, you empty the breast completely and regularly. Practice regular nursing [start with the sore breast], pumping/expressing milk between feeds. Massage the breasts to unclog milk ducts and apply a cold compress afterward. Check for a proper latch and switch breastfeeding positions, also consult a lactation specialist if needed.
Breastfeeding is safe and helps clear mastitis as it does not spread the infection, and the physician-prescribed oral antibiotics will also not affect the nursing baby.
Belladonna for Mastitis
Belladonna is also known as deadly nightshade that is native to parts Of Asia and Europe. It can grow up to 7 feet tall, with shiny, inky blackberries and purple, bell-shaped flowers. The leaves and berries are extremely toxic and, in ancient times, it was often famous as a poison. As a result, they are also infamous by the name sinister moniker devil’s or murderer’s berries. The leaves can cause skin irritation on contact.
However, scientists have now found medicinal uses for belladonna. It contains anticholinergic agents such as Atropine and scopolamine. Separately and in combination with other drugs, these agents have been approved for medicinal use, regulating heart rate, relaxing muscle spasms, dilating pupils during an eye exam, treating IBS [Irritable Bowel Syndrome], stomach ulcers, Parkinson’s disease, etc.
Homeopathic medicine also recommends using belladonna extracts to treat mastitis. However, there isn’t enough evidence to approve the safety and effectiveness of these claims.
Belladonna can cause undesirable cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and psychiatric side effects and is LIKELY UNSAFE for use during pregnancy and Breastfeeding. It can reduce or stop breast milk production or contaminate it with toxins.
Home Remedies For Mastitis
Clean and refrigerated green cabbage leaves act as a cold compress. Use them to cover the breast, except the nipples, and remove them after 20 minutes, repeat up to thrice a day. Overuse may also reduce milk production.
Drink plenty of water and include raw garlic and vitamin C-rich foods in your diet like oranges, broccoli, sprouts, etc.
Consult a physician if symptoms are persistent or worsen and/or the lymph nodes in the armpits enlarge. Sometimes, flu-like symptoms and tenderness in the area accompany lymph node swelling. Breast abscess [pus-filled hardened lump] is a serious complication that requires timely medical intervention and is a side effect of mastitis.