What Is Breast Engorgement (Nodular Mastitis)?

Breast engorgement, or nodular mastitis, is caused by expansion and pressure in the mammary glands while producing and storing breast milk. Symptoms include breast swelling and throbbing, which can cause mild to extreme pain. It can eventually lead to mastitis or inflammation of the breast, and any untreated engorgement can put pressure on the milk ducts, causing a plugged milk duct. A lump in a part of the breast may be felt, and the skin may appear red and/or warm. If it carries on unchecked, it can cause a breast infection, with a fever or flu-like symptoms.

What Causes Breast Engorgement (Nodular Mastitis)?

The four main causes of breast engorgement are:

  1. Imbalance between the milk supply and the demand for the infant.
  2. If the baby suddenly stops breastfeeding because it has started eating solid foods or is ill/has a poor appetite.
  3. A sudden increase of milk production in the breast.
  4. If the mother does not pump the breast or nurse as much as usual.