Breast Engorgement

Dr. Ayush PandeyMBBS,PG Diploma

November 28, 2018

March 06, 2020

Breast Engorgement
Breast Engorgement

What is breast engorgement?

Breast engorgement is a painful and often stressful condition for a woman that occurs during the early days after childbirth. The breasts are excessively filled with milk, blood and fluid that leads to swelling of the breasts and a flattened appearance of the nipples.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

Common symptoms associated with breast engorgement include

  • Swollen, firm, and painful breasts
  • Nipples appear flattened and tight
  • Area around the nipple may become very hard, which makes it difficult for your baby to latch on
  • Mild fever
  • Slight swelling and tenderness of lymph nodes in your armpits

Uncommon symptoms in severe cases include

  • Swollen, hard, shiny, and warm breasts, and a little lumpy to the touch (Read more: Breast lumps causes)
  • Throbbing pain

What are its main causes?

Breast engorgement commonly occurs during the first few days post-delivery. It is the body’s mechanism for adjusting to the baby’s requirement of milk.

Other causes include

  • Improper and insufficient breastfeeding  
  • History of breast surgery

How is it diagnosed and treated?

The symptoms of breast engorgement aid in its diagnosis. History of breastfeeding technique is also essential in treating this condition. It must be differentiated from:

  • Hormonal disorders that lead to breast engorgement
  • Mastitis
  • Gigantomastia which involves bilateral, massive, benign enlargement of the breast.

Proper breastfeeding guidelines by your physician are essential to treat breast engorgement. Analgesics will be required in order to relieve pain and inflammation. Specific hormonal disorders will need appropriate medical treatment to relieve the enlargement.

Self-care includes the following steps:

  • Use of cold compresses, ice application to relieve pain and swelling
  • Wearing comfortable and loose nursing bras
  • Feeding with the infant above the nipple and an uphill manner also reduces the distress associated with breast engorgement
  • Hand express milk after a feed. In severe cases, you may also use a breast pump


  1. Lindeka Mangesi and Therese Dowswell. Treatments for breast engorgement during lactation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010; (9): CD006946. PMID: 20824853
  2. Berens P, Brodribb W. ABM Clinical Protocol : Engorgement, Revised 2016. Breastfeed Med. 2016 May 1;11(4):159-63. PMID: 27070206.
  3. Pregnancy, Birth and Baby. Breast engorgement. Healthdirect Australia. [internet].
  4. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. Diagnosis and Management of Breast Milk Oversupply. American Board of Family Medicine. [internet].
  5. Office on women's health [internet]: US Department of Health and Human Services; Common breastfeeding challenges

Doctors for Breast Engorgement

Dr Abhay Agrawal Dr Abhay Agrawal Plastic, Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery
9 Years of Experience
Dr. Shabbir Ahemad Ansari Dr. Shabbir Ahemad Ansari Plastic, Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery
20 Years of Experience
Dr. A. N. Sharma Dr. A. N. Sharma Plastic, Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery
12 Years of Experience
Consult a Doctor

Medicines for Breast Engorgement

Medicines listed below are available for Breast Engorgement. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.

Medicine Name



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