Clearing the Path: The Shift from Clogged Ducts to Ductal Narrowing

by | Jun 21, 2024

You deserve better than outdated misconceptions about clogged ducts.

Let’s demystify this archaic concept and
understand what is actually happening in the breast.

“Clogged ducts”
used to be thought of as milk stuck in the ductules,
similar to toothpaste stuck in a tube.

But what we know now is
it’s actually due to compression of the ducts,
“ductal narrowing”
caused by inflammation and edema in the tissues
surrounding the ductules.

It’s like construction on a highway
shutting down lanes and
narrowing the space for milk to flow through.

Mind blown right!?!?

But should it be?
How is it that we misunderstood
the basic anatomy and physiology of the breast organ in such a way?
For too long,
the patriarchy in medicine has pushed learning about and treating breast tissue aside.
We deserve better.

Think about it:
in no other area of medicine would we tolerate
such a lack of understanding and care.
The breasts have been treated like a medical afterthought,
shoved into the proverbial kick bucket.
This vital organ,
which played a crucial role in our evolution and the survival of our species,
deserves our full attention and respect.

So you have ductal narrowing/inflammation, now what?

So no, we do NOT
deeply massage,
use a vibrator,
have a partner suck out the milk,
use a hakaa with Epsom salt soak,
feed more frequently to “empty,”
or even take antibiotics as first line as it is not an infection!

These are things that will INCREASE the inflammation and
lead to mastitis and abscesses.
They damage the breast tissue.

Remember the breast is a gland,
an endocrine organ,
made up of delicate tissue like the thyroid or the pancreas.

You would NEVER be recommended to
put a vibrator on your thyroid or
massage your pancreas (if you could reach it).
These things damage the tissue and increase inflammation.

So what do we do?

Use high dose NSAIDs (non steroid anti-inflammatories) like ibuprofen,
turmeric/curcumin supplements to bring down the inflammation,
apply ice and
relative rest (feed just what baby needs directly, no extra pumping or extra feeds).

The medical community has failed us yet again
when it comes to lactation.

Physicians aren’t adequately trained to understand or
treat conditions affecting the breast,
leaving a void
filled with myths and
ineffective treatments.

Lactating parents deserve more than this neglect.
They deserve the time and expertise of healthcare professionals
who will take a comprehensive history,
perform a thorough physical exam,
and diagnose the issue correctly.

It’s time to challenge outdated ideas and demand better.
You deserve a healthcare system that understands
and respects the complexities of your body.
Because when it comes to your health,
nothing less will do.

At Fourth Trimester Doc,
we are breastfeeding medicine specialists,
and we would love to be able to support you.
Reach out to us on our website for a consultation.
We can provide lactation and postpartum support nationwide and even internationally.

We are here for you,

Dr. Haggerty


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