• Inflammation: possibly with tender glands under the arms, mild fever (mastitis), cysts (fluid-filled growths or swellings), or boils in the areola (brown areas surrounding the nipples).

• Benign lump (fibroadenosis): possible premenstrual tenderness in the breasts.

• Abscess: increasingly tender breast and hard, red, and painful spot, possibly accompanied by mild fever and tender glands under the arms.

• Tumor: a milky discharge (in women who are not pregnant or lactating) or a dark red discharge from the nipple, possibly accompanied by an unusual retraction of the nipple or an outbreak of eczema around the nipple.
Inflammation of the breast may be caused by a blocked milk duct, or bacteria entering a cracked nipple during lactation, or by infection from an abscess or from elsewhere in the body.Most benign lumps are hormonal in origin.
Conventional care
Mastitis and abscesses are usually treated with painkillers and antibiotics. An abscess may be surgically incised. Ultrasound, mammography, or biopsy are used to investigate lumps. Biopsy involves either the removal of the lump or the aspiration of fluid in order to identify cancerous cells. Discharge from the nipples may be investigated using the methods above or, in order to identify infection, by culturing a sample. Hormone levels are also measured.
Homeopathic medicine
A physical examination and investigative tests will be carried out, and details taken of a woman’s gynecological and obstetric history. A homeopath will also study precipitative factors affecting her general health—especially hormonal balances—in an attempt to identify the underlying causes of breast problems. The choice of constitutional remedy will depend upon individual symptoms.
Silica is effective for abscesses; while Sulphur may be used to treat infection that has entered through cracked nipples, causing mastitis. Calc. phos. is prescribed for painful breast lumps and swelling; and Conium is used to treat hard tumors. Calc. carb. and Pulsatilla are indicated for lumps or inflammation that occur premenstrually or are linked to hormonal imbalances. Other
remedies include Arnica, Causticum, and Lachesis for nipple pain; and Graphites for eczema and cracked, blistered nipples. Local remedies include Belladonna, when an abscess or mastitis is developing and the breast is red, heavy, throbbing, and painful on the slightest movement; and Bryonia, if a breast is hard and painful on the slightest movement. Conium is given for a breast lump causing discomfort that is better for firm pressure, or for a cyst; and Phytolacca is prescribed for cysts that are tender before and during menstruation. 
Regular self-examination of the breasts is very important. It should be done at the same time every month, first standing in front of a mirror to observe any visual changes to the breasts or nipples, then lying down to feel any lumps, thickening, or tenderness in the breasts or armpits.
Breast-feeding women with mastitis should bathe the affected breast in hot water, then breast-feed with the baby positioned lower than the affected area of the breast so as to drain the area of milk. A fish- and vegetable-rich diet with no caffeine is advisable for women affected by breast lumps.

C A S E  H I S T O R Y
Catherine, a 43-year-old former teacher, first started having mild mastitis after a kidney infection. She was prescribed the contraceptive pill, which helped. She also felt better when pregnant. After a couple of miscarriages, however, the mastitis got worse. She was given vitamin B6 and a hormone regulator, which made the condition worse. Catherine had an irregular menstrual cycle.
Catherine appeared to be easy-going, but inside she was a great worrier, and very anxious about what others thought about her. A highly sensitive woman, she was deeply moved by sad stories. At times she felt that she would go mad with pain and discomfort.

F O O D  P R E F E R E N C E S
Catherine had a craving for boiled eggs, especially when she was premenstrual or pregnant. She also had a desire to eat indigestible items, such as chalk, coal, and pencils, and had a sweet tooth.
Catherine felt the cold very easily, but tended to sweat profusely in bed,particularly on the back of her head so that the pillow would become damp. Her feet were often so hot that she had to stick them out of the bed during the night. She felt worse in cold, northeasterly winds, and
better when the weather was warm and dry.

P R E S C R I P T I O N  &  F O L L O W - U P
Catherine was prescribed a variety of homeopathic remedies, including Conium, Lachesis, and Phytolacca, and advised about dietar y changes, but nothing brought more than temporar y relief. When she was given Calc. carb., however, the mastitis symptoms disappeared completely. After that she had the occasional dose of Calc. carb., but remained largely free of pain and discomfor t. During menopause, Catherine developed the first symptoms of mastitis that she had experienced in five years. She again responded well to Calc. carb., needing just two or three doses during menopause. She has remained symptomfree ever since.

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