The disease from which the female breast most frequently suffers is inflammation , followed by abscess. This may occur at any time, but most commonly it is within the first few weeks after childbirth. Generally within twenty-four hours after the birth of a child, the breasts become turgid and slightly hot, from the increased flow of blood which is directed toward them to supply the secretion of milk. In this excited condition, and indeed during suckling generally, they are peculiarly liable to become inflamed; cold, any slight bruise, such as that from a bone in the stays, over-distension with milk, or even mental excitement, may, any of them, give rise to the inflammation which ends in abscess. If from flatness of the nipple, weakness of the child, or any other cause, the milk is not well drawn out, measures which will relieve must be adopted. Various forms of breast-pumps are used, the suction being made through them, either mechanically or by the mouth. Some nurses have the art of drawing the breasts with the mouth more thoroughly than any instrument, and when such aid can be procured it is right to make use of it.


The first symptoms of threatened abscess are pain and knotty hardness in the part; if the process goes on unchecked, there is much throbbing and sensation of weight, (the skin over the part affected becomes red, gradually thins, and at last gives way, allowing the escape of the matter, occasionally mixed with milk. Some amount of fever accompanies the progress of the affection. After the discharge of the matter the abscess may quickly heal, or it may remain open and running for a considerable time.


Abscess or broken breast can almost always be prevented by covering them entirely and closely with adhesive or common sticking plaster. If this cannot be done on account of soreness, pack them with cloths wrung out of cold water, in which is a quantity of corn meal; wring pretty dry; cover well; change as often as they get warm or dry. Add tincture of Myrrh to water; Belladonna at first, if sore and painfnl. If they go on to suppuration, to hasten it give Hepar sul., and it would bo much better to give it as high as the thirtieth attenuation.