A clogged milk duct can be irritating, and super painful too. Most women who have dealt with this issue have likely wondered if it is possible to “pop” the clog themselves at home.
Unfortunately, it is not safe to pop a clogged milk duct at home, as doing so can easily lead to an infection. Instead, you should consider going to a doctor who will use sterile tools to pop the milk duct.
Still, there are some methods you can use at home to potentially help treat a clogged milk duct. Read further on for some useful tips and tricks!
Table of Contents
- What Is A Clogged Milk Duct?
- Treating A Clogged Milk Duct
- Warm Compress
- Epsom Salt Bath
- Ice Packs
- What To Expect When You Get A Milk Blister Popped
What Is A Clogged Milk Duct?
Also called a “milk bleb” or “milk blister”, these painful lumps are what happens when a pore located on the nipple becomes blocked. This results in milk being caught behind the blockage and becoming solid. This becomes inflamed, which often will cause pain and discomfort.
Milk blisters will usually look like a clear, white, or yellow little lump located on the nipple. Typically they are quite sore to the touch, and unfortunately very painful during breastfeeding. A clogged milk duct lasts on average for a few days but can stick around for weeks if left untreated.
Because no mom needs more trouble and stress to deal with, we’ve rounded up some ways you might be able to find relief, listed here and then described individually below:
- Warm Compress
- Epsom Salt Bath
- Ice Packs
Treating A Clogged Milk Duct
It is unfortunately not safe to pop a clogged milk blister at home. Doing so can easily result in an infection that will be much more painful and difficult to get rid of than the original issue. For that reason, we always recommend going to a doctor to have the milk duct popped.
That being said, there are still some home remedies you can try to relieve some of the pain associated with this condition without needing to employ any drastic measures. We always recommend seeing a doctor have this taken care of, but hopefully, these tips will help you find some relief in the meantime.
Using a washcloth, run the hot water until it is as hot as possible while remaining comfortable against the skin. Don’t go too hot, or you might hurt yourself. Try gently moving the cloth back and forth over the pore to loosen it. Gradually, the mixture of heat, water, and light rubbing may help to open up the pore.
If you’d prefer it, taking a hot shower is also a viable option here. Any way that you can provide heat and moisture to the blister should help to open up the pores and help clear up your milk bleb. When done correctly this can be one of the most effective home treatments, but keep in mind that you have to be gentle, and more importantly, patient.
Sometimes lactating can actually help to relieve pressure buildup occurring behind the clog. This can help to relieve some of the throbbing pain you might be feeling while experiencing this condition, this is especially effective if the breasts are engorged or feeling swollen.
Most often doing this will be painful at first, especially if done through breastfeeding because of the soreness of the blister. For some, it can be an easier option to hand express or use a pump to lactate. Whichever way you choose to do it, many mothers report this relieves pressure, so it may be worth a shot.
Epsom Salt Bath
Taking a bath in Epsom salts can be really beneficial for loosening or even unclogging your painful little bleb. Using the instructions provided with the product, draw yourself a warm bath and keep the affected area submerged for at least 15 minutes.
Keeping the sore underwater will help to soften the surrounding skin, potentially dislodging whatever is blocking the pore and easing the pain with the warmth of the water. Epsom salts will work alongside the heat to exfoliate the skin, helping to clear the source of the milk blister.
Applying cold to the affected area is also helpful for relieving the pain associated with a milk bleb. Try using a cold compress or an ice pack wrapped in cloth, the cold will help to reduce inflammation and relieve the sensation of pain/swelling in the process.
Frequently applying cold can greatly help with pain management, and is the best way to reduce swelling.
What To Expect When You Get A Milk Blister Popped
If you do intend to actually have the blister popped, only do so with the help of your doctor. But when you do get it done, what can you expect? The process should be short and simple. The doctor will take a sanitized needle and poke it through the backed-up pore, hopefully releasing the backed-up milk and dislodging the blister.
At first, lots of pressure will likely be released from the blister, so don’t be surprised if some old milk comes out. There may be less drainage if you have been breastfeeding, so experiences here may vary. Following draining, the doctor will clean the area, and you should be good to go!
Afterward, we recommend plenty of ice and taking over-the-counter pain medication like Ibuprofen or Naproxen. Both of these are good for reducing swelling and should be useful in helping to manage any soreness you might experience following the procedure.
A clogged milk duct can be an extremely irritating and painful experience. The irritation might have some looking for a fast way out by popping it themselves, but doing so can result in a bad infection, likely requiring much more time and energy spent recovering, along with medical treatments like antibiotics, which would otherwise not be necessary.
The best way to avoid running into infection is to go have the blister popped in a sterile environment by a doctor. We also hope you keep in mind the tips above to take some of the pain away while you wait for your appointment!