Will A Clogged Milk Duct Dry Up?

Will A Clogged Milk Duct Dry Up By Itself?

Usually, a clogged milk duct will clear by itself within 24 to 48 hours. But if it takes longer than this you might be worried that the clogged milk will dry up! 

Luckily you don’t need to worry about your breast milk drying up! Each nipple contains multiple milk ducts, so one being clogged up doesn’t necessarily mean that you will no longer be able to lactate. 

There are still plenty of other concerns to address when dealing with a clogged milk duct! Learn more below. 

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Clogged Milk Duct Symptoms

A clogged milk duct, otherwise referred to as a “milk blister” or “milk bleb” is caused when one of the pores located on the nipple becomes blocked. As a result, the milk behind the pore becomes stuck, eventually thickening and causing painful swelling. 

Symptoms will typically come on slowly, but once they are there, the irritation can be hard to ignore. Some of the symptoms associated with a clogged milk duct are: 

  • Painful swelling in one breast
  • Presence of a tender lump on the breast 
  • A small white dot on the nipple 
  • Decreased milk flow from one breast 
  • Thickened milk 
  • Sensation of heat in the breast 
  • Painful feeding/pumping 

If you are in need of help, or are unsure if this is the cause of any present pain in your breast, we recommend making an appointment with a medical professional. They will be able to get you confirmation of what you are dealing with and possibly even be able to take care of it for you on the spot. 

What Causes A Clogged Milk Duct?

Sometimes the reason is indiscernible. However, generally, it is believed that it can occur more often if your breasts aren’t being fully emptied of milk often enough. Eventually, the milk could thicken and clog, eventually leading to the symptoms described above. 

There are of course various other reasons why this might happen. Some common reasons include:

  • Engorgement – Your body has been producing more milk than your baby needs, and so your breasts are overfilled
  • Stress – Stress affects hormone production, which greatly influences lactation 
  • Nursing more on one side – can cause milk to unevenly build up on the unused breast 
  • Trouble feeding – If your baby’s grip on the breast is awkward, it could cause issues 

Will A Clogged Milk Duct Dry Up Eventually?

You may still be worried that the clogged milk duct might dry up. A clogged duct might slow down milk production or make breastfeeding painful, but more often than not the symptoms of a clogged duct should only last for one to two days. Additionally, it will definitely not cause you to stop producing milk entirely. 

However, if it does not go away shortly, it could develop into other issues such as mastitis. If this occurs, we recommend going to a doctor to have the breast examined, and for the doctor to clear the duct in a sanitary environment. 

Clogged Milk Duct Remedies

We always recommend going to a doctor any time you experience pain or discomfort. But if you are looking for some easy ways to relieve or potentially unclog the milk bleb at home there are a few methods that can potentially work. 

Apply A Hot Washcloth

One of the best ways to help unclog a clogged milk duct is by using a hot washcloth. The best way to do this is by first getting your running water as hot as you can without it becoming uncomfortable. Soak the towel in the water and then gently apply it to the affected area. 

You can try slowly and very gently rubbing the spot with the towel to help with loosening the clog. The heat will help to open your pores, but will also aid in reducing swelling and the discomfort that it causes. 

Hand Expression

Gently massaging your breasts to stimulate lactation can surprisingly help to relieve some of the swelling and discomfort, especially if you are dealing with engorged breasts. Because breastfeeding can be very painful when you have a clogged milk duct this can be a more comfortable way of relieving the pressure caused by the built-up milk. 

Epsom Salt

Taking a warm bath in Epsom salt can be a big help in aiding you to unclog the milk bleb. The warm water helps to open the pores, while the Epsom Salt should exfoliate and clean them out, potentially aiding you in clearing out the pore.

Plus the bath can provide you with an opportunity to de-stress and enjoy some solitude. Every mom needs a little time for themselves, especially when dealing with an irritating issue like this! 

When To Seek Medical Help

Most instances should not require medical help. But if you feel intense breast pain, excessive swelling or a clogged duct lasting more than a few days, it might be worth going to a doctor to get it checked out. 

Depending on your particular condition the doctor could use a sanitary needle to pop the affected area, allowing for the clogged milk to drain, and as a result, clearing the milk bleb. (You shouldn’t try to pop a clogged milk duct yourself, however.)

It is also possible that the doctor will recommend antibiotics or other medications to help you in recovering. 

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, body aches, or a burning sensation in the breast, you may be experiencing mastitis, a bacterial infection that commonly affects breastfeeding women. If that is the case you should seek medical help as soon as possible so they can give you the appropriate care and medication. 


Usually, a clogged milk duct will clear itself up within a few days, but the experience can still be pretty uncomfortable. New moms may worry that their breast milk could dry up while the clog is present but luckily, this is not something you should worry about! Even with a clog, it is likely that you will still be able to lactate, although it may be more painful to do so.

Fortunately, there are home remedies you can use to reduce your discomfort, and maybe even gently unclog the pore yourself. If present symptoms are more severe or persist for longer than 2 days we recommend seeing a doctor to receive professional medical help and any medications that you might need. 

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