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Open Access Research article

Case–control study of risk factors for infectious mastitis in Spanish breastfeeding women

Pilar Mediano, Leónides Fernández, Juan M Rodríguez and María Marín*

Author Affiliations

Departamento de Nutrición, Bromatología y Tecnología de los Alimentos, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2014, 14:195  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-195

Published: 6 June 2014

Abstract

Background

The purpose of this study was to identify potential predisposing factors associated with human infectious mastitis.

Methods

We conducted a case–control study among breastfeeding women, with 368 cases (women with mastitis) and 148 controls. Data were collected by a questionnaire designed to obtain retrospective information about several factors related to medical history of mother and infant, different aspects of pregnancy, delivery and postpartum, and breastfeeding practices that could be involved in mastitis. Bivariate analyses and multivariate logistic regression model were used to examine the relationship between mastitis and these factors.

Results

The variables significantly- and independently-associated with mastitis were cracked nipples (P < 0.0001), oral antibiotics during breastfeeding (P < 0.0001), breast pumps (P < 0.0001), topical antifungal medication during breastfeeding (P = 0.0009), mastitis in previous lactations (P = 0.0014), breast milk coming in later than 24 h postpartum (P = 0.0016), history of mastitis in the family (P = 0.0028), mother-infant separation longer than 24 h (P = 0.0027), cream on nipples (P = 0.0228) and throat infection (P = 0.0224).

Conclusions

Valuable factors related to an increased risk of infectious mastitis have been identified. This knowledge will allow practitioners to provide appropriate management advice about modifiable risk factors, such as the use of pumps or inappropriate medication. They also could identify before delivery those women at an increased risk of developing mastitis, such as those having a familial history of mastitis, and thus develop strategies to prevent this condition.

Keywords:
Breastfeeding; Infectious mastitis; Risk factors; Public health; Epidemiology