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What Are Milk Ducts?

Milk ducts, also called lactiferous ducts, galactophores, galactophorous, mammary ducts, and mamillary ducts, are circumscribed channels that carry milk from the lobules of the mammary gland to the nipple where milk is expressed or sucked by the young for nourishment.

The mammary gland has mammary lobes in the middle of the breast which connects to a network of milk ducts. Milk production is triggered by childbirth. When the mammary glands produce milk, this is stored in the lactiferous sinuses and exits through the nipple via the milk ducts.

It is important to express milk alternately from both breast on a regular basis to keep it flowing. Obstruction can form along the milk path clogging the milk ducts and the nipple. Sometimes the cause may be improper or irregular feeding, ill-fitting brassiere, illness or improper use of the breast pump. These obstructions can lead to mastitis. Mastitis is the infection of the breast characterized by the presence of hard areas in the breast, swelling, soreness, sensitivity to touch, tender lumps and can be very uncomfortable and painful. This may be accompanied by fever, chills, and fatigue. This condition can also be caused by bacteria which can enter the breast through the nipple pore. That is why it is important to keep the nipples clean at all times.

The usual treatment is through antibiotics which should be promptly done because the infection can affect the quality of breast milk and ingested by the baby. The consequence of which would not be very good for the infant.

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