This post is part of our complete guide on treating engorgement and clogged ducts. Refer back to the guide if you want a complete list of topics covered, from prevention to diagnosis and treatment. If you're specifically interested in learning to identify whether you have engorgement or clogged ducts, please read on!
How do you know if you have engorgement or clogged ducts?
Breasts engorgement and clogged ducts (also sometimes called “plugged ducts”) are slightly different issues.
You know you have engorged breasts when your whole breasts are swollen, hard and relatively painful to the touch. Sometimes only one breast is engorged, sometimes both. On top of being swollen, the skin of your breasts often appears red and shiny and your nipple may also appear flattened and tight. Engorgement often occurs at the very start of your breastfeeding when your body is still getting used to the concept, although it can also occur later on if you for instance make big changes to your breastfeeding rhythm.
You know you have a clogged duct if you notice a hard lump or a small engorged area of engorgement on one of your breasts. The area in question typically feels hard, painful and hot to the touch and often looks reddish. You can have a clogged duct at any point of your breastfeeding although it is more common in the first few weeks or when you change breastfeeding habits.
So to summarize, how do you know if you have engorgement or clogged ducts?
- You know you have engorgement if one or both of your breasts are swollen, hard and relatively painful to the touch.
- You know you have clogged ducts if you notice a hard lump or a small area of engorgement in one of your breasts that feels hard, painful and hot to the touch.