Case Studies: Nursing Breast Engorgement/Plugged Duct

Female, age 34. She had delivered twin boys at 36 weeks gestation (full-term for twins) five days earlier. This patient had been seen by me during her fertility journey and during the resulting pregnancy at various times. On this day, she presented with a painful lump in the lateral left breast caused by a plugged milk duct and related breast engorgement. She had had two consultations with a lactation during the previous few days, and she had also searched online for advice about how to solve the problem. The use of compresses did not work and neither did any of the other methods she tried. When she came in for acupuncture, I asked her to assume a lateral recumbent position on the treatment table with the left side up. I then proceeded to work very vigorously on the posterior left shoulder, which contains part of the pathway of an acupuncture meridian that terminates in the breast. Other areas were treated as well, but not the actual breast. By the next day, the patient reported that the breast lump was much softer, and on the following day (two days post-treatment), the lump was gone, the duct was no longer plugged, and the engorgement was somewhat relieved. The problem did not return. 

Kerri Winston, Ph.D., L.Ac., is a licensed acupuncturist with a practice in Atlanta, Georgia's Buckhead area. If you are interested in learning more about how acupuncture can help you or your loved ones, please call 404-949-0550 or send email to [email protected].