Women who choose not to nurse their infants often experience breast pain and swelling until milk production stops. Although this condition isn’t dangerous, the discomfort can be quite severe. Similar symptoms occur when a woman weans her baby. Homeopathic remedies have a long history of use for easing this transition, and there is preliminary support for the belief that they are effective.
Note: breast engorgement should not be confused with mastitis, an infection or inflammation of the nursing breast.
A double-blind trial of 71 women tested a homeopathic remedy consisting of Apis Mellifica and Bryonia, both at 9c potency.1 The results showed that, compared to placebo, use of homeopathic treatment significantly reduced pain and tension sensations in the breast. Spontaneous milk flow also decreased.
Traditional Homeopathic Treatments for Breast Engorgement
In classical homeopathy, there are many possible homeopathic treatments for breast engorgement, to be chosen based on various specific details of the person seeking treatment.
The symptom picture for homeopathic Bryonia includes breast pain and fullness without redness, and pain in the left breast, especially when raising the arm. Pain is said to be increased by motion and touch or deep breathing, and reduced when pressure is applied.
Homeopathic Belladonna might be recommended when breasts are inflamed, warm, reddened, and hard to the touch, possibly accompanied by fever. (Note that these symptoms could indicate infection.)
Other Natural Options
For herbs, supplements, and other alternative treatments that may be useful for this condition, see the breast-feeding support article.
For a thorough explanation of homeopathy, including dilution of therapies, see the Homeopathy Overview.
1. Berrebi A, Parant O, Ferval F, et al. Treatment of pain due to unwanted lactation with a homeopathic preparation given in the immediate post-partum period [in French; English abstract]. J Gynecol Obstet Biol Reprod (Paris). 2001;30:353–357.
Last reviewed July 2012 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
Last Updated: 7/25/2012