Breastfeeding – The Case of the Plugged Duct

I feel compelled to write about Silica, the remedy that saved the day this week when I was suffering from an extremely stubborn plugged duct.

My baby nurses pretty regularly throughout the day, so when I started to feel the soreness and bruising on the right side of my breast, I did all the practical things I regularly advise others to do – hot compresses, massage the breast into water, get the baby to nurse a lot, (I didn’t have potatoes or cabbage in the house, but those are good poultices that I’ve used in the past-), and drink lots of water. I have resolved plugged ducts in myself this way whenever I’ve had them in the past and never needed a homeopathic remedy to go further.

But this time was shaping up to be different. From Saturday morning to Sunday night, I did all those things repeatedly, but nothing was happening. If the duct isn’t clearing, you’re basically stimulating milk production with all the above tactics and the breast is filling more and more with milk. This was just adding to my anguish over the whole thing. Not to mention the pain – it felt as though my breast was going to burst. Suffice it to say that scary images were going through my head.

Most people reading this blog know I’m a homeopath, and they would assume I know how to take care of and prescribe for myself. But I had been caring for my children all weekend and not drinking enough water, had gotten dehydrated, etc. etc. And its difficult to be an ‘observer’ of my own case or symptoms, because when you’re in a state, you’re IN it. But, grabbing a moment to quickly evaluate, I tried anyway. I started with a dose of Phytolacca, a common mastitis remedy for lumpy breasts. No change. Then I tried Arnica, because my breast felt so bruised, as if it was injured. Still no dice.  So I called my friend and colleague, Rebekah Azzarelli to help me out.

She took my case – right side of the right breast, very hard lumps, feels like a bruise. As the baby was nursing, I observed that it felt a little bit like glass – like a sharp burning, but without the heat – dragging throughout my breast. But this had made sense to me since it is crystallized milk that causes a plug. Anyway, when looking for a homeopathic remedy, we’re always looking for what is UNUSUAL about a person’s experience of their malady – not what makes sense. Anyway, all this to say that crystallized milk traveling through the breast seemed like it WOULD feel like shards of glass in there. I had considered Silica when I first recognized that sensation, but didn’t feel confident that I could trust my own judgement due to the accompanying anxiety I was experiencing while watching my breast grow in size by the hour.

Rebekah asked me a few more questions and confirmed Silica, or Silicea, 30c in water, repeated frequently. One of the keynotes of this remedy is that it ejects foreign bodies from the body. So, splinters, perhaps even, could it be, crystals? Well, YES.

It was about 8pm on Sunday when I sipped my first sip, and started my pumping and breast massage ritual again. 3 more sips down the road and I was watching a little crystal going in and out of the nipple, trying to come out. I took one last sip and it broke loose, and all the backed up milk that had been making me miserable was able to come out, and the pain went away instantly.

I was free! And now I had a lovely example of watching a remedy stimulate my system just enough to work alongside all the regular things I was doing. I just needed that extra push this time from the homeopathic remedy who’s specialty is kicking out the bad guys and slamming the door on their butts as they leave!