Prevalence, perceptions and practices surrounding neonatal breast enlargement - a South East Nigerian experience
Background: Newborns are often brought to the emergency room or outpatient department with a history of swelling of one or both breasts. Further inquiry usually reveals attempts at intervention, in form of massage, application of herbs and even scarification. These lead to increased morbidity such as abscess formation and cellulitis.
Objective: To document prevalence of, and perceptions about neonatal breast enlargement in newborns and interventions if any in south east Nigeria.
Results: Neonatal breast enlargement was present in 50.8% of the target population with females 53.1%
and males 46.9%. There were attempts at treatment in 5% of patients and the common interventions were: use of hot water to massage the breasts as well as use of rubs/balms. Family members had significant influence on the decision to intervene. (Mothers/in-laws 58.3%, neighbours 39.6%). Most mothers did not have any idea of the possible cause and some were alarmed on noticing the swelling.
Conclusion: Since neonatal breast enlargement is prevalent in our environment and the tendency to intervene is high, health education will prevent this and thus the complications of intervention like abscess formation and sequelae in adult life. Also reassurance of mothers will help them to relax and take care of their babies optimally.
Key words: Breast enlargement, Neonate, Massage, Blood-letting
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