Raha Afshariani , IBCLC , Ontario
In Oman Medical Journal (2014)1, Raha Afshariani and Pooya Farhadi (2014) explained the effect of Curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) on mastitis in lactating mothers.
The pain caused by inflammation of the breast tissue in case of mastitis is quite frustrating for the individual experiencing it. Thus, an important part of the treatment would be to reduce the inflammation, because if not controlled, it can influence a woman’s decision to cease breastfeeding. The main reasons cited for discontinuance of breastfeeding is because of lactation problems; in which mastitis is a significant and common complication. It can contribute to early weaning in the first three weeks. As breastfeeding is considered the most important route of feeding newborn especially in developing countries, early detection and treatment of lactation mastitis is very important. It is implicated that curcumin could potentially serve as an anti-inflammatory agent for controlling skin and soft tissue inflammations even at low doses with topical use. Although a number of studies have investigated the role of curcumin as an anti-inflammatory agent in different diseases, to our knowledge only a few number of studies have evaluated the potential of curcumin in controlling inflammation through skin topical preparations.
In this article, Afshariani and Farhadi (2014) designed a randomized double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial for assessing anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin in preparations for topical use comparing to placebo in patients with lactation mastitis. After considering the study criteria, the patients were randomly assigned to receive curcumin topical cream, one pump every 8 hours for 3 days (n=32) or topical moisturizer as placebo (n=31). Using an index for severity of breast inflammation, all of the patients had moderate breast inflammation before entering the study. The outcome of treatment was evaluated using the same index at 24, 48 and 72 hours of starting the treatment. After 72-hours of therapy, patients in curcumin groups had significantly lower rate of moderate (p=0.019) and mild (p=0.002) mastitis. Also, patients in curcumin group had significantly lower scores for tension (p<0.001), erythema (p<0.001) and pain (p<0.001), after 72-hours of treatment.
This article demonstrates that topical preparation of curcumin provides favorable effects on pain, erythema and tension of the breast on those suffering from lactation mastitis within 72 hours of administration without side effects. Thus, topical preparation of curcumin could be safely administered to those suffering from lactation mastitis after excluding infectious etiologies.
1. Retrieved from Oman Medical Journal (2014) Vol. 29, No. 5:330-334 DOI 10.5001/omj.2014.89