Last updated: February 19, 2019

Lecithin for Plugged Ducts

Sara Fletcher
Published 3:36 pm

In this article we will talk about lecithin for plugged ducts and best lecithin supplements,  and include details and information about plugged ducts.

What is lecithin?

lecithin for plugged ducts and best lecithin supplementsTheodore Nicolas Gobley, a French chemist, and pharmacist was the first one to isolate lecithin from egg yolk in 1845. The name is derived from the Greek word “lekithos” which means “yolk of egg”. Lecithin is a fat that is essential for the cells of the human body. This phospholipid can be derived from multiple sources including beef liver, peanuts, soybeans and other vegetable sources.  Lecithin is an emulsifier which keeps oils and fats dispersed and in suspension.


is a natural dietary supplement that is taken to support cognitive function, mood balance, skin health and more. There are no worries when it comes to finding a source for lecithin production since lecithin is easily found in most plant and animal products. This includes cabbage, cauliflower, chickpeas, caviar, green beans, meats, nuts, soybeans, sunflower and many more. It can also be found in chemicals that assist in the transport of nutrients from the bloodstream into the cells.

This mineral is a mixture of choline, fatty acids, glycerol, glycolipids, triglycerides, and phosphoric acid that are normal components of human milk. Lecithin is a major source of choline and it must be present in order for choline to be synthesized. Lecithin supplements are usually derived from sunflower seeds, eggs, or soybeans. Soy is by far the ingredient most commonly used to create lecithin supplements. Animal fats, fish, and corn are also used at times. Lecithin is used for a variety of health conditions.

Lecithin has been known to decrease the viscosity of breast milk by increasing polyunsaturated fat in milk, making it less likely to clog in your milk ducts. It is usually well tolerated and is considered to be “generally recognized as safe” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Other Benefits of Lecithin

  • Improves Cholesterol Levels
  • Protect the Brain
  • May Treat Mental Disorders
  • Can Reduce Cancer Risk
  • Protect the Liver
  • Boost Immunity
  • Improves Stress Response
  • May Treat Colitis
  • Protect Against Bile Salt Injury
  • Improves Absorption of Drugs and Supplements

What are plugged ducts?

A plugged milk duct is a very common problem that a lot of mothers experience during breastfeeding. It usually feels like a tender swelling in the breast which can vary in size and may feel extremely painful. Plugged ducts happen when the passageways where milk flows through becoming clogged and blocked. They occur when milk is not drained fully from breast or when there is so much pressure inside the breast. As a result, milk gets backed up inside the duct and become a lump resulting in the milk becoming thick enough not to flow properly. A plugged duct usually comes in gradually starting with one breast.

Contributing factors:

  • Inadequate treatment of previously plugged ducts: this is a major contributing factor
  • Poor milk drainage and not being able to empty the breast
  • Skipped feedings
  • Nipple problems and breast infection
  • Mother’s overall health and diet
  • Continuous added pressure on a milk duct restricting good milk flow

This condition can result in painful episodes for the mother when her child will be suckling milk. Mothers, as well as babies, are likely to become fussy if the condition persists for longer than expected. The condition may possibly resolve on its own but if the condition persists, then lecithin can be used as a remedy.

Sometimes a milk duct leading from the milk-producing cells to the nipple gets plugged, resulting in a tender lump beneath the areola or nipple area. There may also be a wedge-shaped area of redness extending from the lump back towards the wall of the chest. Unlike mastitis, the pain comes and goes with a plugged duct, and unless the duct is infected, you will not feel generally ill. If left untreated, however, a plugged duct may become infected, resulting in mastitis, infection, or a breast abscess.

Plugged Ducts vs Mastitis

Plugged duct

is an area of milk that is not draining from the lactating breast. Within this area, milk flow is obstructed. This may feel like a little nodule or engorged section of the breast. A plugged duct usually comes on gradually and affects only one breast, leaving a mother with local symptoms that may include:

  • A small or large lump. This may leave a section of engorgement in the region of the plug
  • The area that is not draining well may feel tender or swollen
  • A more subtle area of tenderness or pain
  • More pain associated with a feeding and often nursing on the affected side may be uncomfortable
  • Decreased milk supply and/or pumping output from the affected breast


is an inflammation of the breast that can be caused by obstruction or infection of the breast. It is most common in the first 2-3 weeks, but can occur during any stage in lactation. Mastitis usually comes on quickly and the mother feels more widespread, systemic symptoms than with a plugged duct. Local symptoms are generally the same as with a plugged duct, but symptoms unique to mastitis include:

  • A fever of 101.3 or greater, chills, flu like symptoms such as aching and malaise
  • Mastitis usually only affects one breast, though it can happen in both
  • Heat, swelling and pain generally more intense than with a plugged duct
  • A segment of the breast may appear red or red streaks may be present
  • Broken skin on the nipple with obvious signs of infection
  • Blood/pus is present in milk
  • Red streaking is present
  • Temperature increases suddenly

What to do with plugged ducts – Tips and tricks

Without treatment, a plugged duct may result to more serious condition. Here in pumping doctor, we will give you tips and tricks that may help you get your milk flowing again.

  1. Empty your breasts
  2. Loosen it up a bit
  3. Switch it up
  4. Apply heat
  5. Massage
To unplug the duct and prevent subsequent infection, try these suggestions:
  • Continue to breastfeed on the affected side. You should be able to get the milk out by any means. This is the golden rule of preventing engorgement, plugged ducts, and mastitis. Use a breast pump or hand expression if a baby will not nurse.
  • Breastfeed on the affected side first. Baby’s suckling is strongest at the beginning of the feed, so your babies are more likely to remove the plug when he starts on the affected breast.
  • Switch and vary the baby’s position at the breast, so that all of the milk ducts are drained. In order for the baby to feed efficiently, be sure the baby is latched on well. Before each feeding, massage the affected area by kneading your breast gently from the top of the breast down over the plugged duct toward the nipple.
  • Drain the affected breast better by positioning baby so his chin rests on the area that is sore. Your baby’s lower jaw is often most effective at getting milk out of the breast.
More suggestions
  • Apply moist heat compress for a few minutes before feeding or pumping, or soak the affected breast in warm water or in the shower.
  • Take rests. Lie down with the baby and nap-nurse.
  • If you notice a small, white dot at the end of the milk duct on your nipple, that is the end of a plugged nipple opening. Apply moist heat on this white blister and with a sterile needle gently pop the blister. If this pore stays plugged, it could block milk drainage and lead to a plugged duct and mastitis.
  • Try a pressure massage on the area of your breast that is swollen and painful because of a plugged duct. This may help to loosen the plug. With pressure massage, you do not actually move your hand over the skin as you would with a normal massage. You simply press more and more firmly with the heel of your hand to move the plug in the duct down closer to the nipple.
  • Be extra mindful with the everyday objects that you can possibly place near your breasts. This includes seat belts, sling bags, bras and even your sleeping position. You should be extra careful not to obstruct the flow of milk through the ducts with these things.

Use of lecithin during breastfeeding

Use of lecithin has been recommended by breastfeeding experts as a solution or prevention of plugged ducts. And many moms have proven and found that taking lecithin helps resolve and prevent recurrent plugged ducts. As mentioned in the early part of this post, lecithin may decrease the viscosity of breast milk so that it will be less likely to clog your milk ducts. Some mothers may not get enough lecithin in their diet to naturally support milk flow during breastfeeding. In these women, taking lecithin supplements are of great help and may have benefits.

Treatment of plugged ducts

Other than taking food supplements such as lecithin, you can help in treating your plugged milk ducts with:

  • Application of warm compresses
  • Massage
  • Extra pumping, if needed. Choose appropriate breast pumps.
  • Draining the breast well
  • Asking a lactation consultant for more suggestions

Never hesitate to ask your doctors’ help if the condition of your plugged ducts are not getting any better. Always report any flu or fever-like symptoms that you might experience.

BEST lecithin supplements for breastfeeding

Studies have shown that taking a tablespoon a day of oral granular lecithin or a capsule of 1,200 mg lecithin capsule three to four times a day is helpful in preventing and treating plugged milk ducts. Supplemental lecithin has been recommended to be effective on relieving plugged ducts. Here are the best lecithin supplements for you to choose from:


Sundown Naturals Soya Lecithin Soft Gels

Lecithin is an important natural source of Choline, Inositol, and Linoleic Acid. Sundown Naturals Soya Lecithin Softgels provide you with a natural source of Ultra Soya Lecithin. Free of artificial color, flavor, and sweetener; preservatives; sugar; starch; milk; lactose; gluten; wheat; yeast; fish; and sodium.

NOW Sunflower Lecithin

For mothers who are allergic to soy, sunflower lecithin might work well for you. NOW Sunflower Lecithin Softgels are Non-GMO and Soy-Free.

Pure Naturals Lecithin Quick Release Soft Gels

Pure Naturals lecithin high potency supplement spares you from having to take multiple soft gels per day. Just one lecithin 1200mg soft gel per day is all it takes. Pure Naturals Lecithin dietary supplement is GMO Free

NutraBlast Soy Lecithin Supplement

NutraBlast used nothing but the finest natural non-GMO vitamin ingredients, the process starts with the Lecithin liquid oil, and after that using our state-of-the-art capsule production processes and strict quality source control.

Amazing Formulas Lecithin Dietary Supplement 

Amazing Formulas lecithin high potency supplement spares mothers from having to take multiple softgels per day! Just one lecithin 1200mg softgel per day is all it takes. Our Lecithin softgels are free of yeast, corn, wheat, gluten, milk, sugar and sodium, so they’re the perfect complement to your healthy eating plan. Made in the USA based at GMP-certified facilities to ensure quality.

Fearn Natural Foods Lecithin Granules

This high quality lecithin is less expensive than many and is very affordable. Fearn Natural Foods lecithin granules dissolve easily and mixes well with other food. Many claim that it is a great product at a good price.

Swanson Sunflower Lecithin Powder

The vegetarian Swanson Premium Brand Sunflower Lecithin is non-GMO and soy free to provide you with the best option at the best price.


People with egg and soy allergies need to be especially careful to find out where the lecithin in their supplements comes from to avoid allergic reactions. Despite its many benefits, it can cause some side effects that include diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain or fullness. Little is known about their side effects specifically in pregnant or breast feeding women. Excessive doses of lecithin can cause fat build-up, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting, so don’t take large doses of this supplement without first consulting a physician.



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