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Symptoms and treatment of nipple thrush in nursing mothers
Symptoms and treatment of nipple thrush in nursing mothers

Thrush is one of the most common female diseases. The most famous is vaginal thrush, but there are other varieties of this ailment. Yeast infection often occurs in nursing mothers, but, unfortunately, pediatricians, gynecologists and surgeons do not always correctly diagnose. The appearance of thrush is provoked by candida (yeast) - these are fungi that multiply on the skin or any mucous membranes.

Thrush symptoms

  • A fungal infection that appears on the nipples is most often diagnosed by the discomfort of a nursing mother and visually. Scraping is also done directly from the surface of the nipple (this analysis is carried out exclusively in vendispensaries), but such a test often gives a false negative result.
  • The nipples may look swollen.
  • Moisture, scaling, flaking, or tiny blistering may be present.
  • The color of the nipples is usually bright pink.
  • Often, moms feel itchy.
  • The appearance of severe burning pain that is felt on the surface of the nipples or deep inside the chest.
  • Pain often persists when breastfeeding or between meals. The pain is especially severe immediately after feeding the baby.
  • In some cases, pain moves from the nipple to the arm, chest, or back.
  • Nipples are sensitive and can be damaged by clothing that touches them. Banal showering can be painful and unpleasant, and it is also painful to touch your chest.
  • Patients describe the pain of thrush as "razor blades", "hot needles", "liquid fire", etc.
  • Sometimes it happens that the nipples look completely normal, but with a terrible sensation of pain (the same applies to the baby's mouth - it can be infected, but without the presence of white "plaques", which can be seen in the corresponding photos).
  • Mom may have a fungal infection of the nails, in the corners of the mouth, or vaginal thrush may worsen.

Causes of thrush in mom and baby

Before starting treatment for thrush on the nipples, you need to determine the causes of this ailment.

  1. Cause a yeast infection, maybe your mom's taking antibiotics. The use of these medicines increases the activity of the yeast, and it grows rapidly, killing the positive bacteria that usually interfere with the proliferation of fungi.
  2. Often, thrush appears in mothers with a cesarean section.
  3. If the mother has a vaginal yeast infection during pregnancy, then there is a risk of this disease appearing on the skin of the nipple.
  4. Pregnant women often suffer from thrush, as estrogen levels rise, which raises sugar levels, which is good for yeast because it feeds on it.
  5. Another fungal infection often appears if the mother took hormonal contraceptives or steroids, she has anemia or chronic diabetes.

Effects of thrush on breastfeeding

  • With this disease, the mother's milk production may decrease. This is because the pain sensations reduce the mother's milk flow.
  • Also, a fungal infection can cause mastitis and blockage of the milk ducts.
  • Since yeast grows and multiplies in a warm and humid environment, infection can easily spread from mother to child and back again. Therefore, it is necessary to examine both, as well as to treat. This is very important when one of them has no obvious signs. If only one of the pair is treated, then there is a risk of re-infection in a week or two.

How to treat nipple thrush

Nowadays, there are 12 steps that mommy should adhere to in the fight against the disease. Thrush of the nipples, which manifests itself during breastfeeding, is treated only after an accurate diagnosis has been made. The first step is to make sure it's not mastitis, psoriasis, ringworm, herpes, or eczema. When the doctor accurately diagnoses, you can proceed to treatment.

Thrush appearing on the nipples, 12 steps to fight:

  1. Mom should wash her hands before and after each feed. The same applies to going to the toilet, before and after changing a baby's diaper. It is best to dry your hands with disposable paper towels;
  2. It is worth feeding your baby more often, but not as long as before. Feeding should be started on the side of the breast where it is least inflamed. The nipple should be cooled with an ice hot water bottle or a cold towel before feeding. A piece of ice made from boiled frozen water will also work. If you experience severe pain while feeding, you can express your milk. In this case, the baby should be fed from a syringe (only without a needle) or from a cup;
  3. It is recommended to take green tea several times a day (usually up to 4). This will help cleanse the mommy's body of excess yeast;
  4. The beginning of nipple treatment can be a solution of soda (a teaspoon is enough for a glass of water). The nipples should be washed after each feed and more often. It is recommended to air dry the breasts after the procedure. Only such treatment is not always effective;
  5. Mom needs to exclude from her diet foods that contain a lot of sugar or yeast (bread, sodas, beer, wine, desserts, etc.). Acidophilis, lactobacilli and bifidobacteria can be taken as supplements to food - they will contribute to the multiplication of "friendly bacteria" that will help mommy to recover faster. Food grade yogurt will not be enough to stop the infection;
  6. Moms are advised to use antifungal creams - Candid cream, nystatin ointment or Monistat (containing miconazole). The pharmacy sells these drugs without a prescription. The doctor may also prescribe a special anti-fungal cream similar to Nizoral (containing ketoconazole). Despite the fact that Nystatin has been considered the most effective antifungal drug for many years, it is not enough to treat persistent infections;
  7. For severe pain, you can use a little cream after each feed (up to eight times a day) per day. Then the daily dose is reduced to four lubricants. Since the cream is quickly absorbed, there is no need to rinse it off before each feeding. If you need to feed the baby, and the cream remains on the nipple, you can simply gently wipe it off with a warm, damp towel;
  8. With a sufficiently strong inflammation, you can use a synthomycin emulsion (it must be washed off before feeding!), As an addition to an antifungal cream;
  9. Wearing pads while breastfeeding is undesirable, but if you can't do without them, then you need to change them every time you feed. It is advisable to keep the nipples dry for as long as possible;
  10. You should give up synthetic tights and underwear. It is recommended to replace these things with cotton products. If possible, the panties should not be worn at all. Until complete recovery, you need to stop wearing tight clothes, a swimsuit and tights;
  11. If a nursing mother has vaginal thrush, then you definitely need to consult a doctor for advice. He can advise local treatment in combination with oral agents (fluconazole-flucostat, Diflucan, etc.);
  12. For those who express milk, you need to immediately give the baby the entire dose (this is during the period when the baby and mother are being treated for infection). Do not leave milk for later and freeze, because cooling does not kill the yeast.

Some improvement should be felt after about two days from the start of the use of antifungal agents. In some situations, before improvement in patients, there is a temporary deterioration.

Treatment still needs to be continued for 48 hours. If during this time there is no improvement, then it is recommended to replace the antifungal ointments with others. It all lies in the fact that some antifungal drugs are effective exclusively against certain types of yeast.

Without doing a yeast test (which, by the way, is not so easy to do), finding the right remedy is simply trying new drugs until you feel the desired result. A yeast infection that appears on the mother's nipples, in some cases, cannot be treated with local treatment.

Painful sensations can begin on the surface of the nipples in the form of itching or burning while breastfeeding. Then this condition progresses to an internal deep sharp pain inside the chest.

During the day, bouts of acute, severe pain continue, and at night they intensify. Also, a painful sensation can be given to the back or armpit.

If the applied treatment does not work, it is necessary to urgently consult a doctor again for systemic treatment. In this case, the doctor must choose an analgesic for the patient for the period of pain.

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