Breastfeeding Challenges: Thrush
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 types of this disease. Yeast infection often occurs in nursing mothers, but, unfortunately, pediatricians, gynecologists and surgeons do not always make the correct diagnosis. The appearance of thrush is provoked by candida (yeast) - these are fungi that multiply on the skin or any mucous membranes.
Symptoms of thrush
A fungal infection that appears on the nipples is most often diagnosed by the discomfort of a nursing mother and visually. They also do a scraping 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.
Nipples may appear swollen. Moisture, scaly, flaking, or tiny blistering may be present. The color of the nipples is usually bright pink. Moms often feel itchy.
The appearance of severe burning pain that is felt on the surface of the nipples or deep inside the chest. Often the pain continues 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 also hurts to touch your chest. Patients describe thrush pain 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 is possible see in corresponding photos).
Mom may have a fungal infection of the nails, in the corners of the mouth, or vaginal thrush worsens.
Causes of thrush in mom and baby
Before starting treatment for thrush on the nipples, you need to determine the causes of this ailment.
Cause a yeast infection, maybe taking antibiotics by mom. The use of these drugs increases the activity of the yeast, and it grows rapidly, killing the positive bacteria that tend to interfere with the activity.the growth of fungi. Often, thrush appears in mothers with a cesarean section.
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.
Pregnant women often suffer from thrush, as estrogen levels rise, which raises sugar levels, which is good for yeast because it feeds on it.
Another fungal infection often appears if the mother took hormonal contraceptives or steroids, she has anemia or diabetes in chronic form.
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, the infection can easily pass from mother to child and vice versa. 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, 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 illness. Thrush of the nipples, manifested 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 makes a precise diagnosis, you can proceed to treatment.
Thrush appearing on the nipples, 12 steps to fight:
- Mom must 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;
- It is worth feeding your baby more often, but not for as long as before. Feeding should begin on the side of the breast where it is least inflamed. The nipple should be cooled with an ice-heating pad or a cold towel before feeding. A piece of ice made from boiled frozen water will also work. If you experience severe pain during feeding, you can express milk. In this case, the baby should be fed from a syringe (only without a needle) or from a cup;
- It is recommended to take green tea several times a day (usually up to 4). This will help cleanse your mom's body of excess yeast;
- 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;
- Mom needs to eliminate foods that contain a lot of sugar or yeast (bread, soda, beer, wine, desserts, etc.) from her diet. Asfood additives, you can take acidophilis, lactobacilli and bifidobacteria - they will facilitate the reproduction of friendly bacteria , which will help mommy recover faster . Food grade yogurt won't be enough to stop the infection;
- 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;
- 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 your baby, and the cream remains on the nipple, you can simply gently wipe it off with a warm, damp towel;
- If inflammation is severe enough, you can use synthomycin emulsion (it must be washed off before feeding!), as an addition to the antifungal cream;
- 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;
- Synthetic tights and underwear should be abandoned. It is recommended to replace these things with cotton products. If possible, panties should not be worn at all. Until complete recovery, you need to stop wearing tight clothes, a swimsuit and tights;
- If a nursing mother has vaginal thrush, then you should definitely consult a doctor for advice. He can advise local treatment in combination with oral agents (fluconazole - flucostat, Diflucan, etc.);
- 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 the milk for later and freeze, as refrigeration 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, patients experience temporary worsening before improvement.
Treatment still needs to be continued for 48 hours. If during this time improvedit does not come, 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. This condition then progresses to an internal deep sharp pain inside the chest.
During the day, attacks 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 should choose a pain reliever for the period of pain.