A yeast infection of the nipple can cause sharp shooting pain in the breast, and general burning pain in the nipple. If you are having anything like this, you might have Candida (the genus of fungi that causes yeast infections) infecting your nipple and areola skin. However, as research indicates, most women who have nipple pain do not usually have a problem with Candida. For breastfeeding women, improper feeding technique is a big reason why women can get sore, irritated nipples. In this article, we will discuss what symptoms to look for that indicate your nipple pain is related to Candidiasis. Also, the predisposing factors, that put you at greater risk for a yeast infection of the nipple, will be investigated. If you find that you have some predisposing factors for this condition, and you are exhibiting the classic signs of nipple Candidiasis; your problem may be due to yeast.
Also, we will discuss a quick, natural solution to get rid of a nipple yeast infection, as well. There are several other pages linked to in this section; and, if you have time, it might be helpful to read up on these natural remedies. If your baby is positive for oral thrush, it is even more likely that your nipples also have thrush. Take your baby to a pediatrician and get professional help for this problem. Many natural remedies are not suitable to use on such small infants, so avoid doing anything with your baby regarding natural medicine without first consulting a medical professional!
Diagnosing Nipple Yeast Infections
A study, published in BMJ Open [3.3 (2013)], sought to understand what symptoms were commonly associated with Candidiasis of the nipples. The study was done at two hospitals in Australia; and, involved 360 women who were pregnant for the very first time. Researchers followed up on the women at six different times: in the hospital, weekly at home visits until 4 weeks postpartum, and via telephone at 8 weeks after childbirth. The study found, that Candida infection of the nipple, is associated with burning nipple pain and breast pain. Yet, the study also cautions not to jump to conclusions when you have pain in the breast or nipple. The researchers state that women with nipple damage or vasospasm (sudden constriction of a blood vessel, reducing its diameter and flow rate) can experience burning pains; and, has sometimes led to a misdiagnosis of Candida infection. The study explains, that the pain associated with Candida infection, is persistent, ranges from mild to severe, and does not go away by using nipple shields, switching to breast pumping, or through the application of heat. And, pain can be related to a baby’s feeding—the cause being mechanical in nature. If your nipple and breast pain goes away when you apply heat to the area, vasospasm is the probable cause of the pain. The researchers also found that nipple damage could be accompanied by burning nipple pain and radiating breast pain. Therefore, one should be cautious about assuming Candida as the cause, when such damage is present.
A study, published in the Canadian Family Physician [40 (1994): 1407], describes in detail the process they used to diagnose women with a nipple yeast infection. The following three criteria were used to diagnose nipple Candidiasis:
- Intense, burning pain in the nipple or areola that increases in severity after feedings; and, continues for a minimum of 15 minutes after feeding. The start of this pain must be after the first postpartum week. Pain from Candida, unlike pain from nursing trauma, will not improve with better feeding practices.
- Deep, shooting pains that radiate through the breast. These pains can happen while feeding and between feedings.
- Purple, or red, discoloration of the areola or nipple.
If you find yourself with breasts that exhibit some, or all, of the symptoms mentioned by these studies to indicate nipple thrush, you may also want to consider predisposing factors of this condition. If you happen to have some, or all, of the predisposing factors of this nipple infection, and you have the symptoms that accompany it; a diagnosis of Candidiasis of the nipple is all the more likely.
A very comprehensive analyses, of what actually can cause a nipple yeast infection, was given by a study published in the Journal of Human Lactation [7.4 (1991): 177-181]. The study employed a survey to determine possible causative factors of thrush on the nipples. The survey was given to 51 women who had thrush on their nipples, 18 women experiencing other problems during their breastfeeding, and 29 women who were not having any problems with breastfeeding. The study determined, that the primary correlations with nipple Candidiasis, included: antibiotic therapy after birth, previous history of long-term antibiotic therapy, damage of the nipples in early lactation, and a history of vaginal yeast infections. The study also found, not surprisingly, that oral thrush was more prominent in babies whose mothers had nipple thrush.
Concerning the aforementioned Canadian Family Physician [40 (1994): 1407] study; this research also tried to address the issues behind women getting nipple yeast infections. This research involved 105 different women; 27 who were positive for nipple Candidiasis, and 78 who did not have any nipple Candidiasis. The study found there was a correlation between nipple thrush and three factors: vaginal yeast infections, nipple trauma, and previous antibiotic drug therapy. Therefore, this study also agrees with the Journal of Human Lactation [7.4 (1991): 177-181] study; in that, these same three factors, seem to elevate risk for nipple thrush.
The following chart, was taken from the Canadian Family Physician [40 (1994): 1407] study, and shows the number of women who reported having certain factors that would predispose them to nipple thrush. The case group in the chart are those women who met diagnostic criteria for nipple thrush; and, the control group women did not have nipple thrush. The letter ‘N’ signifies the number of women.
In this study, all of the babies of the 78 women in the control group (who did not have nipple yeast infections) also did not have any diaper rash or oral thrush. Yet, 48% of the babies of the women with nipple Candidiasis, were diagnosed with diaper rash; and, 38% of these babies had visible oral thrush. Thus, it is important to treat your baby for Candidiasis—if you have a nipple yeast infection. Also, properly cleaning the nipples, pacifiers, and anything else routinely in the baby’s mouth is important to limit the spread of Candida. By prohibiting yeast from colonizing the baby's mouth, or the mother’s nipples, incidence of infections in these areas, can be decreased.
Natural Nipple Yeast Infection Remedies
Treating an outbreak of Candida on the nipple, is just like treating a yeast infection of the skin. What you will want to do, is to get some coconut oil and mix in some essential cinnamon oil, essential oregano oil, and essential lemongrass oil. Mix the oils together; and, you will then need to apply it to the nipple and area of the breast that Candida is currently attacking. You may want to get some absorbent material and soak the oil mixture in it; and, then use some tape to keep it in contact with your nipple. Change the soaked pad about 2 times a day to keep up the attack on Candida. If you feel discomfort while performing this procedure, discontinue and wash the oils off. You can try a weaker concentration of essential oils at a later time.
Coconut oil, and these three essential oils, all are antifungal; and, will start killing the yeast attacking your nipple. Mixing up three different essential oil is likely going to be more powerful than using just one essential oil; as there can be a healing synergy created when multiple phytochemicals attack a pathogen.
You should make sure to thoroughly clean off your nipple and breast before you feed your baby. Coconut oil, by itself, shouldn’t cause any problems; yet, essential oils are not safe to give to a baby. So, clean off your nipples with soap and water to remove any traces of essential oils before you feed your child. Also, try and avoid using tea tree oil to treat a nipple yeast infection, if you are breastfeeding. Small amounts of tea tree oil can be lethal to adults when ingested.
Other Remedies for Nipple Pain
One fairly comprehensive examination of treating nipple pain, in mothers who were breastfeeding, was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health [12.10 (2015): 12247-12263]. The study looked at 264 breastfeeding mothers who were experiencing nipple pain. The study found that the instigation of nipple pain was due to multiple factors in 89% of these cases. The three most frequent factors causing nipple pain were incorrect positioning (238 women), ankyloglossia (baby being tongue tied—177 women), and the baby having an unusual palat (117 women). Candida infection was suspected in just 7 women; and, only 6 women used an antifungal. Of the women who took an antifungal, only half were healed or had improved.
The study reported, that incorrect positioning of the child during breastfeeding, is the primary cause of nipple pain. If you are unsure you are breastfeeding correctly, and you are having nipple pain, you may want to get some instruction. If your baby has a high arched or bubble palate (palatal anomaly), or is somewhat tongue tied, using a breast pump and bottle, instead of direct suckling, could resolve your nipple pain. The following chart was taken from the study, and shows the various suspected causes of nipple pain, the treatment given to the women, and the percentage of these women whose condition was improved by the treatment.
Professional Guidance & Help with Breastfeeding
If you have been having some difficulties with breastfeeding, and this is leading to pain or skin agitation, you may want to get some expert advice on how to do this. Unfortunately, many first time moms can struggle with this important, bonding experience. Fortunately, there are women like Kate Hale who can give a lot of help, and support, to moms desiring to improve their breastfeeding. Kate Hale is a registered nurse, registered midwife, and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She has spent over 25 years in postnatal care in her private practice and in maternity hospitals throughout Australia. Kate can guide you in helping your baby latch and feed; so you can reduce the amount of mechanical stress exerted on your nipples. Kate offers a series of informative videos that guide moms in breastfeeding and several other topics—such as avoiding mastitis. You will be able to steer clear of breast thrush more easily using proper nursing techniques. If you’d like to learn a bit more about Kate and her program, you can find out more at Kate Hale’s website.
12 Hour, Natural, Yeast Infection Treatment
You may have heard about Sarah Summer and her book if you’ve been trying to find a natural solution for a yeast infection. Sarah was like many unfortunate women who found themselves frequently getting vaginal yeast infections. It seemed like every time she got her vaginal problem gone, it would come back a short time later. This led her to keep buying products to treat her infection, but she never addressed the underlying issues with her health that set her up to get Candida.
After being told by her doctor that her most recent yeast infection was so severe it couldn’t be treated, Sarah decided to start looking for answers herself. Together with her husband Robert, Sarah began to diligently study medical information related to Candidiasis. She knew she had to fix the underlying health issues that predisposed her to infection. Sarah was all too used to using a treatment just to fix symptoms, she knew she had to address why she kept getting infected; not just deal with the surface level symptoms. With this premise in mind, and a determination to investigate natural medicine, Sarah began to uncover information she would use in her treatment.
After a lot of trial and error, Sarah finally tried a new method that totally cured her vaginal yeast infection. And, this new system she developed kept her from getting a repeat yeast infection. Sarah was finally free of her Candida ordeal after such a long time of suffering! Sarah quickly shared her treatment with others and found that they would report back that their yeast problems were resolved in just 12 hours. And, those who used her system also got victory over recurrent Candidiasis.
Sarah Summer has since published a book detailing exactly how to repeat her success. This book, the fruit of her own experience and research, is currently published by a subsidiary of Keynetics Incorporated. Sarah’s book is available for electronic download as a PDF. Sarah also wants to assure anyone thinking about using her book, that it is quite legitimate. So, Sarah provides a generous 8 week, 100% money back guarantee on her book. You can even keep the book if you get a refund—no returns are ever necessary! Sarah knows all too well what it feels like to expect a solution for Candida and then be disappointed!
If you would like to learn more about Sarah’s personal story, see the other books she offers as gifts with her book, or read other people’s testimonies of how well her treatment worked, you can get more information at Sarah Summer’s website. With this system, you’ll never have to pay for another prescription or over the counter yeast infection treatment again!
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- http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002351 — Amir, Lisa H., et al. "Does Candida and/or Staphylococcus play a role in nipple and breast pain in lactation? A cohort study in Melbourne, Australia." BMJ open 3.3 (2013): e002351. Full Text Available Here
- http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/089033449100700414 — Amir, Lisa Helen. "Candida and the lactating breast: predisposing factors." Journal of Human Lactation 7.4 (1991): 177-181. PubMed
- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2380126/ — Tanguay, Karen E., Mary R. McBean, and Evelyn Jain. "Nipple candidiasis among breastfeeding mothers. Case-control study of predisposing factors." Canadian family physician 40 (1994): 1407. PubMed PDF
- http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph121012247 — Kent, Jacqueline C., et al. "Nipple Pain in Breastfeeding Mothers: Incidence, Causes and Treatments." International journal of environmental research and public health 12.10 (2015): 12247-12263. Full Text Available Here, PubMed Full Text