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Moms who are breastfeeding are more prone to breast infections due to fungal or bacterial pathogens. Sometimes, if you are just feeling pain in your nipples, breastfeeding thrush is not the cause at all. Rather, a wrong breastfeeding technique or anomaly with your baby’s mouth is causing your nipples to be stressed unnecessarily. The result will be nipple pain. Nipple trauma can make you more vulnerable to developing thrush on the nipples. Additionally, if you have a history of vaginal yeast infections, or have taken antibiotics in the past, you are also more likely to develop thrush on the breast. If you are wondering if you indeed have thrush on the breast or nipple, we will discuss some of the symptoms that can clue you into a correct diagnosis of your breast problem. Also, we will go over some of the other leading causes of painful nursing. If you’d like to specifically learn more about nipple thrush, you can check out this comprehensive article: Yeast Infection on the Nipple.
Symptoms of Breastfeeding Thrush
Correctly diagnosing a yeast infection on the breast can be difficult. A study published in the Journal of Human Lactation [20.3 (2004): 288-295], found some interesting correlations between symptoms and the presence of thrush on the breast. The study defined shiny or flaky skin of the nipple or areola as signs of breast thrush; and, burning pain of the nipple or areola, sore but not burning nipples, stabbing breast pain, and non stabbing breast pain as symptoms of this condition.
The study cultured the nipple and areola skin of 100 healthy breastfeeding mothers to detect Candida in these areas. The study found the predictive ability of the physical indicators of thrush was highest when three or more signs or symptoms occurred together. And, when flaky or shiny skin occurred on the nipple or areola and was accompanied by breast pain, this also strongly indicated breast thrush. Similarly, you can also see if you have three or more signs or symptoms of Candida on the breast, it indicates you have this condition.
The classic symptoms of breastfeeding thrush are outlined in a study published in the British Journal of Midwifery [23.2 (2015): 98-100]. The study cautions that there are several other causes for nipple pain; so this symptom alone can be misleading. The study states that thrush induced nipple pain can be diagnosed when the nipple or areola are sensitive to touch; which, evokes a high level of pain. The pain will be persistent and usually severe. Nipple shield use, increased milk removal, or applying heat to the area will have no effect on pain due to Candida. Nipples and areolas of breasts infected with thrush can appear pink. Other symptoms of thrush on the breast include suddenly experiencing deep radiating breast or nipple pain, and itching of the breast tissue.
A study published in Mycoses [51.s4 (2008): 2-15] also defines a few characteristics that can indicate thrush on the skin of the breast. The following symptoms were outlined as indicators of Candida colonizing the skin:
- The skin becomes red and inflamed looking
- The skin becomes very itchy
- The skin becomes thinner and develops small pus filled bumps
- The pus filled bumps on the skin break open and leave a discolored base behind
Prevalence of Breastfeeding Thrush
A study of 117 women who were currently breastfeeding was published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing [40.6 (2011): 753-764]. The study examined these women during the first year after the child was born. A little over half of the women maintained regular breast feeding--56% to be exact. Of the 56% who regularly breastfed, 23% of them developed some form of breast infection. The study found that, of the women who had a breast infection, the following reasons were the cause:
- General breast infection (67.5%)
- Candida infection (32.4%)
- Excess milk in the breasts (18.0%)
- Nipple tenderness (8.1%)
- Blocked or obstructed milk ducts (4.5%)
According to this same study, the warm, moist nipples of the breastfeeding mother are good environments for Candida to develop in. The study also relates what many other researchers have stated: antibiotic use predisposes women to breast yeast infections. The study also cautions mothers that the yeast living on their nipples or in the child’s mouth can spread via contact. Other members of the family that come into contact with these areas, or other breastfeeding materials, can pick up Candida. It is therefore sensible to thoroughly clean off anything that goes into the baby's mouth or comes in contact with the mother’s nipples if these areas have thrush.
Another study also investigated the prevalence of thrush in breastfeeding women. The study was published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing [34.1 (2005): 37-45] and included 100 lactating women and their babies, and 40 non-lactating, non-pregnant women who served as controls. At two weeks after birth, samples of the women’s skin were taken, and oral samples from the infants were collected as well. The group of 100 women who were lactating had 23% test positive for Candida and 20% had an active thrush infection of the breast. Concerning the babies, 20% of them were positive for oral thrush. The following image shows these statistics broken down in a simple graph:
Naturally Cure Breastfeeding Thrush
One safe, natural method you can use to eliminate breastfeeding thrush is to use a few natural antifungal food items directly on the infected area of the breast. Just go purchase some coconut oil, garlic bulbs, and cinnamon powder. All three of these foods are proven to stop Candida growth; and, small amounts of each can be powerful treatments. To start, simply take the garlic and remove the outer papery hull until you have just the cloves. Throw the cloves into your blender and mix them up thoroughly; let it sit for about 5 minutes before you take it out of the blender. Mixing garlic like this is important as garlic contains alliin and alliinase; and, when you crush garlic these two chemicals combine and form allicin--which is a powerful medicinal chemical.
Next, pour coconut oil into a small bowl and dump in a generous amount of cinnamon powder in. Take the mixed garlic from the blender and put it in the bowl as well. Mix these three ingredients thoroughly. You may not need to make too much each time. Once this mixture is made, simply apply it directly to the affected part of the breast. You may want to take a piece of absorbent material and soak it in this mixture; then, tape it onto your breast so the natural mixture you made stays in contact with the Candida colonized area of the skin. You may have to keep this treatment up for a few days before you start getting results. You can also substitute honey in place of the coconut oil if you want something that sticks a little bit better. Honey may work best for treating breast thrush at night while you sleep! All of these natural items do go to work and stop Candida development; and, Candida Hub has information about all these natural items. If you have some time you may want to read up on them:
- Garlic for Yeast Infection
- Honey for Yeast Infection
- Cinnamon Powder for Yeast Infection
- Coconut Oil for Yeast Infection
Just remember to wash off the breast and nipple before you start nursing your baby again. The strong concentration of garlic in this remedy isn’t going to taste good to your baby, and could cause them discomfort. Before you use any natural remedy on your baby, make sure you consult a certified pediatric physician! This remedy is just for the moms; not the babies!
Other Causes of Nipple Pain During Breastfeeding
If you are having nipple pain, do not jump to the conclusion that the pain is a result of Candida. In many cases, simply improving your breastfeeding technique will be enough to end nipple pain. An informative study published in the International Journal of Dermatology [51.10 (2012): 1149-1161] discussed some common causes women experience nipple pain. And, nipple yeast infection is not one of the major causes! Here are the problems that lead to nipple pain in breastfeeding moms as described by this journal:
- Improper breastfeeding technique. Poor latching on of the infant (improper positioning of the baby’s mouth on the mother’s nipple) is considered to be the most common cause of breastfeeding related nipple pain. If the baby is not positioned correctly, and suckels intensely, the mechanical stress exerted on the nipple can lead to skin trauma and abrasions. Correct suckling will include the baby pushing their tongue over their lower gum and curving the tongue around the nipple. If this is not happening, the resulting nipple damage can cause pain (Geddes, et al.; 2008).
- Physical oral anomalies in the baby. Birth defects in the baby’s mouths like a short frenulum (the skin ridge below the tongue that attaches the tongue to the base of the mouth; and, can limit movement of the tongue if it is too short. Medically this condition is known as ankyloglossia), or cleft palate or lip can cause significant mechanical stress to be placed on the nipple. This stress can cause irritation of the nipple and possibly lead to a bacterial or fungal infection of the nipple. Babies who have a short frenulum frequently have difficulties with breastfeeding; such as poor attachment to the nipple, inability to remove enough milk from the breast, and lower weight gain. Geddes, et al., in their 2008 Pediatrics study, found that surgical correction of short frenulums greatly helped improve breastfeeding and reduced associated pain.
- Nipple psoriasis and eczema. If you are a mom with a history of psoriasis, you may get some flare-ups while you are lactating. Also, the areas of injury on the breast or nipple can lead to new psoriasis plaques to form. Nipple psoriasis commonly appears as red plaques that are well defined that also have fine scales separated by white jagged lines. Nursing mom’s eczema typically forms on the areola and sometimes moves out to the breast. Sometimes this eczema will result in sudden reddened skin, oozing fluids, and crusting material forming. It can also be more long term; causing dry, scaly lesions on reddened skin. These lesions can be very itchy and may cause pain and burning sensations.
- Blocked or obstructed milk ducts. Also known as “milk blisters,” can occur with the symptoms of tenderness in an area of the breast due to a lack of milk being removed from the breast. An area of the breast skin may become reddened and increase in firmness due to this condition. A sensitive small blister that is white in color can also form on the nipple from this problem. Milk ducts deeper within the breast can also become blocked; resulting in the formation of a milk cyst. Blocked milk ducts can increase the occurrence of a breast infection--also known as mastitis (Kinlay, et al.; 2001).
Too Much Breast Milk Leads to Infection
If you have been having pain during nursing, and have not been removing the milk from your breasts regularly, it may predispose you to getting mastitis. A study published in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology [149.5 (1984): 492-495] emphasized the importance of emptying the breasts of milk. According to the study, stagnant milk in the breasts can sometimes cause inflammation of the breasts. Inflammation of the breast can lead to a full blown infection of the breasts if not remedied. The study found that half the women who had inflammation of the breast without infection later developed mastitis. Both women with only inflammation and women who had mastitis were greatly benefited by thoroughly emptying their breasts of milk.
Another study also found that an oversupply of milk correlated with the development of mastitis. The study was published in BMC Family Practice [16.1 (2015): 1] and involved 346 women--of these 20% developed mastitis. The study found that during the first 4 weeks after childbirth, women who had nipple damage had over a two-fold increase in their chances to develop mastitis. Moms who had an oversupply of breastmilk, experienced problems with their infants attaching to the nipple, used nipple shields, or expressed their milk multiple times a day had a greater risk for developing breast infection. Conversely, moms who started removing breast milk right away--before the first survey was administered--did not show any increased risk for getting mastitis. A chart showing correlations between these situations and mastitis is provided in the study. Hence, the importance of early, regular, and not over frequent removal of breast milk is evident by such findings.
Professional Breastfeeding Help
If you have been struggling with breastfeeding and are getting sore nipples, not getting enough milk out during feeding, or any other similar problems, you may benefit greatly from taking a few lessons on how to breastfeed. Getting your baby to latch on correctly and take in enough milk can be challenging, but there are professionals who know the ropes of this important bonding experience. One breastfeeding expert, Kate Hale, has spent that last 25 years helping women in postnatal care in her private practice and in maternity hospitals throughout Australia. Kate is also a registered nurse, registered midwife, and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Kate has several key video lessons that can quickly improve your breastfeeding technique and reduce your chances for developing breast or nipple thrush. Even the dad’s are included in Kate’s videos; so, the whole family can get some great tips to use during this important time. If you would like to learn more about Kate, or see her videos, you can find out more at Kate Hale’s website.
12 Hour, Natural, Breastfeeding Thrush Cure
Sarah Summer is a now popular author of a book that shows men and women how to eliminate their Candida problems in just 12 hours using natural medicine; and, keep the Candida from ever coming back. Sarah has gained some degree of fame due to the success of her book; yet, her life wasn’t always yeast free. For a long time Sarah struggled with recurrent vaginal yeast infections. It seemed after she used some product to get rid of her infection, it would always come back in a few weeks. This cycle of buying products and recurrent yeast infections would go on for some time in Sarah’s life; until, she developed a horrible vaginal yeast infection.
Worried about this unusually severe yeast infection, Sarah made plans to get herself checked over by a physician. When Sarah was examined by her doctor, the doctor informed her that her vaginal yeast infection was indeed serious; the yeast had developed into a mould in her vagina and had sent out tendrils deep into her skin. The doctor informed Sarah that not only was this problem difficult to treat, it was “impossible” to cure completely. Sarah then made the decision to start looking for answers her doctor didn’t seem to have--and so started researching Candidiasis diligently.
Together with her husband Robert, Sarah began to spend her time researching medical information regarding yeast. She knew that she had been dealing with surface level symptoms in the past; and, without addressing the root causes of her problem she would never stop recurrent Candidiasis. After purchasing many products, and doing a considerable amount of research, Sarah finally developed a promising remedy. When she tried her newest treatment out on herself, she found her entrenched yeast infection cleared up quickly. And, as time went on, Sarah did not see the Candida come back. Finally, she had found her freedom from this horrible curse!
Sarah shared her therapy with others; and, found that these people would report back that their yeast infections would clear up in 12 hours time. The people she shared this treatment with experienced the same amazing results Sarah had personally seen. Naturally, Sarah wrote a book detailing how to repeat her success and terminate recurrent Candida overgrowth. Since Sarah’s book was published, people from all over the world have been helped by it. Sarah published her book with a subsidiary of Keynetics Incorporated; one of the largest publishers of digital products in the world. Sarah also wants to assure those who may be worried her treatment doesn’t deliver the promised results; so, she provides an 8 week, 100% money back guarantee on her book. And, since her book is a downloadable PDF, you can try it out immediately. If you don’t see fast relief, you can request a refund and quickly get all your money back. And, you can keep Sarah’s book even if you get your money back!
If you’d like to learn more about Sarah’s personal struggle with Candida, read testimonies of others who have used her book, or find out about other books she offers for free with her primary book, you can find out more at Sarah Summer’s website. This could be the last time you ever need to go buy an over the counter treatment for a breast or vaginal yeast infection!
- http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0890334404267226 -- Francis-Morrill, Jimi, et al. "Diagnostic value of signs and symptoms of mammary candidosis among lactating women." Journal of Human Lactation 20.3 (2004): 288-295. PubMed
- http://dx.doi.org/10.12968/bjom.2015.23.2.98 -- Duncan, Deborah. "Candida and breastfeeding." British Journal of Midwifery 23.2 (2015): 98-100.
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- http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-4632.2011.05445.x -- Heller, Misha M., Honor Fullerton?Stone, and Jenny E. Murase. "Caring for new mothers: diagnosis, management and treatment of nipple dermatitis in breastfeeding mothers." International journal of dermatology 51.10 (2012): 1149-1161. PubMed
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- http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-6405.2001.tb01831.x -- Kinlay, Joanne R., Dianne L. O'Connell, and Scott Kinlay. "Risk factors for mastitis in breastfeeding women: results of a prospective cohort study." Australian and New Zealand journal of public health 25.2 (2001): 115-120. PubMed
- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6742017 -- Thomsen, A. C., T. Espersen, and S. Maigaard. "Course and treatment of milk stasis, noninfectious inflammation of the breast, and infectious mastitis in nursing women." American journal of obstetrics and gynecology 149.5 (1984): 492-495
- http://dx.doi.org/10.1186%2Fs12875-015-0396-5 -- Cullinane, Meabh, et al. "Determinants of mastitis in women in the CASTLE study: a cohort study." BMC family practice 16.1 (2015): 1. PubMed Full Text
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