Thrush, or candidiasis, is caused by the yeast-like fungus Candida. The reproduction of these conditional pathogenic fungi in the human organism can be induced by a number of factors. One of such factors is pregnancy. During the period of pregnancy and lactation, the hormonal background of a woman is disturbed and it takes some time for it to fully recover.
This disturbance usually provokes the development and reproduction of Candida and, therefore, thrush. Thrush during breastfeeding is poorly responsive to treatment: the main reason for such condition is the usual therapy which includes antimycotic drugs not recommended for breastfeeding mothers. Let us find out how to get rid of thrush and continue breastfeeding.
Causes and Symptoms of Thrush While Breastfeeding
The main causes of thrush while breastfeeding are quite the same as usual, but it is always better to know them anyway:
- Stress situations;
- Certain medications (usually antibiotics);
- Unhealthy diet;
- Poor personal hygiene;
- Synthetic underwear;
- Soap and shower gels with preserving agents and aromatizers;
- Congestion of blood in the small pelvis (the pregnant move less, their sexual activity is limited).
It should be noted that not only vaginal thrush is a problem for a breastfeeding mother, but the disease often affects her nipples as well. If you feel pain during and after breastfeeding, and there are fissures of nipples, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible. Here are the symptoms of nipple thrush:
- Pain during breastfeeding;
- The nipples are bright pink, itching and weeping;
- Referred pain in the shoulder or shoulder blade;
- The breastfeeding mother has vaginal thrush, the fungi on her nails or in the corners of her lips.
Thrush During Breastfeeding: Treatment
A lot of women experiencing discomfort in the vagina, excreta, itch, and other symptoms postpone their visit to a gynecologist, thinking that the prescribed medications can harm a newborn baby. Such an attitude to your own health is unacceptable.
Thrush while breastfeeding needs treatment. Your doctor will choose appropriate medication after an analysis of the vaginal smear.
There are a lot of antifungal agents, but not all of them are safe for a breastfeeding mother. All pills and capsules for oral intake have to be immediately eliminated from the course of treatment. They can be prescribed only if other treatment does not produce results.
The drugs safe for a breastfeeding mother and her baby usually include ointments and suppositories (but not all of them). Consult a gynecologist before taking any antimycotic medication! The gynecologist will settle the individual treatment regimen and dosing schedule according to the results of the medical tests.
A breastfeeding woman should understand that the untreated thrush will only aggravate the inflammatory process and can have a negative effect on her baby’s health in the future. The fungi can be transmitted from the mother to the baby and cause stomatitis or more serious pathology.
How to Quickly get Rid of Thrush
- Do not stop breastfeeding. You can spend less time on a nursing session, but breastfeed more often during a day. If you feel acute pain while breastfeeding, express your breast milk and feed the baby with a spoon or from a bottle;
- Keep hygienic. Wash your hands before breastfeeding or changing a diaper;
- Drink more green tea. Eat dairy products containing lactobacillus and bifidobacteria;
- Do not wear synthetics (especially underwear and tights made of synthetic materials) and tight-fitting clothes;
- Do not use breast pads. If it is absolutely necessary, change them as often as possible and take air baths.
But remember: only a medical specialist can make out a correct diagnosis and appoint treatment.
How to Prevent Thrush While Breastfeeding
Ideally, the prevention of thrush should begin before conception. The woman trying to conceive should pass a gynecological examination. If the tests detect the latent thrush or vaginal dysbacteriosis antimycotics are administered. A gynecologist can also prescribe immunomodulators and bacterial flora stabilizing agents for such patients.
A healthy diet helps to prevent thrush while breastfeeding as well. Abstain from foods high in carbohydrates, especially sugar. Do not overeat!
A correctly chosen course of vitamins can be beneficial for the prevention and treatment of thrush during breastfeeding.
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.