Thrush on Nipples

Submitted by Nick on May 31, 2012

Thrush can be described as a fungal infection, which is caused by Candida Albicans. This infection can affect many different parts of your body, including the breasts. Thrush on the breasts usually occurs in the nipples and the breast tissue. In case you are suffering from thrush on the nipples, you may experience severe pain, itching and perhaps even bleeding. In case you are breastfeeding at the same time, you may even need to wean your baby.


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This is because the infection can be passed on from your nipple to your baby’s mouth during breastfeeding. Some doctors may allow you to continue breastfeeding if you are undergoing treatment for the infection.

What are the Reasons for Thrush on Nipples?

The Candida Albicans fungi are generally present in our bodies, as a normal part of the digestive system. However, for any reason, if these organisms begin to grow and spread, they cause an infection in the body.

These fungi thrive in places that are warm and moist, which is why breastfeeding provides the perfect environment for thrush. Most nursing moms complain of sore nipples and this makes it easier for the infection to spread to the breasts and nipples. If thrush remains untreated, you can suffer from relapses, as you and your baby pass on the infection back and forth.

There are many factors that could cause the Candida Albicans fungi to overgrow. Some of the common reasons for thrush include:

  • Use of antibiotics, as they destroy the friendly bacteria in the body
  • High consumption of sweets and sugary foods
  • Excessive stress
  • Lack of adequate sleep and rest

There are certain illnesses that also increase your vulnerability to infections like thrush. Sometimes, you could get this infection, if you are suffering from:

  • HIV / AIDS
  • Cancer
  • Vaginal yeast infections
  • Diabetes Mellitus

What are the Signs for Thrush on Nipples?

You will know that you are suffering from thrush on the nipples, if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • Pain in the nipples and the breast area
  • Cracked nipples, which may even bleed
  • Severe itchiness, stinging or burning on the nipples
  • Soreness in the nipples, even before breastfeeding
  • Changes in the skin around the nipple, as it becomes shiny or flaky

Very often, women who suffer from thrush on the nipples have no symptoms at all.

In case you pass on thrush to your baby, you will notice an appearance of a milky-curd in his mouth. The baby may also show other signs of pain and discomfort.

What is The Treatment for Thrush on Nipples?

The treatment for thrush is aimed at preventing the spread of the fungus. The approach decided by your doctor will depend on several factors, like your age, overall health condition and the cause of the infection.

Most doctors prescribe topical anti-fungal medication to be applied on to the nipples. Your doctor may suggest micozanole or nystatin for treating the infection. The infection should clear up within a couple of weeks. For best results, make sure that your doctor monitors your progress regularly.

To reduce the risks of a relapse in breastfeeding moms, doctors may suggest that the mother and the baby be treated at the same time, even if only one is experiencing the symptoms.

How To Keep Thrush From Spreading?

You can prevent your baby from getting the infection by managing nipple thrushes correctly. Make sure that you:

  • Keep your nipples clean and dry at all times, as the Candida fungi grow in areas that are moist
  • Change your breast pads frequently and wash your nipples after every feed
  • Wash your bras, clothing nursing pads and other clothes in hot soapy water and allow them to air dry completely, before using them
  • Avoid foods that can encourage the growth of the candida fungi, such as refined foods, sweets, alcohol, dried fruit, sodas and fruit juice
  • Increase your consumption of yogurt, as it helps restore the levels of normal bacteria flora in the body
  • Sterilize your breast pumps every day

Never try to treat thrush on your own, as the condition could go on for months. Speak to your doctor as soon as you realize that you are suffering from this fungal infection.

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