What Is It?
Thrush is a very, very common problem for women. It is caused by an organism found naturally in the body called Candida. When the level of Candida is out of balance in the body, it usually results in Thrush.
Thrush is a yeast infection that can affect the mouth, nipples, and the vagina. For the purpose of this article we will focus on nipple thrush, as it is a very common problem for breastfeeding mothers.
Some people are more prone to thrush than others. The main causes of it are perfumed/non PH balanced soaps and products, being run-down, and using antibiotics. Many nursing mothers end up with a bout of thrush after recovering from mastitis due to antibiotics — this is why, unless the mastitis is severe, it’s preferable to treat it as naturally as possible.
Following is a list of symptoms of thrush. You may have just one or two of these symptoms or you may have all of them — always see your doctor for a diagnosis.
- Sore nipples during and between feeds
- Red and scaly nipples; raw feeling and looking
- Deep breast pain that comes on in between feeds
- White patches in your baby’s mouth that don’t wipe off
- Difficulty in latching your baby on to feed; baby can be reluctant to feed or even refuse to feed altogether
Although it is painful, it is very important that you continue to feed your baby frequently. The last thing you need on top of thrush is a plugged duct as well! Thrush can be passed to the baby, and it often is, so it’s important to make sure your doctor checks your baby’s mouth for signs of thrush. You will likely be prescribed an antifungal cream such as Canesten (clotrimazole), or Canesten Hydrocortisone Cream (clotrimazole with an added steroid). The latter is especially effective for soothing the soreness. Babies are usually prescribed Nystatin drops. Providing you follow the doctor’s instructions with regards to applying the cream and treating the baby, the thrush will usually clear up very quickly.
To help the process along, there are some things you can do. Most importantly, make sure you are getting enough rest. Thrush can be caused or exacerbated by being run down. Eating live yoghurt will help restore the natural balance of healthy bacteria in the body — if your baby is old enough to be eating solid foods, give them some also. It will soothe the thrush in their mouth. If your doctor says that your baby hasn’t contracted the thrush from you (and therefore won’t treat them), you can give them natural yoghurt to help prevent it.
The important thing is to seek treatment the moment you think there may be something wrong! It’s better to nip thrush in the bud before it has a chance to cause problems with latching on, and before it gets too painful.