A series of posts.
The dreaded, unexpectedly awful, yet strangely common: thrush.
No nurse ever talked to me about thrush. Or yeast infections. After getting four shots of antibiotics within 20 hours (so it was pretty much expected for my baby and my body’s respective yeast to have a party), you would think they would have mentioned something.
After IV got a bright, tomato red, bumpy, hot, horrible rash completely covering his diaper area from front to back, and after I suffered stabbing pains in my breasts for weeks, and my nipples turned a pale pink color, and were peeling, and IV had white in his mouth, I started to wonder if this was normal. I kept calling lactation consultants, and they would say my nipples needed to toughen up, and that the pain will stop by two weeks, etc. Two weeks came and went, and my boobs were still dying.
I was reading blogs, and articles about mothering, and breastfeeding, and I kept seeing a strange word pop up. “Thrush.” Hm. I would just ignore it, thinking it was just another thing to freak me out, but finally I clicked to find out what it was. That was when I realized this “thrush” may be what was plaguing me. I called my OB’s office, talked to them about it, and they confirmed my fears. They told me to get nystatin from IV’s pediatrician, and to rub it on my nipples. If that did not make it better, then to call the OB and they would prescribe me an oral pill. I believe it was fluconazole.
Let’s take a step back.
What is thrush?
A definition from Mayo Clinic: “Oral thrush — also called oral candidiasis (kan-dih-DIE-uh-sis) — is a condition in which the fungus Candida albicans accumulates on the lining of your mouth. Candida is a normal organism in your mouth, but sometimes it can overgrow and cause symptoms.” This is generally what you may notice first- in your baby’s mouth. They may have white spots that look like cottage cheese. But which should not be confused with milk residue on the tongue, because this is normal. Also, if your baby has a yeast infection in their diaper area (raised, red, bumpy; or even white cottage cheese looking spots), it may be a sign that you both have thrush. How do you know it is a yeast infection and not a normal diaper rash from something the baby ate? If the rash does not start to improve after two or three diaper changes, there is probably something more going on; especially if it lasts for more than a day.
I did not know this, so IV had his yeast infected rash for two weeks! The moms I had talked to had made it sound like rashes were so common, and that they lasted a long time. Turns out, they aren’t supposed to last a long time, they just frequently pop up with some babies. (And, in my opinion: I don’t think that should be the case if you change them as frequently as they should be changed, and wash them as frequently as they should be washed)
Thrush in nipples and breasts.
A definition from The Royal Women’s Hospital: “Thrush is a fungal infection caused by the organism Candida albicans, which can occur in the nipples or breast tissue (as well as other places in the body). If you have nipple pain that doesn’t go away when you adjust your breastfeeding attachment, you may need to talk with a lactation consultant or other health care professional. Early diagnosis and treatment of nipple and breast thrush will help to improve your breastfeeding experience. Breast and nipple thrush may be linked to a history of vaginal thrush, recent use of antibiotics or nipple damage. However, sometimes the cause is not known.”
“Nipple thrush pain is often described as burning, itching, or stinging and may be mild to severe. The pain is usually ongoing and doesn’t go away with improved positioning and attachment of your baby to the breast. Your nipples may be tender to touch and even light clothing can cause pain.
“Breast thrush pain can vary. It has been described as a stabbing or shooting pain, a deep ache or a burning sensation that radiates through the breast. It may be in one or both breasts.
“Often this pain is experienced immediately after, as well as in between, feeds.
“Signs of nipple and breast thrush
“There are usually no obvious signs of thrush on your nipples. However some signs may be present and include:
- your nipples may appear bright pink; the areola may be reddened, dry or flaky. Rarely a fine white rash may be seen
- nipple damage (e.g. a crack) that is slow to heal
- signs of thrush may be present in your baby’s mouth or on your baby’s bottom, or both. Thrush in the mouth appears as a thick white coating on the tongue or white spots on the inside of the cheeks, or both. Thrush on a baby’s bottom appears as a bright red rash with spots around it which does not clear without antifungal cream.
“If you or your baby have been diagnosed with thrush you will be both need to be treated.”
I couldn’t decide what to quote from them, because it was all so good, so here is basically half the article.
Now we know whether we have thrush or not, let’s get down to business.
How to treat BABY: Here
How to treat MAMA: Here