Breast candida, how to treat mom and baby

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Philippe Gloaguen
@philippegloaguen
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Contents

  • 1 Symptoms of breast candida
  • 2 Symptoms of thrush in the newborn 
  • 3 Causes of breast candida
  • 4 Remedies for breast candida
  • 5 Hygiene rules against breast candida
  • 6 How long does thrush last

Breast candida is a disorder that can occur during breastfeeding and often, due to the symptoms it entails, can make it more difficult. It is a mycosis, that is, an infection caused by a fungus, Candida Albicans, which is also responsible for vaginal infections. Candidiasis (more familiarly called "thrush") must be treated well and both the mother and the child must be treated: the risk is that of continuous infections that make recovery long and difficult. Let's see what there is to know.



Symptoms of breast candida

In most cases, thrush presents with these mother-related symptoms:

  • nipples initially shiny, which then tend to turn deep pink or red;
  • nipples may also itch, flake, crack, or tear. In addition, they may be covered with a white patina;
  • intense pain during and after feeding (the sensation is that of deep throbbing);
  • sometimes there is vaginal involvement.

Symptoms of thrush in the newborn 

The newborn may also have symptoms characteristic of candida:

  • whitish spots on the oral mucosa (usually on the cheeks and on the tongue);
  • possible cutaneous mycosis in the diaper area;
  • difficulty sucking.

However, it should be emphasized that sometimes candida infection is present without giving particular or recognizable symptoms. It therefore becomes difficult to diagnose it, making therapies more complex. Severe pain in the nipples is usually the sign of seeing a doctor.


Causes of breast candida

We have said that the origin of candida is a fungus. However, the infection is triggered by various causes (it also happens for other forms, such as vaginal candida): among these there are stress, lowered immune defenses, allergies, antibiotic intake, alcohol or sugar abuse, intestinal flora not in equilibrium.


Breast Candida Remedies

What can be done in case of breast candida:

  • continue to breastfeed, more frequently, but for shorter periods.
  • alternate breastfeeding positions, carefully checking that the baby is latching on correctly.
  • the treatment must concern both the mother and the newborn;
  • in case of candida, scrupulous hygiene must be observed;
  • open air and sunshine promote the healing process.
  • after each feed, pass a cotton swab soaked in antifungal over the baby's lips. If there are also stains inside the mouth, the pediatrician will suggest that you use the ointment there too;
  • apply antifungal cream to the nipples and areolas.
  • if there is mycosis in the diaper area, that too should be treated.

Hygiene rules against breast candida

As mentioned above, the rules of hygiene are essential to treat candida and to prevent contagion. Here's what they are:


  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap before feeding and changing the diaper;
  • use a hand cream against chapping;
  • often change the bed linen and towels, washing them at high temperatures (90 °);
  • avoid teats, pacifiers and teether. However, if you use them, sterilize them every day by boiling them for 20 minutes;
  • wash toys often with soap and water;
  • do not bathe with the baby;
  • breast milk drawn with the breast pump can be given to the newborn, but not stored;
  • if you use a breast pump, sterilize the accessories daily. The same goes for the nipple shields.

How long does thrush last

Keep in mind that, sometimes, worsening of the disorders is not excluded at the start of treatment, but they are destined to pass anyway. In the case of mild candida, improvement should come in about 48 hours, while if the infection is severe it will take 3 to 5 days. Therapy should be continued for at least two weeks, even if symptoms disappear.


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