Candida/thrush, a fungal infection, is an overgrowth of yeast that normally lives in our bodies. Illness, pregnancy, and antibiotic use can create an imbalance and cause an unhealthy overgrowth.
Symptoms of thrush:
One symptom is not enough to confirm whether thrush is the cause of a mother’s nipple pain; a combination of symptoms is more reliable. Before treating for candida – especially if baby has no symptoms – other causes of nipple pain should be ruled out, such as shallow latch, bacterial infection, mastitis, vasospasm/Raynaud’s Phenomenon, and skin problems. Candida is the likely cause of painful breastfeeding if a mother has the following symptoms together:
- Shiny nipple/areola skin with stabbing pain after each feed
- Flaky nipple/areola skin and breast pain.
In your baby, possible candida symptoms include:
- White patches on gums, cheeks, palate, tonsils, and/or tongue (if wiped, they may bleed)
- Nappy rash (may be red or red with raised dots)
A white, milky coating on your baby’s tongue is not a sign of thrush unless white patches spread to baby’s cheeks and gums. Some babies can have a yeast rash on their bottom, but not in their mouth.
If you suspect you or your baby have thrush please visit the brilliant www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk for the most recent research and treatment methods and download the PDF about Thrush and Breastfeeding.
You will need a qualified lactation consultant or health professional to diagnose thrush, and prescribe a treatment plan.