Candida overgrowth

If you’re reading this, you are probably wondering how to rid yourself of painful and irritating nipple thrush. If you have experienced nipple thrush, you will be only too aware of how uncomfortable the symptoms can be. The Royal Women’s Hospital defines breast and nipple thrush as a fungal infection caused by the organism Candida Albicans.

Symptoms

Symptoms of nipple and breast thrush include burning, itching and stinging of the nipples. Nipples may also be red and tender to touch. Unfortunately, the pain of these symptoms may not lessen even after the infant is repositioned to help improve the baby’s attachment to the nipple. Also, nipple thrush can progress into breast thrush. Breast thrush often presents as a deep ache, stabbing or shooting pain that radiates through the breast. Mothers may often experience nipple and breast pain after and between feeds. Nipple and breast thrush is highly contagious and often babies will develop symptoms themselves in the form of oral thrush or/and nappy rash. Signs of oral thrush include a thick white coating on the tongue or spots inside the cheeks. Signs of fungal nappy rash include a stubborn red rash that may not get better even when nappy cream is regularly applied.

Causes

  • Antibiotic use (either Mum or baby)
  • Nipple trauma
  • History of vaginal thrush or systemic thrush
  • Unknown cause

Personal experience

I personally suffered from nipple thrush for four painful months. At one stage, I thought I would never get rid of thrush. In fact, I had even contemplated stopping breastfeeding in an attempt to break the cycle of continually passing the infection onto my daughter. During this time, I frantically scoured the Internet to find a cure. Unfortunately, no matter what I tried, I could not get rid of the persistent and painful breast and nipple Candida infection. I eventually reached out and asked the advice of my midwifery colleagues who had suffered from breast and nipple  Candida. Regretfully, most of them also had difficulty finding a cure for this systemic infection.

Thankfully, my persistent scouring of the Internet eventually paid off when I eventually stumbled upon the Candida protocol created by Dr Jack Newman (please find the link below). By implementing this protocol, I was FINALLY able to rid myself of the debilitating Candida symptoms that had plagued not only me, but sadly my baby as well.

Dr Jack Newman’s protocol includes practical strategies to maintain healthy breast tissue. It is his belief that Candida cannot grow on healthy skin including the breast and nipples. Strategies include reducing trauma to the breast by ensuring one’s baby is attached properly to the nipple, reducing the breast pump to a slower setting as well as cutting out sugar and processed foods from the diet. I personally found a huge improvement in my Candida symptoms and agree fully with Dr Jack Newman’s healthy breast skin theory.

Treatment

BABY AND MUM MUST BE TREATED SIMULTANEOUSLY – It is very important to treat yourself and your baby at the same time and for at least a week after symptoms cease

Baby

  • Continue breastfeeding to ensure baby is receiving adequate probiotics from breast milk.
  • Consider an additional probiotic supplement – consider supplements that baby can suck directly off their mother’s nipple or finger.
  • Miconazole Gel is an over the counter gel that has been known to have some effect on clearing oral thrush.
  • Nystatin Oral Gel is considered to be less effective in reducing nipple or oral candida.

Mothers

  • Stress
    • Try hard to ensure adequate sleep and rest
    • Exercise regularly – even if it is only a short walk
  • Oral
    • Fluconazole (please see Dr Jack Newman’s protocol for dose and frequency)
    • Grape seed extract
    • Eliminate sugar (including high sugar fruits such as mangos and bananas until symptoms cease)
  • Topical
    • Dr Jack Newman’s All Purpose Nipple Cream (See below forlink to ingredients and instructions for use)
    • Gentian Violet (difficult to source in Australia as there is some research linking it to cancer. It is frequently used in USA and Europe. Can be obtained with a prescription from some pharmacies in Australia.)

Important Note:

It is recommended that mothers consultant their health care professional before using any of the medications/creams/treatments mentioned in this article.

References/Resources

Dr Jack Newman’s Candida Protocol
https://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/informations/candida-protocol/

The Royal Women’s Hospital
https://www.thewomens.org.au/healthinformation/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-problems/breast-and-nipplethrush/

King Edward Memorial Hospital
http://www.kemh.health.wa.gov.au/development/manuals/O&G_guidelines/sectionb/8/b8.2.10.pdf