Overcoming Thrush

Indigo Forest:  Holistic Family Center

4121 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor, MI   (734) 994-8010   www.VisitIndigo.com

Yeast/Thrush Handout

(The following are suggestions only, and not intended to replace medical advice.)

Candida Albicana is commonly called yeast.  The problem arises when there is an overgrowth in the vagina (yeast infection), or when there is an overgrowth of yeast on the nipples, in the baby’s mouth or diaper area (all of which are called ‘thrush’). The body strives to maintain a delicate balance of appropriate “good” bacteria to help counter the overgrowth of the “bad,” thrush is a sign of imbalance.
Sometimes referred to as a fungus, yeast/thrush is an opportunist microbe, which reproduces rapidly & thrives in moist dark places.  And as you might guess, it is highly contagious, and requires scrupulous hygiene to limit its spread.

You are at greater risk for Thrush if you:
1.    Have a history of yeast infections
2.    Have had antibiotics
3.    Had an IV in the hospital which may have included antibiotics (I.e. Surgery)
4.    Wear wet nursing pads
5.    Take medications

Women are more at risk for thrush during times of illness, stress and times of hormonal changes such as during menstruation or pregnancy.

What to watch for – things that MAY indicate thrush in Mom:
1.    Onset of intense nipple pain after a period of comfortable nursing
2.    Itchy or burning nipples, which MAY appear pink, red or shiny
3.    Cracked nipples that will not heal

What to watch for – things that MAY indicate thrush in Baby:
1.    White patches in the baby’s mouth that don’t wipe off, or if they do they are red or bleed underneath
2.    Diaper rash
3.    Baby’s mouth is sore, as possibly indicated by pulling off the breast or a clicking sound during nursing
4.    Gassiness or fussiness

Note:  It is possible for both mother and baby to have no visible symptoms.

Simple Solutions:

1.    Expose nipples to light and air

2.    Change pH by rinsing nipples with a 20% vinegar solution (after nursing is a good time to apply it; although baby would not like the taste it would not harm them.)

3.    Kill yeast by washing ALL items that come in contact with the yeast (breasts, milk, infant clothes and spit-up rags) in water over 122 degrees F or hang wash to dry in the sun.  Set nursing pillow in sun for 20 minutes.

4.  Reduce or eliminate consumption of sugar, coffee, black tea and dairy products.  Some also would increase consumption of ‘live cultured foods’, which include yogurt (organic brands, NOT Dannon), miso broth, real saurkrout, feta cheese, raw cider etc.

Critical Care:

1.    Acidophilus/Probiotic Supplements – highest (and most effective) quality will normally be found in the refrigerated section, and often cost $25-$45/bottle.  Look also for infant specific strains to give the baby directly (sprinkled on your nipple before nursing or to suck off your finger).
“Work up to 3 capsules 3 times daily for at least 2 weeks AFTER symptoms are gone.”  (Hafner-Eaton, 1997).

“Many mothers seem to need an extraordinary level, even as much as 12-14 caps/day for a couple of weeks, including at least 5 days longer than the symptoms, to overcome thrush.  The more persistent the case, the longer passed the symptoms one might take the probiotics (reduced level) as a preventative against ‘relapse.’’  (Beth Barbeau, Midwife).

2.    Nature’s Sunshine ‘Candida’ Homeopathic liquid tincture, take according to directions.
3.    Homeopathic pellets – Borax 12c or 30x, take according to directions.
4.    Motherlove Thrush and Diaper Cream.   This can be safely used on both mom (nipples) & baby (bottom rash).   Use a fresh, clean finger each time, so as not to contaminate the bottle.  Don’t use lanolin-based creams if they are not thrush specific – they can make it worse.
5.    Fresh Breast pads – cotton (wash hot), disposable (change frequently), or soft natural wool (helps heal cracked nipples and can be put in the sun for 20 minutes of UV to kill any lingering yeast.)
6.    Essential oils topically according to symptoms

Note:  Once both of you have been symptom-free for at least 2 weeks, replace all breast pump disposable parts (recontamination is possible even with boiling, a ‘kit’ runs about $60) and do not use frozen breastmilk from the thrush period for the same reason (ok to use while overcoming thrush.)

Support for the tough times:

Indigo Forest “Nursing Café” on Wednesday afternoons, 2-3pm, free.

Private consultations are available, $15-40, $15-60 minutes.  Call to make an appt., (734) 994-8010.
La Leche League has free weekly support groups in many areas.  Call their information/help line locally at (734) 332-9080.

Breastfeeding help is available 24 hours/day from the US LLL Help Line at 1-877-LALECHE (452-5324).

Indigo Forest:
Prenatal & Natural Family Specialty Store
4121 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor, MI   (734) 994-8010

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