There are several sources to get breastfeeding tips but rarely is much info available on yeast infection of the breast. Yeast infections of the breast, also known as thrush or candidiasis, occur when a fungus called Candida albicans multiplies in the nipple or breast tissue.
This article will explore everything important about yeast infection of the breast including its signs, causes, treatments, and preventative measures.
What exactly is a breast yeast infection?
A breast yeast infection is caused by an overgrowth of the naturally occurring fungus Candida albicans. This type of fungal infection can affect the nipples, areola, or even the breast tissue itself.
The signs of a yeast infection in the breast include soreness and redness of the affected area, itching and burning sensations in or around the nipple, pain when breastfeeding, and/or white patches on the skin.
The infection is found in moist, warm environments, so in the case of breastfeeding, it is particularly prone to occur in the wet and humid environment of the nipple area. It is not uncommon for both mother and baby to develop a yeast infection of the breast, although it is more common in newly breastfeeding mothers.
Signs of breast yeast infection:
The signs of a breast yeast infection include soreness and redness in the affected area, itching and burning sensations in or around the nipple, pain when breastfeeding, and/or white patches on the skin.
Another important sign to which you should pay attention is that the baby may have oral thrush, which can be a sign of the mother having a breast yeast infection. If you notice white patches on your baby’s tongue or inside their cheeks, it could be a sign of thrush.
What causes a breast yeast infection?
Wearing tight undergarments or clothes:
Tight and ill-fitting clothing can rub against the nipple area and create a warm, moist environment that is conducive to fungal growth. Moreover, bacteria and sweat can accumulate in these areas, leading to yeast infection.
Not frequently changing the undergarments:
Not changing the undergarments frequently can also cause a breast yeast infection. Not washing and changing clothes regularly creates the perfect environment for fungi to thrive and multiply, leading to an infection.
Using breast pads:
Using breast pads when breastfeeding can also lead to a yeast infection. Breast pads are warm and moist, which can be the ideal place for a fungus to thrive. In addition, not changing the breast pads regularly can also aggravate the infection.
Excessive sweating can create a warm and moist environment in the nipple area, leading to a yeast infection. Sweating may also cause bacteria or fungi to accumulate in the area, causing an infection.
Excessive hot and humid climate:
Living in a hot and humid climate can also increase the risk of developing a breast yeast infection. The warm and moist environment coupled with sweat accumulation can create the perfect breeding ground for fungal growth, leading to infection.
What treatment options are available?
Treatment for a breast yeast infection consists of antifungal creams and ointments, as well as antifungal medications. When treating a breast yeast infection, it is important to follow the instructions of your doctor as closely as possible. Some of the commonly recommended medications for this are:
Miconazole is an antifungal cream or ointment that can be applied to the affected area. It helps to soothe the itching and burning sensations associated with a yeast infection. Moreover, it helps to reduce the symptoms and speed up recovery.
Fluconazole is an oral antifungal medication that can be taken to treat a breast yeast infection. It helps to reduce the symptoms and speed up recovery time. In addition, Fluconazole is often prescribed for pregnant women as it is safe for use during pregnancy.
Nystatin is another antifungal medication that can be taken orally to treat a breast yeast infection. It helps to reduce the symptoms and speed up recovery time.
How can I prevent a yeast infection?
The best way to prevent a yeast infection is to maintain proper hygiene and keep the nipple area clean. Some of the tips that can help to prevent a yeast infection include:
Wearing loose-fitting clothing:
Wearing loose-fitting clothing can help to reduce the possibility of fungal growth in the nipple area, as it allows air to circulate freely. Go for breathable and lightweight materials such as cotton to help keep the area cool and dry.
Regularly changing undergarments:
It is important to regularly change your undergarments and wear clean clothes. This helps to prevent bacteria and fungi from accumulating in the area, reducing the risk of infection. Moreover, also try to avoid wearing wet clothes for extended periods.
Avoid using breast pads:
Try to avoid using breast pads that come with waterproof liners because they can create a moist environment, which is conducive to fungal growth. It is best to opt for breathable and absorbent breast pads instead. It’s among the best breastfeeding tips that moms should follow.
Regularly washing the nipple area:
It is also important to regularly wash the nipple area with warm water and mild soap. This helps to keep the area clean and reduces the risk of infection. Moreover, avoid using scented soaps and detergents, as this can lead to skin irritation.
Focus on a healthier diet:
Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help to prevent infection. Eating foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals can boost the immune system and reduce the risk of a yeast infection. Moreover, avoiding foods that are high in sugar and processed carbohydrates can also help to reduce the risk of infection.
Breast yeast infections can be uncomfortable and can cause pain, itching, redness, and soreness in the area. It is important to remember to practice good hygiene in order to reduce the risk of infection. Following the tips mentioned above can help to prevent a yeast infection, as well as help to reduce the symptoms and speed up recovery.
If you are experiencing severe symptoms or if your condition does not improve after a few days, it’s better to consult a doctor. Follow Indian Parenting Blog for more such informative articles. We’re among the top mom blogs that deliver quality parenting and self-care information.