Breast candidiasis: what is it, symptoms, causes and treatment


Breast candidiasis: what is it, symptoms, causes and treatment

Breast candidiasis is a fungal infection that causes symptoms such as pain, redness, a wound that is difficult to heal, and a burning sensation in the breast while the baby is breastfeeding, and that remains after the baby has been breastfed.

 Treatment is carried out with the use of antifungal medications in ointment or tablet, indicated by the doctor.  The woman does not need to stop breastfeeding during the treatment but it is important to treat the baby, in case of symptoms of yeast infection in the mouth, so that there is no new contamination while the baby eats.

Main symptoms

 The symptoms of candidiasis in the breast are:

 Pain in the tip of the breast, with a burning sensation while nursing, which remains after the baby has been breastfed;

  •  small wound on the tip of the chest difficult to heal;

  •  A part of the nipple may be whitish;

  •  The affected nipple may be shiny;

  •  Burning sensation in the nipple;

  •  There may be itching and redness.

 Breast candidiasis is considered a type of systemic candidiasis and not always all symptoms are present at the same time, but the burning pain and small wound are present in all cases.

 To make the diagnosis, it is enough for the doctor to observe the breast and the symptoms that the woman presents, without the need to perform any specific examination, but in some cases, to confirm that it is a mammary yeast infection, a milk analysis can be done  coming out of the affected breast.  The presence of Candida Albicans in breast milk highlights the picture.

Causes of candidiasis in the breast

 Breast candidiasis can be transmitted by the baby who shows signs of oral yeast infection to the mother through breastfeeding.  The signs of oral candidiasis in the baby are the presence of white plaques on the tongue, palate and on the inside of the cheeks.  Sometimes it can appear that the baby has just eaten yogurt and that it was not able to swallow everything properly, and that there is remains in the mouth.

 The Candida Albicans fungus lives naturally on the baby's skin, but when their immune system is a little weakened, this fungus can proliferate causing oral yeast infections in the baby.  When the baby places a mouth full of fungi on the breast to feed, these fungi can migrate to the woman's breast producing mammary candidiasis, which can be very painful, especially when there is a fissure in the nipple.

In many cases, the baby transmits the fungus to the mother, even if there are no symptoms.

 How the treatment is carried out

 The treatment of candidiasis in the breast is done with the use of antifungals in the form of an ointment with nystatin, clotrimazole, miconazole or ketoconazole for 2 weeks.  Women can apply the ointment after every feeding time, without having to wipe it off the breast before breastfeeding.  Gentian violet, 0.5 or 1% can also be applied on the nipples and in the baby's mouth once a day for 3 or 4 days.  When this treatment does not solve the problem, the doctor may recommend taking fluconazole tablets for about 15 days.

Candida thrives in a humid environment and as in lactation the breast remains moist several times a day, it should always be kept dry between the times when you do not breastfeed your child.  Using a cotton nursing pad is a good way to accomplish this, however, putting your breasts in the sun is also a homemade way to get the same benefit.

In case the baby presents the symptoms of oral candidiasis, it is necessary to treat it at the same time that the mother does her treatment to prevent it from being infected again.  Pacifiers and bottles can also contain fungi, so they should be boiled for about 20 minutes at least 1 time a day.

 How to prevent breast yeast infection

 To prevent candidiasis in the breast from reappearing, in addition to observing if the baby has signs of canker sores in the mouth, which increase the risk of transmission of the fungus, the woman should always keep the breast dry, since the humidity of  this area facilitates the proliferation of fungi, giving rise to a new infection.

Breast candidiasis

 To keep the tip of the breast always dry during the breastfeeding phase, it is recommended to use your own cotton pad for breastfeeding inside the bra every day.

 In case the breast is spilling milk, the baby should be fed immediately and the excess milk removed through manual expression, during the bath or with a pump.  This milk can be stored and frozen for future use.

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