Thrush and Breastfeeding Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

When should I call my healthcare provider?

Limit sugar and other refined carbohydrates as they seem to make thrush symptoms worse. When illnesses, stress, or medications disturb this balance, the fungus grows out of control and causes thrush. It's a natural, over-the-counter treatment for thrush that you can find in natural food stores. Brown’s® Rachel’s Remedy® Antimicrobial Washable Breast Pads help thrush and other infections, we’re here with answers. Thrush is usually treated with antifungal medicine.

Certain conditions, such as antibiotic use, may upset the balance of microbes in the body (particularly between the bacteria and fungi) and allow an overgrowth of Candida.

How is candidiasis diagnosed? Very mild cases of thrush may clear up without medical treatment. Symptoms & complications of yeast infections: what they feel like, so avoid anything which might make your genital area hot or wet for any length of time - for example:. In most cases, thrush isn’t considered particularly contagious but it can be transmitted. Thrush is a common infection on a breastfeeding mother's nipples and in breast milk ducts. Cold temperatures do not kill the yeast cells you carry in your milk during a thrush infection, so it’s possible to reinfect your baby – and yourself – with stored milk pumped during infection. Laundering all shared surfaces that could harbor yeast, such as diaper changing areas, bedding, and bibs.

Diagnosis of oral thrush Your doctor may be able to diagnose oral thrush simply by examining your mouth for the characteristic bumps that it causes. And left untreated, oral thrush can spread further and lead to a serious infection affecting the blood, heart, brain, eyes, bones, or other parts of the body. Contact your doctor if you have redness and pain in the nipples in spite of home treatment or if you have burning pain in the nipple area when you nurse. They may go pale, or appear red and shiny. But in some cases, it can return. If you're pregnant, take care when using an applicator to insert a pessary or intravaginal cream, as there's a small risk of injuring your cervix (neck of the womb). A wet diaper area provides a good environment for the yeast that causes thrush to grow. In vitro antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on Candida species in Ibadan, Nigeria.

It is a dye that kills bacteria and fungi, and it is available without a prescription. There are many types of bacteria in your mouth that normally control the growth of Candida. Pregnancy (caused by the hormonal changes that occur with pregnancy). This can be a challenge as those with thrush often crave these foods. Watchful waiting If you have previously been diagnosed with thrush and you believe you may have another thrush infection, home treatment may help.

  • Nipples that become more sore as you feed.
  • If your baby has thrush , white patches that look like milk curds or cottage cheese will usually appear on his tongue, gums and on the inside or roof of his mouthThese white patches do not wipe away easily, unlike a harmless coating of milk.
  • It can be very irritating but it is treatable.
  • And leukoplakia lesions develop over time, while thrush lesions may develop suddenly.
  • If you wear dentures, soak them each night in a chlorhexidine solution that you can get from your pharmacist.
  • Don't smoke, or if you do, quit smoking.

Review Date 10/18/2020

Mouth and throat thrush is called oropharyngeal candidiasis. These look like left over milk. How is Oral Thrush Diagnosed? A test to see how acidic the vagina is (a pH test). Antibiotics may kill the normal harmless bacteria in the vagina which help to defend against Candida spp.

For people with lowered immunity, such as from cancer treatment or HIV/AIDS, thrush can be more serious. The yeast gets in the baby's stool and can cause a diaper rash. They may also remove a sample of tissue for analysis. – people with diabetes, especially if it is poorly controlled, are more likely to have oral thrush.

These include bacteria and yeast.

Who Gets Thrush?

It has also not been proven effective for any condition. Follow the guidelines provided with the specific medication or ask your doctor or pharmacist for more detailed guidance. A KOH test is used only in cases when thrush is not clearly evident by visual exam. For any questions about how Dr. If the infant has a poor immune system and an inability to fight infection from another chronic disease, he or she is at an increased risk for developing thrush. Have had a previous bad reaction to anti-thrush medication or treatments.

  • Younger adults can develop oral thrush, especially if they have an impaired immune system.
  • Pediatrics, 21st ed.
  • Most causes of thrush are a result of Candida albicans but sometimes other types of Candida spp.
  • If you think you and your baby have thrush, you need to get treated together.


NHS Choices, Health A-Z. That way, you both can be correctly diagnosed and treated at the same time. Home remedies for oral thrush Alongside medical treatment, the following can help reduce the risk of worsening the condition: Wash your hands before and after nursing and applying any ointments to your breasts. This treatment usually involves using an antifungal mouth rinse or lozenges.

Baby can also be the carrier, though it’s not as clear what activates the infection in some babies’ mouths and not others. However, the normal conditions of the vagina may be altered by excess washing and rinsing out (douching) of the vagina, bubble baths, scented soaps, spermicides, etc. In RD Feigin et al. Consider adding bleach or distilled white vinegar to the wash. But, babies do not have fully formed immune systems. Oral thrush is a common infection in babies, but you can help prevent it: Try adjusting your nursing position and your baby’s latch-on before assuming pain is due to thrush. Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.

Oral thrush is a very common yeast infection in babies. Birth control pills (oral contraceptives). The diagnosis of candidiasis is made by your child's physician after a thorough history and physical examination. This infection is also sometimes called a yeast infection. Wear a clean cotton bra every day and wash all clothes in hot water, at least 50ºC if possible. Also known as “thrush” when referring to baby and “yeast infection” when referring to moms. Make sure to wash these things separately from other clothing.


It usually causes no harm. Thrush is sometimes linked to other kinds of Candida infections. However, in newborns or individuals with impaired immune systems, yeast can cause more serious or chronic infections.

If you can expose your bare nipples to the sun for a few minutes every day, that would also be helpful. Treatment is usually needed for longer during pregnancy. Treatment usually lasts about 14 days. However, people on certain medications, with reduced immune systems, or certain medical conditions are susceptible to oral thrush when C. Fast facts on oral thrush Here are some key points about oral thrush. Avoid diaper wipes if the baby has a diaper rash.

This is called ductal thrush. Nutritional supplements from health food stores and chemists. For babies, talk with your midwife, Plunket nurse, pharmacist or doctor about appropriate treatment options. Grapefruit seed extract is sometimes used by nursing mothers who have developed thrush of the nipples. Keep dentures clean and see a dentist if they do not fit correctly. Breast pain alone is less likely to indicate a thrush infection. Use a diluted vinegar solution topically on your nipples in between feedings, as long as your nipples aren’t cracked or bleeding. Newborns can have symptoms of Candida at birth or soon after.

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Possible side effects include a mild burning sensation, slight redness or itching. Having a dry mouth (xerostomia) can lead to thrush. Those bumps usually go away with treatment. If symptoms don’t improve or get worse: However, friction when you have sex may cause minor damage to the vagina which may make Candida spp. Tight or synthetic clothes stop air movement and create moist conditions, which are ideal for bacteria. Edwards JE Jr (2020).

This is the more common form. They can also be seen on the roof of your mouth, gums, tonsils or back of your throat. Wash all bras, bra pads, nightgowns, etc. People who use inhaled corticosteroids to treat asthma.

Have a weakened immune system - for example, if you are on chemotherapy treatment for cancer or are taking long-term steroid medication for whatever reason. They're available in packs that also include antifungal pessaries, intravaginal cream or capsules. However, remember a vaginal discharge or vulval itch can be due to a number of causes.

What Are Oral Thrush Home Remedies?

Everyone should wash their hands. Such infections can also affect your esophagus (causing esophagitis), eyes (endophthalmitis), and joints (arthritis). A test strip is placed into the vagina and then the colour change indicates if thrush is likely or not. Do not use mouthwashes or sprays. When both mom and baby develop thrush they should be treated for the condition at the same time to prevent an ongoing exchange of the infection. Thrush is more likely to recur in: Antibiotics can cause yeast to grow, because the normal bacteria in tissues are killed off, letting the yeast grow unhampered. If you find that all of these treatments for your yeast infection do not improve your situation, it is possible that you are experiencing a condition other than thrush.

Identifying and Treating Thrush by Cheryl Taylor White.

If you try this home remedy, be sure to rinse off the yoghurt before feeding your baby, if he's less than six months old.

Preventing Thrush

Speak to your GP if you experience frequent bouts of thrush. If you have had thrush in the past and the same symptoms come back then it is common practice to treat it without an examination or tests. Sore nipples that last more than a few days, even after your baby has a good latch. Many processed foods contain refined carbohydrates, so read food labels carefully. Diabetes can contribute to oral thrush as well. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you. Supplements suitable for infants are available to purchase online. For severe infections, the most common treatment is fluconazole (an antifungal medication) taken by mouth or through a vein.

To kill the yeast, clean all the things that come in contact with breasts and your baby's mouth. However, there may be a few issues that you'll have to face. There are practical, effective steps you can take to combat thrush alongside any medication you use.

More detail and supporting information is in the main article. If you notice a strange white rash inside your mouth, you may have a condition called thrush. Researchers have conflicting views on the diagnosis and treatment of thrush.

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Your symptoms recur frequently. Exams and Tests A visual exam is usually all that is needed to diagnose thrush. This happens more often in people with cancer, HIV, or other conditions that weaken the immune system.

This medicine is usually applied several times a day by "painting" it on the inside of the mouth and tongue with a sponge applicator. A mother may also experience breast pain for other reasons, e. How can I prevent candidiasis in the mouth or throat? These usually come in the form of gels or liquid that you apply directly inside your mouth (topical medication), although tablets or capsules are sometimes used. Your risk of thrush increases if you: In the diaper area use an anti-fungal diaper cream Keep your child's diaper area clean and dry. Some medications used for athletes foot (eg Timodine) are foul-tasting and should be avoided at all costs!

Some people also sweat more during pregnancy. If the pain continues, offer your baby short, frequent feedings, beginning on the least painful breast.  Inflammation (Swelling): Talk to your healthcare provider and a lactation consultant (IBCLC) about these possibilities. The tissue around the patches may be red, raw, and painful. Used occasionally for persistent with triamcinolone eczema-like inflammation associated with a thrush infection. You may find it easier to express for a couple of days, by which time your treatment should be working well. But a simple lab test of the sample can also often confirm it.

How thrush spreads The yeast that causes thrush can pass from one person to another in different ways.

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It can also be a sign of weakened immunity. They contain anti-yeast medicines such as clotrimazole, econazole, miconazole or fenticonazole. It’s an infection caused by the candida fungus, which is yeast. CAN I STILL BREASTFEED MY BABY WITH THRUSH? However, certain factors can make thrush more likely to develop.

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You may be at higher risk for developing thrush if you or your baby has had a recent course of antibiotics, your nipples are cracked or damaged, or you are taking oral contraceptives or steroids (such as for asthma). What is vaginal thrush? Vaginal yeast infections are caused by the same fungus that causes oral thrush. With the advent of antibiotics following World War II, the rates of candidiasis increased. Gentian violet (1%) is an over-the-counter natural treatment that sometimes works as a home remedy for thrush. In people with lowered immunity, thrush may spread to the tonsils or back of the throat, which may make swallowing difficult. You can have too much of certain fungus, such as Candida.

(Fluoride can weaken the effect of chlorhexidine.)

  • It’s good practice to wash and sterilize bottle nipples and pacifiers daily but extra important when dealing with thrush.
  • Home remedies for oral thrush Your doctor might also recommend home remedies or lifestyle changes to help treat oral thrush or stop it from coming back.
  • After treatment for thrush begins, the symptoms may not disappear quickly.
  • If you have diabetes, take steps to manage your blood sugar levels.
  • However, when conditions are good for Candida spp.

How can I avoid getting thrush?

Common symptoms of gastrointestinal candidiasis in healthy individuals are anal itching, belching, bloating, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, gas, intestinal cramps, vomiting, and gastric ulcers.  While it’s rarely dangerous—and not always painful—thrush can lead to life-threatening infections in other parts of the body if it is left untreated. It will also treat it in multiple locations in the body. Topical medication will usually need to be used several times a day for around 7 to 14 days. Use for at least 14 days. Chlamydia trachomatis (Trachoma, genital infections, perinatal infections, and lymphogranuloma venereum). If the skin around the entrance to your vagina (vulva) is also sore or itchy, you may find it helpful to use an antifungal skin cream in addition to one of the treatments above.

The following gives a guide as to when it may be best to see a doctor or nurse if you think that you might have thrush. Germs called bacteria and fungi naturally grow in our bodies. Additional symptoms can include: You can obtain topical treatments on prescription, or you can buy some of them without a prescription at pharmacies. Causes of oral thrush Tiny quantities of Candida fungus exist in various parts of our body, including the digestive system, skin, and mouth, causing virtually no problems to healthy individuals. Rinse your mouth several times a day with a warm saltwater rinse. Both common and not usually serious, thrush is a type of yeast infection that typically appears as white or yellow, irregularly shaped patches or sores that coat your baby's gums and tongue along with the sides and roof of the mouth. Good oral hygiene, however, is an essential part of treating oral thrush.

In mild cases, or for girls under the age of 16, a cream for the skin may be all that is needed. If you have untreated diabetes or the disease isn't well-controlled, your saliva may contain large amounts of sugar, which encourages the growth of candida. Symptoms may include:

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Candidal skin infections in the skin folds (candidal intertrigo) typically respond well to topical antifungal treatments (e. )Yeast infections are passed back and forth from baby's mouth to Mama's breast during nursing sessions (and then back and forth again if both members of the breastfeeding team aren't treated). Thrush (candida) infection elsewhere in an infant, e. Thrush is most commonly caused by the yeast Candida albicans. Or, it may be that your baby had it first and gave it to you.

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This overgrowth of yeast in a baby's mouth is a common condition that mothers and their newborns sometimes face. If you have plugged ducts that keep coming back, get help from a WIC breastfeeding expert or a lactation consultant. It may also be worth reviewing any medication you are taking, as some medicines can make you more prone to thrush. These medications don't often have side effects, although some can cause nausea (feeling sick), vomiting, bloating, abdominal (tummy) pain and diarrhoea. However, when there's a change in the healthy balance of bacteria and yeast, Candida can grow and cause problems. Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. Cut back on sugar. This indicates if you have thrush or another infection.

Tablets are more convenient but are more expensive than most topical treatments. However, if there is more than usual, or of the immune system cannot cope with the levels, symptoms may occur. For example, if you are on chemotherapy for certain cancers, if you are taking high-dose steroids, etc. Wear a clean nursing bra every day and change it if it gets wet. A thrush infection of the mouth. • Another cream or ointment may be more effective if the diagnosis for thrush is certain.

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Use a spacer when taking inhaled corticosteroids , and rinse your mouth after inhaling the dose. So although pain may be the only symptom of a thrush infection, it’s important to exclude other causes. Vaginal fissuring and/or swelling. Treatment with Diflucan can last two weeks or more, and it is safe to breastfeed while you're taking this medication. It occurs commonly in the neonate and infant. The genus Candida includes about 150 different species; however, only a few are known to cause human infections. If you have a yeast infection the affected areas of skin will look red, itchy and sometimes they can be painful. Symptoms of a thrush infection include:

Avoiding using perfumed products around the vaginal area, such as soaps and shower gels, as these may cause further irritation. The length and type of your therapy will depend on several factors. If they don’t, go back to your doctor. Wash towels, bras, cloth nursing pads etc. Sterilize what is safe to do so, put those that aren’t in the dishwasher (or in washer or hand wash). It is more common in people who are taking steroids, wear dentures, or have diabetes. It can be applied topically (on the skin) to the affected area or taken orally.

Your doctor may prescribe antifungal tablets as well as cream for your nipplesSevere thrush can lead to another infection by a common bacterium called staphylococcus.

Tests for other infections. Oral thrush, also known as oral candidiasis, is a yeast/fungi infection of the genus Candida that develops on the mucous membranes of the mouth. Possible side effects include irritation, a stinging sensation or itching. What are the treatments for vaginal thrush? Thrush is uncommon in healthy older children, teenagers and adults, so if thrush develops, see your doctor to determine if further evaluation is needed to check for an underlying medical condition or other cause.

It is only available for mothers of younger babies at the discretion of the GP.

Signs and Symptoms

2020 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases, 29th ed. Thrush occurs when too much of a yeast called Candida albicans grows in a baby's mouth. Oral thrush — also called oral candidiasis (kan-dih-DIE-uh-sis) — is a condition in which the fungus Candida albicans accumulates on the lining of your mouth. Some cases go away without medical treatment within a week or two, but the doctor may prescribe an antifungal solution for your baby's mouth. Wash all clothes and linens that came into contact with your nipples or with baby. If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit. What causes oral thrush?

It’s important to continue breastfeeding during treatment so ask your doctor about painkillers to use alongside treatment if pain is severe.

A diet that supports the immune system and is not high in simple carbohydrates contributes to a healthy balance of the oral and intestinal flora. Causes A small amount of the Candida fungus lives in the mouth most of the time. Can I have sex if I have thrush?

Candida overgrowth also causes diaper rash and vaginal yeast infections. Always wash your hands before and after application. It is more common in people with impaired immune systems. In severe cases, the lesions can spread into your esophagus and cause: This usually happens in one breast at a time. These can include yeasty foods (such as bread, alcohol and mushrooms), dairy products or artificial sweeteners. Their use is based on common practice rather than research studies:

What Causes Thrush?

But we have some relief – and a few possible ways to prevent thrush altogether. Intravaginal cream is normally used once. It is caused by an overgrowth of Candida yeast. Thrush is a yeast (fungal) infection that grows and spreads in warm, moist, dark environments. A diaper rash that doesn't go away with commonly suggested ointments can also be a symptom of thrush, as can gas due to excessive yeast in the baby's gastrointestinal tract, says Mother & Child Health. • Check for other sources of pain. Loose cotton pants are best.