Treating Thrush

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edited by Laurie Bieber & Lori Ramsey

Note from Lori: When my baby daughter was just 1 week old, I noticed her tongue was completely white. I tried several different remedies with 2 trips to the doctor before it cleared up.

First my baby was prescribed Nystatin. We used this for one month with no success. Then she was prescribed Diflucan and for two weeks nothing worked. I finally bought a bottle of Gentian Violet and used it for 4 days. At first it appeared that it wouldn’t help, then her tongue gradually turned a nice pink. Here is what Laurie Bieber told me after she researched thrust treatments. This is for informational purposes only.

Laurie’s response to my statement “Help, my baby has thrush, what do I do??”

First, I really hope you are being treated along with her!! That’s very very key in getting rid of thrush. Try to avoid sugary products, yeast, artificial sweetners and/or dairy products. Thrush fungus multiplies every 1 1/2 hours so it’s important to be on top of it. Be sure to wash your hands constantly.

Treatment options – Nystatin (topically, internally, oral suspension,cream, oral tablets) – be sure to wash off before nursing because ittastes nasty. Clotrimazole (Lotrimin or Mycelex) – not know if secreted in breastmilk (very drying – watch for cracked nipples and contact dermatitis) Ketoconazole (nizoral) internally and/or topically – has been linked to liver damage; use with Seldane can be deadly Fluconazole (Diflucan) internally, very expensive, very low levelssecreted in breastmilk, linked to liver and renal damage in adults. Diflucan should be taken 14-21 days – one dose (as is sometimes prescribed) does NOT treat breast thrush, only vag thrush.

******Meds are prescribed for 14-21 days – and many times it takes the full course of meds to completely go away.

Boric Acid Gentian Violet (only use once a day for 3 days) MUST be diluted to 1/2% or 1% (ask pharmacist to do it for you if you can only find higher doses). Messy staining issues, can burn , dry and irritate tissue. Do NOT allow baby to swallow!

Herxheimer Reaction: Mother may notice extreme nausea or fatigue as the yeast is dying off. Baby may also be fussier or gassier. Symptoms may get worse in the first few days of treatment. Mother should drink PLENTY of water during treatment.

Other measures to get rid of thrush (like when it just won’t die!):

*Treat all family members – men CAN carry candida (thrush fungus) too and may be reinfecting mom and/or baby.

*Boil everything that comes in contact with affected tissue for 5-20 minutes daily (yes, bras too). Boil or wash in hot water toys baby sucks on.

**Yeast dies at 122 degrees F so if your hot water heater is turned down so you don’t burn the kids, you might need to turn it up until the thrush is gone.

*If possible, use disposable breast pads while you have thrush – and NO plastic. Change pads after every feeding, keep breasts as dry as possible.

*Expose breasts to air and sunlight – this will help kill the fungus on them.

*Wash hands thoroughly and frequently

*Avoid cornstarch powders or deodorants – food source for yeast.

*Complete medication as directed

*Avoid antibiotics

*Changes in diet – try acidophilus and yogurt, B complex vitamins, iron, vitamin C, zinc. Increase garlic. You can try lecithin – 250mgs gel caps 3 times a day. Avoid products that contain yeast and molds, avoid dairy, reduce all sugars and fruits.

Also, some alternative therapies: grapefruit extract – very very bitter – 15-20 drops in juice 3 times a day for 30 days. Candida Cleanse (made by Rainbow Light) 1 tablet for 30 days Acidophilis powder & plus for mom – keep refrigerated Stevia – artificial sweetner that does not promote fungus growth Vinegar & water wash solution – you can rinse nipples with this after each feeding but be sure you rinse the vinegar off COMPLETELY before next feeding. Some infants may vomit if vinegar is not completely gone. Mix Acidophilis powder w/ lansinoh & spread on breasts

Dr. Jack Newman has an all-purpose nipple ointment for sore nipples that will not heal. If you follow his formula, it can cost more than $100 to purchase it. You can make a similar ointment using OTC meds – Polysporin, Lotrimin, 2% Hydrocortisone cream – Mix equal parts of each in the hand; apply to nipples.

Also, a great link on how to prevent & remove Gentian Violet stains if you go that route: http://www.breastfeed-essentials.com/gvstains.html

Information compiled from the LLL conference by L.B.


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