Tag Archive | candida albicans

What is Thrush?

Thrush/nipple yeast and vaginal yeast are caused by the one-celled organism, Candida albicans. It is a fungus that thrives in moist, dark environments (like the nipples, milk ducts, mother’s vagina, baby‘s mouth and/or baby’s diaper area). The use of antibiotics by mom or baby is a contributing factor in the occurrence of yeast. A cracked or sore nipple can also contribute to yeast occurrence.

Here are a few questions to help you determine if you or your baby has a yeast overgrowth. A consultation with your health care provider is also important. If you answer yes to one or more of these, you may have thrush.

  • Have you noticed white spots in your baby’s mouth?
  • Does your baby have a bright red, pimply diaper rash?
  • Is your baby gassy, fussy or not nursing well due to oral thrush?
  • Is the area around your nipple pink, red, itchy, flaky or shiny?
  • Do you feel a burning sensation on your nipples either during or between feedings?
  • Do you have a cracked nipple that won’t heal? 
  • Do you feel shooting pains in your breast (different from the sensation of let-down)? Some women describe the feeling as “a piece of glass” or “stabbing”.
  • Have you or your baby completed a recent course of antibiotic treatment?
  • Did you have a cesarean birth or were you diagnosed with a vaginal Strep-B infection?

**Note: It is rare for a mom to have a red rash or white spots on her nipples with a nipple yeast infection.**
Here are some common treatment for thrush:

It is very important that both mom and baby are treated at the same time, even if only one of them show signs of yeast. Yeast/thrush is highly contagious, and if not treated together, they will keep passing it back and forth to each other. Be sure to continue treatment for at least 2 WEEKS after the signs of thrush/yeast have gone away.

Your health care provider can prescribe a prescription of Nystatin for you and baby -a cream for mom to use on her nipples and oral liquid for baby. Make a run to the store for yogurt containing live, active cultures (especially l. acidophilus). The yogurt cultures (acidophilus) will help get rid of the yeast. If your baby is old enough, you can offer him some, too.

Acidophilus supplements. This does the same thing as the yogurt. You should be able to find acidophilus in the health food section of your grocery store/pharmacy or at a natural foods store. This can also be crushed (or, if you have the caplets, opened) and sprinkled directly on your nipples. If you wish, you can do this just prior to feeding so your baby gets a dose of acidophilus, too.

Gentian Violet. You should be able to find this in your local health food/natural foods store or in the natural food or vitamin section of your store. Using a clean cotton swab, rub some on each nipple. In order to treat baby, also, it works best to put some on your nipple and then latch baby on to nurse. It will coat baby’s mouth while he is nursing. It is a bit messy, so you’ll want to make sure you are wearing clothes you won’t mind get-ting purple stains on. This should only be used for 3 days.

Grapefruit Seed Extract. (not grape seed extract, ACTIVE INGREDIENT MUST BE “CITRICIDAL”), 250 mg (usually 2 tablets) three or four times a day orally (taken by the mother), seems to work well in many cases. If preferred the liquid extract can be taken orally, 5 drops in water three times per day (though this is not as effective). Oral GSE can be used before trying fluconazole, instead of fluconazole or in addition to fluconazole in resistant cases.

Dr. Newman’s All Purpose Nipple Ointment (from his Candida protocol handout): Mupirocin 2% ointment (15 grams), Betamethasone 0.1% ointment (15 grams), and miconazole powder so that the final concentration is 2% miconazole. This combination gives a total volume of just more than 30 grams. This cream requires a prescription.

The combination is applied sparingly after each feeding (except the feeding when the mother uses gentian violet). “Sparingly” means that the nipple and areola will shine but you won’t be able to see the ointment. Do not wash or wipe it off, even if the pharmacist asks you to. I used to use nystatin ointment or miconazole cream (15 grams) as part of the mixture, and these work well enough, but I believe the use of powdered miconazole (or even clotrimazole powder) gives better results. These ointments can be used for any cause of nipple soreness (“all-purpose nipple ointments”), not just for Candida (yeast). Use the ointment until you are pain-free and then decrease frequency over a week or two until stopped. If you are not having less pain af-ter 3 or 4 days of use, or if you need to be using it for longer than two or three weeks to keep pain free, get help or advice.

Vinegar Wash: 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Use at least 4 times per day, after nursing. Use a clean cotton ball/swab to apply every time and let air-dry.

Cut back on your sugar intake. Yeast loves sugar, so the less that is in your body, the less the yeast has to thrive on.

Sterilize anything that goes into your baby’s mouth or has contact with your nipples. This is necessary to kill the yeast that is on those items and prevent it from reinfecting you. This includes any toys, pacifiers, bottle nipples, breast pump parts and your bras.

Wear disposable breast pads. Change them with each nursing and just toss them out. This way, you’re not sterilizing your bra every night.

Some moms have found swimming in a chlorinated pool to clear up their nipple yeast very quickly.

Diflucan/fluconazole is a prescription medicine that is commonly used to treat vaginal yeast infections. It has been shown to be effective against nipple yeast/thrush, especially when the yeast has survived all other treatments or it is a ductal yeast infection (meaning it is in your milk ducts, not just in the nipple area). The dosage for proper treatment is: 400mg loading dose on day one, then 200 mg per day for 13-28 days after, depending on what your health care provider designates as course of treatment.

Treating Yeast Infections Naturally

Yeast infection is a form of vaginitis, an inflammation or infection of the vagina. During a lifetime, almost 75 percent of all women are likely to have at least one vaginal yeast infection and nearly half have two or more according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Candida albicans (which is the cause of yeast infections) is naturally occurring in our bodies and only becomes problematic when it reaches levels that our immune systems cannot fight. It is a yeast-like fungus which is often found in the mouth, vagina, and intestinal tract. It is a normal inhabitant of humans that usually does not cause any adverse effects. This fungus, in combination with the right growing conditions for the bacteria, is what manifests as a yeast infection. Despite what you might think, a yeast infection isn’t only an external problem; it’s also an internal problem. There are many things that can trigger an infection and while most medications treat the symptoms, none cure the actual cause of the infections.

So what are the conditions under which these bacteria can thrive and multiply? Candida albicans thrives in warm, moist areas and especially so if your immune system is already struggling, for example, following a bout of flu or during pregnancy. It is further encouraged by situations such as insufficient cleansing of the genitals following sex – particularly anal followed by vaginal sex – as well as the use of oral contraceptives and some antibiotics. Being exposed to a partner who already has a yeast infection makes you more susceptible to developing a similar infection also. Menstruation and sperm also can contribute to getting a yeast infection. Yeast infections are more common after menopause.

  The fact that many people won’t talk about yeast infections is not surprising. If you have trouble getting rid of yeast infections keep reading. You need to treat the actual infection or prevent one from occurring in the first place. You need to find out the cause of why you may be more susceptible to yeast infections than others.

First and foremost, review your diet! There are a host of factors that actually cause an infection to multiply explosively and get out of hand. Simple sugars actually feed a yeast infection. If you want to alleviate your problem right now you must cut out sugar from your diet in as many ways as possible. Candy, sugary desserts, coke, sugary juices, bottle drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks all need to be reduced or ideally cut out. Strive to restore the pH balance of your body’s own acids.

It’s not just women that can be plagued with yeast infections, anyone can get them. Men, women, children, babies, the elderly. A yeast infection can be chronic and hidden with strange or unusual symptoms that occur from time to time.

People who have diabetes are especially prone to yeast infections. Likewise, taking steroids and some antibiotics may also facilitate overwhelming bacterial infection that will manifest as a yeast infection. In fact, any condition – or treatment for other conditions – that affects a person’s immune system may leave them vulnerable to this troublesome infection. HIV and AIDS sufferers or those with cancers are similarly at risk but even people who are stressed or have dietary deficiencies are more likely to experience recurrent yeast infections. Scratches in the vagina (caused during insertion of tampons or other objects) can also promote yeast infections.

Nix the “feminine deodorant sprays;” no soap, nylon bathing suits, or pantyhose without a cotton crotch. Wear only cotton or nothing at all. Hot, moist environments incubate yeast.

Below are some natural remedies to help alleviate symptoms/infection

1. Vitamin E as a suppository or vitamin E oil can be used once or twice/ day for 3 – 14 days to soothe mucous membranes of the female reproductive organ.

 2.  Vitamin A used this way (per vagina) can be irritating to local tissue, should not be used more than once per day for up to 7 days.

 3. Insert unpasteurized, plain yogurt with a small spoon, spatula or vaginal cream applicator. Insert at night and wear a pad.      Repeat for 3 to 7 nights, until symptoms disappear. Douching with yogurt and water can help, too. It also helps to eat a lot of yogurt.

4.  Another option is to create a douche with water and yogurt and insert it via a squeeze bottle.

 5.  Douche with a vinegar/water solution. One tablespoon of vinegar to one quart of water, once a day. Especially effective when  used with yogurt suppositories.

 6. Lactobacilli such as acidophilus are natural residents of a healthy vagina. They prevent overgrowths of yeast. (They also turn milk into yogurt.) Insert two acidophilus capsules into your vagina daily. Adding Lactobacilli vaginally stops yeast from growing and creates copius amounts of lubrication.

7.  Plain unsweetened yogurt which is available in natural food stores can  be inserted as is into the vagina to help maintain or restore natural  bacterial balance.  Be sure the yogurt you use contains live cultures of  acidophilus or lactobacillus (it will say so on the label). Insert at least two (2) tablespoons daily: you will need to wear a pad. Here are some tips on getting it in there. Yogurt can be inserted with an empty tampon inserter, vaginal cream inserter or a turkey baster (the baster works best). Symptoms should be relieved within 48 hours. If the yeast is persistent and you experience chronic or repeated overgrowths, then your partner needs to be treated as well. If your partner is male, have him soak his penis in yogurt or diluted apple cider for 5 minutes daily to kill the yeast living in or on the glans; this way he won’t keep re-infecting you.

8. If neither acidophilus or yogurt cure the yeast, you need to re-acidify your vagina. Boric Acid is the most efficient, and you can purchase it in the drug store. Dilute it one teaspoon to one cup of warm water and mini-douche daily with the barrel of a syringe, or use a diaphragm jelly inserter which can be bought at the pharmacy without having to buy the jelly. Don’t use if the skin is raw or broken, and discontinue if an irritation develops. This is wet and messy but boric acid is anti-bacterial and will cleanse some non-specific vaginitis as well.

9.  Apple cider vinegar douches (2 tablespoons vinegar to a pint of warm water) is very effective. Even though yeast flourishes in an     acidic environment, there is something in vinegar that inhibits its growth. Vinegar can also inhibit the growth of bacteria and        trichomonas by establishing the proper acidity (pH) for the proliferation of “good” bacteria. Don’t douche for longer than 10 days.

10. Drinking apple cider vinegar daily will help in prevention of a yeast infection, keeping balance in your body.

11. Regular douching should be discouraged. The vagina is a self-cleaning environment, so routine douching shouldn’t be necessary and could make your vagina too alkaline. Women who douche more than three times a month are four to five times more likely to have rampant yeast.

Natural home remedies are an alternative to medical treatments, but it is always best to check with your healthcare provider to go over your natural treatment options.

Maintaining a Healthy Vagina

–         Wipe front to back when urinating to avoid bringing bacteria from the rectum forward

–          DO NOT DOUCHE REGULARLY!  This alters the healthy balance of bacteria in the vagina

–        AVOID pads and tampons with deodorant/perfumed scents – chemical irritants are present and can help promote vaginal irritation

–        Avoid chemical irritants that are present in hot tubs, swimming pools, scented toilet paper, bubble bath vaginal  hygiene products   (such as sprays, powers, soaps, douches)

–      DO NOT USE TALCUM POWDER – this is linked to ovarian cancer

–  Change tampons and pads at least every 4-6 hours- be aware of signs and symptoms of toxic shock syndrome

–  Reduce intake of dairy products and simple sugars – these favor the overgrowth of yeast

–  Consider using condoms for recurrent infections to avoid re-infection

–  Avoid repeated intercourse in a 24 hour period – vaginal pH will not return to normal for 24 hours, and you may be more prone  to an infection during this time

–  Consider taking acidophilus tablets daily – maintains pH in the vagina and prevents the overgrowth of yeast

–  Be aware that vaginal discharge is your friend – discharge is evidence of daily cleaning of your vagina and will change throughout your menstrual cycle

– Wear cotton underwear and/or sleep without underwear – helps promote circulation of air around the vulva – Your vulva sweats more than any other body part

–  Keep your sexual aids clean to avoid re-infection

–  Practice good stress management