Yeast infection results from overgrowth of yeast, and may affect every part of the body. Yeasts are types of fungus, and the most common type of yeast infection is the Candida albicans overgrowth, also known as Candidiasis. These fungi normally live on different surfaces of the body, and certain conditions are especially good for their growth and reproduction. For example, fungi thieve and grow on dark, moist and warm surfaces. Delicate folds on the skin and parts of the skin that do not get enough ventilation or sun exposure are the most common places of infection. Women usually get fungal infections on the mucus membranes of the mouth and vagina, skin folds, bra pads, and on persistently wet nipples.
Signs and symptoms of breast yeast infection
Yeast infection on breasts usually manifests as extremely sore, burning, itching or red nipples. The nipples may even appear blistery and a woman may have the sensation of shooting pains in the breasts during or just after feeding. The pain is very strong, especially during the milk ejection reflex. In most cases, the baby will also have the oral thrush, or yeasty diaper rash. The oral thrush is characterized by whitish, cottage-cheese-like patches on the tongue and the inner sides of the cheeks. The patches are easily removed, but they usually leave light bleeding or pain. Yeast infections in lactating women are usually associated with nipple soreness, which develops after a period of pain-free breastfeeding. Moreover, women who are taking or have just finished taking an antibiotic therapy are at a higher risk of developing breast yeast infection. The infection occurs when antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria, changing the natural balance in the body, and making sufficient conditions for candida overgrowth.
Treatment of breast yeast infection
In most cases, doctors will recommend applying a topical antifungal cream on the nipples. Baby will also have to undergo a treatment for oral thrush, even if the symptoms of the infection are not present. Women are advised to take a lot of yogurt and oral acidophilus to rebuild the normal bacterial flora in the body.Prevention of breast yeast infection
The best way to avoid getting breast yeast infection is to expose the bra and breasts to sunshine, every day for a couple of minutes. Women should also air-dry the nipples after each feeding and always choose 100% cotton bras and breast pads, instead of plastic-lined ones. Women should change their underwear every day and wash them daily in hot water.