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Thread: Vasospasms & Thrush How to deal w/ pain?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Default Vasospasms & Thrush How to deal w/ pain?

    Hello ladies,

    I found this forum a week ago when I was desperate for some answers. Since then I have been reading here for encouragement and advice and thought it was time to post myself since I feel like I am hitting a wall.

    My son will be 5 weeks on Sunday. Breastfeeding has been quite the challenge for us. He had a poor latch in the beginning which resulted in me getting very cracked, bleeding nipples. We went to the lactation consultants and got it worked out. I thought we were over the hurdle. A few weeks later, I started feeling a lot of pain again. The pain at latch-on was excruciating, nursing was becoming painful, and the pain was starting to continue between feedings as well. However, he wasn't doing any damage to me so I couldn't figure out what was going on.

    After a few days, I decided I had enough and called the lactation consultants again. I went in that night to make sure we weren't still having latch issues, which she said we weren't. After a lot of discussion she determined I was having vasospasms and due to the pinkish/red shiny look of my nipples, I also might be dealing with thrush, although neither he nor I showed any other signs of it.

    She suggested I call my doctor and his pediatrician to get meds for the thrush, but my doctor wouldn't call me in anything since they weren't convinced I had it. The lactation consultant told me I could put a few drops of my son's Nystantin on my nipples after each feeding while treating him. I've been doing this for 36 hours now and so far, am not seeing much of a difference. I am also taking some pretty heavy duty probiotics three times a day and cut out all sugar from my diet. When I went to feed him this morning, it took a few times to get him latched and I realized I had blood coming out of one of my milk ducts so now I am wondering if it's getting worse. So my questions are:

    1) Can vasospasms cause latch on pain and pain while nursing? I thought I asked the lactation consultant this, but we talked about so much I can't remember her answer. I'm hoping this isn't something I am just going to have to live with.

    2) Has anyone treated thrush this way, and if so, how long did it take for the pain to improve? Is there anything else I should be doing to treat this? I'm willing to call my doctor again, but I have my postpartum checkup on Monday and just thought I'd wait until then to discuss it, but also don't want to be in more pain or get worse over the weekend.

    3) Does it sound like there could be something else going on here that I am missing?

    Sorry this is so long. I just am desperate and need advice. I'm tired of cringing when feeding time comes around and gritting my teeth through it. Breastfeeding is the only choice for me, so quitting is not an option, but I also don't know how much more of this pain I can take. I feel like I am learning to manage the vasospasms and the pain between nursing has definitely decreased, but I welcome any advice or experience in dealing with either of these. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,361

    Default Re: Vasospasms & Thrush How to deal w/ p

    Welcome to the forum! I am sorry you found us do to having a problem, but hopefully we'll be able to help you solve it and then you can just enjoy nursing and hang around for fun.

    1. Vasospasms can cause pain on latching on, but if they do it's probably due to an underlying problem with vasospasms that has nothing to do with nursing. Raynaud's phenomenon would be a likely cause if this were the case. However, when a mom has pain on latch and while nursing, it is much more likely that the vasospasms are being caused by compression of the nipple due to an issue with the baby's latch. When your baby lets go of the breast, how would you describe the shape of your nipple? Is it symmetrical, like a pencil eraser, or asymmetrical/wedged/creased, like a new lipstick?

    2. I don't know much about thrush, but there are all sorts of varieties of treatments. There may be something useful here: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...resources.html

    3. Yes. Bacterial infection, problem with baby's latch, nipple bleb/blister- those are just the ones that spring to mind. It can be hard to find the right explanation for nursing pain, and I don't think that you're on the wrong track- just that it makes sense to explore those other options, too.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Vasospasms & Thrush How to deal w/ p

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    Welcome to the forum! I am sorry you found us do to having a problem, but hopefully we'll be able to help you solve it and then you can just enjoy nursing and hang around for fun.

    1. Vasospasms can cause pain on latching on, but if they do it's probably due to an underlying problem with vasospasms that has nothing to do with nursing. Raynaud's phenomenon would be a likely cause if this were the case. However, when a mom has pain on latch and while nursing, it is much more likely that the vasospasms are being caused by compression of the nipple due to an issue with the baby's latch. When your baby lets go of the breast, how would you describe the shape of your nipple? Is it symmetrical, like a pencil eraser, or asymmetrical/wedged/creased, like a new lipstick?

    2. I don't know much about thrush, but there are all sorts of varieties of treatments. There may be something useful here: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/...resources.html

    3. Yes. Bacterial infection, problem with baby's latch, nipple bleb/blister- those are just the ones that spring to mind. It can be hard to find the right explanation for nursing pain, and I don't think that you're on the wrong track- just that it makes sense to explore those other options, too.
    1. I've wondered about nipple compression. For the most part it's rounded but occasionally it is flat and creased. It goes white and I lose circulation a few minutes after nursing but as long as I don't expose the nipple to cold, I can minimize this happening. It used to happen everytime, but it's happening a lot less frequently. I guess I'm secretly hoping the underlying problem IS the thrush so I could treat it and it would go away.

    2. Thanks for the link. I've actually looked at that and am doing everything I can without a doctors prescription. I'm thinking I should probably call in again.

    3. I really don't think the problem is with his latch. We've worked on it so much and it felt okay until a week or two ago. Not to mention no matter how he latches the pain is the same. I definitely don't have any blisters at the moment. He gave me one earlier in the week but then popped it during the next feeding and it has healed. I'll have to look into the bacterial infection. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Thanks for all the advice and suggestions!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Vasospasms & Thrush How to deal w/ p

    I've had both of those problems. For me, the pain got much better as LO's mouth got bigger, bc the nipple wasn't as traumatized (we too worked on the latch forever, but regardless of the position, one nipple is always funny shaped after nursing). Not getting cold was the most important thing I could do when he was little. I got those microwave buckwheat headache bags and would heat them and stick them in my bra. I do think it can be hard to tell the difference btwn vasospasms and early thrush, when baby is asymptomatic, and that's after struggling with them both for months. Advil also helped with the vasospasm pain.

    As for thrush, nystatin never works. I would use lotrimin over nystatin. Some people find vinegar washes of the nipples help, or grapefruit seed extract. If you do start to experience clear symptoms, treat you and baby with diflucan. You can read all about diff thrush treatments :

    http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/conte...agename=doc-CP

    Diflucan has worked for us several times.

    It sounds like you are committed. If so, I can tell you that it will get better, esp as baby gets older. You may have another month or two of pain, but just manage it the best you can (I found that it really helped to watch movies during the painful latch, so that I could avoid focusing on the pain). The longterm benefits are totally worth it.
    Kate

    Mother to a sweet boy, born at 34 weeks on 2/11/11.
    Proud that I grew 26 lbs of baby before solids, and still counting...

    We received banked milk in the NICU. Thank you, donors!!!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Vasospasms & Thrush How to deal w/ p

    For me, thrush never gets better with nystatin. I use Diflucan, and I use clotrimazole, aka Lotrimin.

    I have had to get pretty insistent with the doc. "I have thrush. My midwife says so. Baby must be treated or it won't go away."

    Use the same techniques for the pain as you did for childbirth.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Vasospasms & Thrush How to deal w/ p

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*katmar View Post
    I've had both of those problems. For me, the pain got much better as LO's mouth got bigger, bc the nipple wasn't as traumatized (we too worked on the latch forever, but regardless of the position, one nipple is always funny shaped after nursing). Not getting cold was the most important thing I could do when he was little. I got those microwave buckwheat headache bags and would heat them and stick them in my bra. I do think it can be hard to tell the difference btwn vasospasms and early thrush, when baby is asymptomatic, and that's after struggling with them both for months. Advil also helped with the vasospasm pain.

    As for thrush, nystatin never works. I would use lotrimin over nystatin. Some people find vinegar washes of the nipples help, or grapefruit seed extract. If you do start to experience clear symptoms, treat you and baby with diflucan. You can read all about diff thrush treatments :

    http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/conte...agename=doc-CP

    Diflucan has worked for us several times.

    It sounds like you are committed. If so, I can tell you that it will get better, esp as baby gets older. You may have another month or two of pain, but just manage it the best you can (I found that it really helped to watch movies during the painful latch, so that I could avoid focusing on the pain). The longterm benefits are totally worth it.
    Thank you so much for the encouragement! It sounds like my experience has been very similar to yours. My friend had some problems in the beginning too and told me the same thing about the nipple shape. She worked hard on the latch but said no matter what it was just going to come out creased. It corrected itself when the baby's mouth got bigger and just keeps encouraging me to push through it. The lactation consultant gave me pretty much the same advice.

    Good to know about the nystatin. I have been starting to have clear symptoms. There is some whiteness in my nipple that I noticed yesterday. I put a call in again to my doctors office and got the same nurse who is really nice. She is going to talk to a different OBGYN and push to get me some meds. My son still is not showing many signs though. He hasn't let me get a good look in his mouth, but from I can see, I haven't noticed any white spots. He looks like he might have the start of a yeast diaper rash as of today, but I'm waiting to see if it progresses.

    I am committed. I believe in breastfeeding and will not formula feed and refuse to even start supplementing. I have been doing your movie idea for the most part and it helps. I usually just make sure I can find a good show on to watch so I can focus on that and not the pain.

    Thanks again for all your tips!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Vasospasms & Thrush How to deal w/ p

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*aprilsmagic View Post
    For me, thrush never gets better with nystatin. I use Diflucan, and I use clotrimazole, aka Lotrimin.

    I have had to get pretty insistent with the doc. "I have thrush. My midwife says so. Baby must be treated or it won't go away."

    Use the same techniques for the pain as you did for childbirth.
    Thank you for the tips. I did put a call in to my doctor and was more insistent this time. I'm waiting to hear back but hoping they will call me in some diflucan.

    You're right about childbirth. I pushed myself to have a natural, med-free labor so I keep telling myself I can push through this too. I'm willing to endure it because I know it is what's best for him. I'm just really hoping for some relief soon though.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Vasospasms & Thrush How to deal w/ p

    If your doctor won't prescribe the pediatrician can or your OB (unless this is your OB then try your regular doctor). You can also have the LC call and recommend to doctor. I highly recommend APNO (all purpose nipple ointment).

    If all doctors say no or if you are so inclined do some research on gentian violet. It is a natural remedy some moms choose to use, typically with great success.
    Baby Girl "Piper" born Feb 12th, 2010. She is a true blessing!

    And a baby who is now an Angel in Heaven Feb 7th, 2008.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Vasospasms & Thrush How to deal w/ p

    If it is thrush, baby must be treated as well. It does not matter if baby has symptoms or not. And Nystatin has been proven to be very ineffective. I agree with pp, esp. if you cannot get the proper prescription treatments, gentian violet is worth a try.

    The recommended treatments for thrush, both prescription and OTC, with data on effectiveness, proper dosage, etc, is outlined very clearly in Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple (Mohrbacher, 2010) a lactation textbook that any lactation consultant should have. Frankly any peds or OB office should have it too but of course they won't.

    Are you using heat after nursing to help with the vasospasm pain? otherwise, mommal covered vasospasm and other pain possibilities so, what she said.

    When I had bad nipple pain when my toddler nursed when I was pregnant, I took deep slow breaths, daydreamed, or read.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; January 27th, 2012 at 04:55 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Vasospasms & Thrush How to deal w/ p

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*crunchymama06 View Post
    When I went to feed him this morning, it took a few times to get him latched and I realized I had blood coming out of one of my milk ducts so now I am wondering if it's getting worse.
    I haven't heard of bleeding as a symptom of thrush. Could the nipple have been damaged a bit when he had trouble latching? Has it happened any more since?
    Karen
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