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Thread: Chronic Shooting Pain -- Time to Give Up?

  1. #1

    Default Chronic Shooting Pain -- Time to Give Up?

    Hi new friends! I'm about to hit my 11-month anniversary of breastfeeding my little boy. For about two months, I've had very sharp and painful sensations after nursing. It starts about 30 minutes after I'm done and lasts for 60-90 minutes before easing up.

    First I just noticed in the morning. Then it was after every time I nursed. Now I've started to notice it after pumping, also. And it HURTS. Like, so much that I've wondered if it's worse than contractions. I'm trying to keep going, in hopes that it's just a phase, but I don't know how much more I can take.

    I've tried switching positions, adjusting his latch, warm compresses, hot showers, Advil... you name it. Some of this has helped but not long-term. The doctor said my son has no signs of thrush. And he's 11 months old, so if it's a latch issue, it won't be easy to fix at this stage.

    Additional background: I'm down to two sessions a day (usually) plus bottle feeding from a frozen stash. Had some overproduction issues which have mostly evened out, but I still get clogs about once a week. And yes, he's been teething for about 5 months already.

    Does this sound familiar to anyone? Any recommendations? I'm about to call it quits, but I feel bad since he does love it. (And I used to, also!) Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,743

    Default Re: Chronic Shooting Pain -- Time to Give Up?

    That sounds unpleasant. Since this is an unusual problem, I have several questions if you do not mind.

    Have you ruled out vasospasm? the timing of the pain seems odd for vasospasm but the intensity of the pain sounds like vasospasm.

    What makes you think the pain is related to latch? It sounds completely unrelated since the pain comes on so long after the nursing session ends.

    How many times total each day is milk removed from the breasts? 2 times for nursing, how many times for pumping?

    When you pump, how much milk do you extract in how much time?

    Where exactly in the breast is the pain? Is it the same for both breasts? When the pain first onset, how many times a day was baby nursing? Did you move to less nursing and more bottles due to the pain or for some other reason?

    Have you tried nursing or pumping immediately when the pain starts? If so, what was the result?

    I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that the plugs and this pain are probably related. Weekly plugs at 11 months is pretty unusual. A typical cause of plugs is infrequent and/or not effective enough milk removal. Infrequent milk removal would also cause milk stasis and that might cause pain in the breasts on its own, or cause plugs or a breast infection that might lead to pain.

    Have you seen an IBCLC or talked to your doctor? Had a breast exam, or done a self exam?

    Do you have any concern that the pain is due to some other issue? Or are you sure it is nursing/pumping/lactating related?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Chronic Shooting Pain -- Time to Give Up?

    Have you tried a course of antibiotics? Or treating this as thrush?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    14

    Default Re: Chronic Shooting Pain -- Time to Give Up?

    This sounds like when I had yeast mastitis while nursing my daughter. I felt sharp, stabbing pains (almost like "zings") that seemed to radiate deep into my breasts - I'd feel them during nursing and for s while after. My nipples also stung and it was uncomfortable wearing clothes over them.

    The doctor initially prescribed Nystatin suspension for my LO and told me to apply clortrimazole to my nipples after nursing (and to rinse them before nursing). This was unsuccessful and the stabbing only got worse. Finally we tried oral Diflucan for me (baby gets some through your milk) - a loading dose day 1 and then two weeks. I felt MUCH better within 3 days and was pain free by two weeks. However, it came back within days and I ended up doing *another* two weeks. That finally did the trick and I never got thrush again.

    I started taking probiotics every day and ate raw fermented foods like it was my job to help prevent future infections.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    14

    Default Re: Chronic Shooting Pain -- Time to Give Up?

    And the pain was bad enough that I remember having to take something stronger than advil in order to stand breastfeeding, and I normally steer clear of pain meds that make me constipated.

    ETA: my daughter also had no signs of thrush at any point - except perhaps a mild diaper rash. The pediatrician checked her mouth and didn't see anything. I even had my milk cultured for bacterial mastitis, which came back negative. Yeast mastitis can be sneaky - I had no idea it could be so painful, too. Thank god for Diflucan - I would have quit breastfeeding without it.
    Last edited by @llli*baraboo; May 27th, 2016 at 11:56 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Chronic Shooting Pain -- Time to Give Up?

    I agree with Baraboo and mommal, you want to look very closely to see if this might be thrush. Babies are often asymptomatic and it can be very painful. Thrush and vasospasm can occur together as well, Jack Newman writes about both of these issues if you want to look at that further: http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/conte...me=information (for thrush see 'candida protocol.' )

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    10

    Default Re: Chronic Shooting Pain -- Time to Give Up?

    I had ductal thrush and it was a burning pain that went all the way back to my shoulder blades and would linger for about an hour after nursing. I didn't know what was going on at the time and had similar thoughts as you; I thought about how natural childbirth was not a bad as that pain. Talk to your OB or Midwife and they can assess and treat you if that's the case. I would never have guessed that I needed to call my midwife for that since I didn't think that was their area, but luckily a lactation counselor I talked to suggested it.

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