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Thread: breast pain

  1. #1
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    Feb 2006
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    Default breast pain

    I hope no one minds me posting this here, but I don't know where else to go for help. My daughter is 5 weeks old. I breastfed her exclusively for the first 2 weeks with basically no problems. At about 2.5 weeks I developed horrible stinging pain in my nipples. I spoke to a hospital lactation consultant and they said it sounded like thrush. I spoke to my ob Dr and they had me try gentian violet for 3 days. I had about 40% improvement but no more. Then they had me start the all purpose nipple ointment. There was no additional improvement, and I also started to have stabbing throbbing pain deep in both breasts, both when nursing and also when not. I also started having a lot of trouble feeding, due to my pain and stress and the baby getting very fussy and not wanting to stay latched-though baby showed no oral signs of thrush. Pediatrician said baby maybe has milk allergy and had me off milk and eggs. 1 week ago I went to see the hospital lactation consultant and they watched a nursing session, weighed baby, etc. After weighing before and after and having me hand express some milk they said baby is not getting enough milk from me and to supplement with formula. The plan was to get a pump to increase my supply and keep nursing her as well and only supplement if she fed for 40 minutes or so well and still crying in hunger, which she was-she seemed to be crying all the time. I supplemented soy formula and she ate 2 oz after 1 breastfeeding session and 4 oz overnight. On Saturday morning I nursed her and it was excruciating, both of us crying like crazy and just very upset. She was doing so well on the bottle and soy-much happier with her full belly, much less crying and less stress all around. I spoke to the doctor and they did not want to start oral diflucan since baby had no symtoms. We discussed stopping nursing, and that is what I did as of Saturday. I was very upset all weekend feeling like I had failed the baby, but it really has seemed like the right thing for her-she is finally getting a full belly and has been quite happy all week. My breast pain is still horrible, though, and the doctors don't seem able to help. I take ibuprofen or tylenol around the clock and that helps, but the stabbing and throbbing deep in the breast is almost unbearable. It is not the pain of engorgement, though I had that for 48hours or so. I also have a very firm lump in the right breast which I warm compress and massage, but it's not improving. I keep contacting the doctor, he says he doesn't need to see me but that if it still hurts in 2-3 weeks they will send me to a breast surgeon for a consult. I can't stand it for 2-3 weeks. I'm sorry to take up so much space here but I'm looking for any help/input on how to improve the breast health/pain. I apologize if this is not the appropriate forum for this question--I just don't know where to turn. Thank you, Scotti

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    100

    Default Re: breast pain

    you stated that you are feeling lumps in your breast. Have they thought maybe that you came down with a case of mastitis. The two times that I had mastitis you could feel the lumps of infection. Sounds alot like mastitis to me. You have said too that you have stinging pain, I had that with my mastitis also. Do you have a fever? Any redness around the breast? If you find that you suffer those two things I wouldn't be waiting even 2 weeks for treatment. Hope that might help you out some. Let me know how things are going for ya.

  3. #3
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: breast pain

    Oh heavens, what a nightmare you've been living! You poor momma! So much pain and it sounds as if nobody is taking it or you seriously!

    Based on your post, it sounds as if your problems started with the thrush at 2.5 weeks pp -- and that the thrush was never properly or adequately treated.

    The only sure and effective way of eradicating thrush in a nursing dyad is to treat both mother and nursling at the same time, thoroughly and completely, and to continue the treatment for 2 weeks after the symptoms _disappear_.

    I'm appalled that your doctor denied you oral diflucan based on your baby's apparent lack of visible thrush.

    The intense pain from the thrush could very easily interfere with your letdown -- so that you were probably making enough milk, but it wasn't being released from your breasts because of your pain and tension. I believe the baby could also have had oral thrush causing her pain and interfering with her latch -- even without visible white patches in her mouth.

    You need to get proper treatment for your thrush. I hope others here will post some reliable links. Please also call a local LLL Leader. You will need to find an up-to-date recommended treatment plan and take it to your doctor (or better still, a doctor that other nursing moms recommend to you) for the right prescription.

    It may seem unimaginable to you right now, but if you are interested in continuing to breastfeed, it should be possible to relactate once you are in better health again. If you've stopped for a week, for example, then with diligent pumping and nursing, you can probably re-establish your milk supply in another week. Not to pressure you either way, but just so you know what is possible so you can make an informed choice for yourself and your baby.

    I am glad you posted here, and I hope we can help you get all the information you need.

    --Rebecca

  4. #4
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: breast pain

    Quote Originally Posted by sheena137
    Do you have a fever? Any redness around the breast? If you find that you suffer those two things I wouldn't be waiting even 2 weeks for treatment.

    ssb -- these are good questions. If that lump is painful to the touch or the breast is hot or red -- and definitely if you have a fever -- please get seen immediately by your doctor. Untreated mastitis can very quickly lead to an abcess, a serious problem that can cause permanent damage.

    Blocked ducts and mastitis frequently follow a sudden weaning, so you are at risk for them right now.

    I doubt, however, that mastitis would have caused stinging pain in both nipples at once -- it more frequently occurs in just one breast at a time. So I think the first diagnosis of thrush is likely correct.

    Hang in there and please persist in finding treatment to protect your health.

    --Rebecca

  5. #5
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    Feb 2006
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    3

    Default Re: breast pain

    Thank you all for your concern and prompt replies! I do not have a fever, and the breast is not red, but the lump is painful to the touch. I think it probably is an area of blocked milk...I have been trying to encourage the reabsorption with the warm compresses and massage, and the doctor's office said to wear a tight sports type bra but not underwire. Previously I was just wearing my Goddess brand nursing bra but this morning I put on a pre-pregnancy sports bra, quite snug, and will see how that works. I guess I should call a local leader to find a doctor that deals more with the breast issues. I really like my current doctor but by his own admission this is not his area of expertise. I feel like the oral diflucan may be the best course, but i'm not the doctor so I didn't argue it. One interesting note is that the nipple pain has improved vastly after stopping nursing, but not the deep pain. Would the nipple pain have gone away if it truly is thrush?
    Thanks again, Scotti

  6. #6
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    Jan 2006
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    683

    Default Re: breast pain

    Please, Scotti, take that sports bra off! Your doctor's office has given you very outdated information! It sounds like you've got a plugged duct which is very easily remedied. Warm compresses and massage are good but you also need to pull that milk out of the breast. Will your baby nurse at all? If so, put her to your breast!!!!! She'll be the most effective at helping you through this. Otherwise, use a pump or at the very least, hand express some milk.

    I'm very sorry that you've gone through all of this. It really appears as though you got some poor information which has lead to a basic breastfeeding mismanagement. You probably had thrush, yes. But thrush is manageable if not completely treatable. Then the stopping nursing has contributed to a plugged duct. Something else very treatable.

    If you are interested in nursing your baby again, let us know -- we can help you.

    Again, I'm really sorry. What a horrible experience this has been for you.
    Last edited by LLLCarol; February 16th, 2006 at 03:24 PM.

  7. #7
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    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: breast pain

    Hi Scotti,

    I'm glad to hear that it doesn't sound like mastitis ... yet. I agree with LLLCarol that you need to move milk out of your breasts to help the blocked duct get unblocked. Either pump or try nursing, whichever works for you. The immediate goal here really is to protect your health.

    Quote Originally Posted by sbb
    .... I guess I should call a local leader to find a doctor that deals more with the breast issues.
    Do call a local LLL Leader for advice and information. She may not be permitted to endorse a particular doctor or lactation consultant -- I think there are liability issues? But if you ask to be put in touch with other nursing moms, I'm sure they can more informally recommend the health care providers they have had good experiences with, as well as names to stay away from.

    One interesting note is that the nipple pain has improved vastly after stopping nursing, but not the deep pain. Would the nipple pain have gone away if it truly is thrush?
    It sounds reasonable to me that the pain could go away after a few days of not nursing. When you are nursing, your nipples and areolas are frequently kept moist and warm, a perfect environment for thrush to develop. If there was any soreness or irritation from latch problems while you were nursing, then that would further foster the thrush problem. In the days since you stopped nursing, your nipples have had some time to heal and get on top of the yeast growth.

    Please take off the sports bra, pump or nurse to move some milk, and start making phone calls today to track down the medical care that you need.

    And as Carol said, if you decide that you want to relactate and resume full-time nursing, don't hesitate to come back here for support and information. But the first priority today should be getting better medical care for your breast pain.

    Good luck -- I'll be thinking about you and hoping for news that you are feeling better very soon.

    --Rebecca

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    117

    Default Re: breast pain

    i had only one lump in my right breast about a week ago but i tried the remedies in 'the womenly art of breastfeeding,' and the lump is now gone. i suspect it was a clogged milk duct, not an infection. also i didn't have a fever which usually means you have an infection.
    also, i was supplementing for the first 2 weeks after breastfeeding and although i didn't have the pain you're describing, i felt similiar, like i had let my baby down. i purchased an electric pump and after nursing i supplement with that, if she's still hungry but now she seems to be getting enough.
    even if you are unable to nurse does it still hurt terribly to pump? could you still pump and feed baby the bm in a bottle?

  9. #9
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    Feb 2006
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    3

    Default Re: breast pain

    I just wanted to thank you all for your help. I did as suggested and went back to the nursing bra rather than sports bra. I tried to get the baby to nurse to help the clogged duct, but she got very frustrated when not much milk came out. I hand expressed the milk after warm compressing over about 36 hours and the lump is gone. The pain has improved, although the stabbing throbbing still occurs at various times throughout the day. I have a doctor's appointment Friday and will again discuss with him,this time in person, whether I should start an oral anti-yeast medication.

    Thanks again

    Scotti

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Default Re: breast pain

    Scotti, thanks for the update. It sounds like you have turned the corner and are on the mend. Continue to be watchful for signs of further clogged ducts or mastitis. I would recommend that you continue to express milk for at least a few days, although -- if you are certain that you are done nursing -- you can decrease the frequency over time. The goal is to avoid an abrupt end to lactation, in order to protect your breast health.

    I hope you are 100% better very soon.

    --Rebecca

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