I am a nursing mother fighting yeast in the breast tissue for 7 months now…lots of ways and LOTS of pain! Baby has had no thrush or diaper rash. He has had repeated ear infections and therefore lots of meds…argh! I know he has internal yeast, too. Is there anything else I can do that will help? I’ve also been on a sugar/ carb free diet for months. I’ve tried meds, herbs, etc. HELP!!
Fighting Yeast In The Body
Whoa is me! I feel for you mama’s fighting yeast, thrush, systemic candida… whatever you’re dealing with because it’s a long process and a huge pain… especially if you’re doing it naturally. I know. I’ve been there.
There are a lot of online resources for dealing with candida (yeast) in the gut and on the skin (vaginal infections, baby’s mouth and bottom, nipples, groin area). If you do a Google search you’ll get a lot of different stories and remedies to try. So today, instead of adding to that, I’m going to tell you about it, about your two options (medication vs. natural treatment), and then I’ll tell you what I’d do if I were you at the bottom.
Yeast Is Everywhere
We all have yeast on our bodies and in our bodies. It only becomes a problem if something causes it to overgrow. If you have sufficient amounts of healthy bacteria in your gut, then it will keep yeast at the appropriate levels. If you take antibiotics (or even lots of Grapefruit Seed Extract), you’ll kill off the healthy bacteria in your gut and the yeast can overgrow leading to systemic candida. I should also note here that there are at least 10 different strains of candida… some are more stubborn than others.
I’m guessing this is what’s led to your yeast issue since your kiddo has had repeated ear infections and medications from it. Honestly, I’m not sure if antibiotic ear drops can cause this type of unbalance between healthy and unhealthy bacteria in the gut or if it’s only from oral antibiotics, but something has upset your little one’s balance in order for the yeast to overgrow.
Another common cause is diet. We Americans tend to eat way to many carbs and way to much sugar. Even eating a lot of fruit can be a problem… especially if you’re dealing with yeast. Yeast feed off of sugar. Carbs break down into sugars in the gut. You said you’d been on a sugar and carb free diet for months so that’s a step in the right direction.
Medication can definitely get rid of yeast, but it also has a negative side you should know about. There are two things you need to consider when using yeast medications.
1. Sometimes it doesn’t work which causes the yeast to adapt to it. This means that the next time you use this same medication it won’t work and your yeast issue can get worse. That means you’ll be moving on to stronger antifungal meds which are more harmful to your body, or you’ll chose to do things naturally. Going the natural route at this point can be harder because the yeast has become stronger and more in number.
If you do choose the common medication for yeast (Nystatin) be sure to use it until you’re sure the yeast is gone and then follow up with the natural treatments below to do you best to keep the yeast from coming back. Nystatin is said to be the mildest, which is why it’s prescribed for babies, because it isn’t absorbed by the GI tract. It’s passed out in baby’s stool and not absorbed into the body… which is good.
2. If the common antifungal medication (Nystatin) doesn’t work, keep in mind that the stronger antifungal meds are some of the worst medications for your liver. Every time you use these on yourself and your kid… and with yeast it can be a lot… you’re slowly damaging your liver.
To me… with what I know now… meds are not my first option. I can’t stand thrush… especially when nursing. Everything in me wants to run to the doctor and grab the Nystatin prescription they’ll be throwing at me so I can get rid of it quickly as soon as it shows up, but when I consider the above things… I decide to go natural first and save the meds for when I REALLY need them. That’s what they were made for.
Treating yeast naturally is a long road, and like I said, I’m not going to cover everything here because so many awesome people are already doing so online. You can find a lot of different remedies that can help you. I just want to give you some solid direction in what to look for.
1. Start with diet
- If you’re suffering with yeast in your gut… cut out all carbs and sugar. It’s TOUGH, but it will help. Yeast feed off these things so getting rid of them in your diet will help get rid of the yeast.
- Drink herbal tea that has antifungal properties to help kill off any extra yeast in your gut.
- Replace healthy bacteria in your gut using probiotics and fermented or cultured foods. Yogurt, kiefer, kombucha, sauerkraut and other similar foods can help.
Yeast spreads sooooo easily. Keep yourself clean.
- If you’re nursing, use disposable nursing pads so yeast doesn’t get on your bra. It’s difficult to wash clothes and kill yeast. You have to use HOT, HOT water, and that’s a lot of changing and washing clothes.
- If baby has yeast in his mouth (thrush), consider pumping so you don’t pass the yeast back and forth. Plus this helps with the pain factor of mom getting yeast on her and trying to nurse. OUCH!!!!! Be sure that you wash all pump parts that touch you as well as baby bottles and pacifiers really, really well. Remember… HOT, HOT, HOT!
- If it’s on your baby’s bottom, switch to disposable diapers (healthy ones if possible) or just accept the fact that you’ll need to wash cloth diapers more.
- Lastly… I need to add this in. You and your man can pass yeast back and forth during sex. Yep. Especially if your man is uncircumcised. (No nasty circumcision comments please. GUH is Switzerland on this issue. To each his own. Please keep your opinions to yourself or they’ll be removed!) If you’re struggling with yeast, your man needs to be treated too!
3. Focus on pH
If you’re dealing with yeast on the skin, one thing you can do is change the pH of your skin. Yeast (and most nasty things) like acidic environments. If you can make your skin more alkaline, you’re making an unsuitable environment for yeast to live it. Apple cider vinegar and baking soda washes and rinses work really well.
4. Antifungal herbal supplements
Lastly, there are herbal options that will help. Creams, teas, douches, capsules, and tinctures all exist to help your body get rid of yeast. If one herb doesn’t work for you, go for something else. Not all herbs work for all people. You’ve got to keep trying. If you’re doing the above 3 things, then adding in herbal supplements can be the thing that helps get you over this battle. Google “antifungal herbs” to find out what’s available. You can buy pre-made products or you can make your own. Just be sure the herbs you’re checking out are safe for you while nursing and for your baby.
Yeast is a tough one, but it can be done naturally if you’re consistent and you’re patient. It won’t last forever. So many women have fought this battle naturally and are very sympathetic and willing to help give you suggestions and direction.
Now if it were me again, and I were in your exact situation…
I’d research and figure out how to treat my little one’s ear infections naturally to cut back on those antibiotics. Did you know that most doctors don’t even treat ear infections any more if the kid is below a certain age. That’s right! Recent studies have shown that they go away on their own and that comfort measures are all that are needed.
As for the yeast. I’d start with the diet, hygiene, and pH areas I discussed above. As for supplements, I’d make myself a good antifungal tincture (or buy one) and take it religiously. I’d also make an oil or cream to use on the breast with the yeast in it. (Yes yeast can travel into the milk ducts!) That way I’m fighting yeast on the inside of my body with the tincture and through the skin with the cream/oil.
Now… for baby… I’d do all the same things for him, minus the oil or cream unless he starts showing external signs of yeast.
I will add that although I do follow the above natural methods with thrush, I’ve always had to get the meds as well to help. I want to be upfront and honest with you. I’m not anti-medicine… just anti-meds right off the bat! I don’t know if my baby’s and I tend to get the more resistant strains of candida or what, but I can do all the natural methods above and they help clear the thrush up until it’s almost gone, but they won’t totally get rid of it. I end up needing the meds to fully kick it. If I don’t, it tends to come back with a vengence, leaving me as one sore, MISERABLE, nursing mama, and well… baby has to eat something. It’s either the meds or formula so we’ll take our chances with the meds. Thankfully though, it clears up quickly at that point so we’re not on meds for long, and I go back to the natural methods after that in order to keep it from coming back.
Hope this helps! If you have any other questions, ask away in the comment section below!
xo xo, Meagan