Monday, December 22, 2014

My Battle with Thrush - Ouch!! - Coconut Oil for Relief

     I had my third baby almost three weeks ago. I wanted to share my experience with a nasty infection called Thrush.  It is the worst! So much pain and frustration.  I wanted to share that through a lot of research, persistence, and determination.. I was able to fight it off and get through the worst; with the help of coconut oil.  This stuff helped me through the worst of Thrush.  Here is my experience:

     I have always had a hard time with breastfeeding, but this time was a nightmare.  The constant pain during feedings and discomfort in between was driving me up the wall! When my son was about 1 week old, I noticed the white patches on his tongue.  I remember my first had this, but it was only a thin layer of milk.  This time the whiteness seemed thick and was lining his lips and cheeks as well.

Google it...oh no!...Thrush. :(
Research more.
Get worried.
Call the doctor?
Research even more...
Go to urgent care.

     The urgent care doctor confirmed the baby had Thrush.  She said I showed no symptoms but could have or develop it.  She prescribed my baby with liquid Nystatin and gave me Nystatin Cream for my nipples.  The instructions were to apply it until the symptoms are gone and then continue to apply the meds for two extra days.  That's it?  The research online said I needed to boil all pacifiers, bottles, and breast pumps.  It said I needed to wash all clothing in hot water.  It said I need to completely change my diet in order to keep the Thrush from returning.  Well, being the stress-case that I am, I have done everything I read to do.  On top of everything, I developed a nasty hole (a fissure) on the side of my right nipple from a bad latch. OUCH!  I pumped on that side for about 48 hrs and then continued to breastfeed on it but holy cow!...

It was the most excruciating, eye-watering pain of my life! No joke. I hated life and broke down in tears several times because I felt tortured physically and mentally.  

I was highly tempted to give up nursing and go to formula, but my instinct kept telling me I could make it through the pain.  I told myself, "Just make it through the week."  So I continued to fight the horrible infection and endure the pain.  Here is the crazy run down of my routine:

1. Breastfeed.
2. Rinse nipple with water/vinegar mixture (1 cup water + 1 tbsp white distilled vinegar)
2. Apply Nystatin.
3. Air dry as much as possible. (Yes, I've gone topless for most of the days.)
---Give baby liquid Nystatin---
4. Clean off Nystatin cream using the water/vinegar mixture.
5. Apply coconut oil to nipples.  (I used this specifically to treat my nipple fissure instead of lanolin due to reading that yeast tends to like lanolin cream. And apparently coconut oil has anti-fungal properties.)
6. Air dry.
7. Breastfeed.
8. Repeat.

     NOT FUN!  I've had some very rough days filled with tears and prayers.  My poor daughters were not treated very nicely during my very painful feeding sessions.  But the liquid Nystatin was working fast on my son.  His white patches almost completely disappeared in just a few days.  Some would return a day later but not nearly as much and so I continued to use those meds for him.

     My biggest challenge was cutting out all sugar and breads.  This was advice I got from a friend.  She said she did this diet and her infection was gone in less than a week.  If that really works, no problem!  Boy was I wrong.  I only made it 2 days before I started eating breads and cereals again.  I started to feel depressed with all the healthy food I was consuming.  I know it sounds strange, but I was so envious of a simple bowl of Cheerios that my daughters would eat for breakfast.  My husband encouraged me to eat normally but to still cut down on the bad sugars like soda, desserts, junk food, and my biggest weakness...Oreos! Mmmm.  I also started taking probiotic capsules every day.

     After a week I was not using the Nystatin cream anymore. I felt like the coconut oil was doing more good than anything.  It was also helping my fissure to heal quickly.  All the time letting my nipples air dry was SO good for the healing process.  It was exactly a week after going to the doctor that I started feeling tremendous relief.  I was so grateful for every breastfeeding session that didn't have me in teeth-grinding pain.  Slowly, I felt more relief and only slight discomfort during feedings.  I'm sure everything I did to fight off the Thrush was helpful, but I think most of the credit goes to the amazing COCONUT OIL.
It really worked fast with relief and healing.  I am now recovering quickly and I am feeling so much better.  Fingers crossed that the nasty beast doesn't return!

Here are the most helpful sites I found:
Thrush at The Pump Station
Nipple Thrush Treatment Options
Yeast Infections or Thrush
Healing Tips for Nipple Cracks or Abrasions