Thrush is a fungal infection caused by an overgrowth of a yeast called candida albicans. This yeast fungus lives on the skin, in the mouth, gut and vagina. It likes warmth and moisture. If your nipples become cracked or damaged, the candida fungus can get into your nipple or breast, causing a thrush infection.

You may have a thrush infection in your breasts if:

  • you start to feel pain in both nipples and/or breasts after feeds, having previously had no pain after feeding. The pain can be quite severe and last for up to an hour after every feed.

It’s not likely to be thrush if:

  • you have experienced pain while feeding in the past
  • the pain affects only one nipple or breast
  • you have a fever or there is a warm red patch on one of your breasts.

If you think you might have thrush, contact a health professional. Thrush in breastfeeding women is usually easily treated with a cream that you spread on and around your nipples after feeds. Always wash your hands straight after applying the cream. You may also need to take antifungal tablets to clear the infection.

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