If only this post was about bread

This post is going to be about yeast.  I know this is not a fun topic.  I have a few pregnant friends and that has brought the topic to the forefront of my mind recently.  I would hazard a guess that most of you have dealt with yeast and will do so again in your life.  It’s possible that you’ve had thrush while breastfeeding or took antibiotics for a bladder infection and then ended up with a yeast infection…  I sadly know more than I ever wanted to about yeast and so I thought I’d share.  Not the yeast of course, but the knowledge about how to destroy it.  😛

When I was pregnant with Jack I tested positive for Group B Strep, which meant I had to take antibiotics during labor.  Even worse, since my induction lasted two days, I received several doses of the antibiotics.  This effectively destroyed all the bacteria in my body, including the GOOD bacteria that prevents yeast overgrowth.  So when I started breastfeeding and things didn’t go so well with latching and my skin was compromised with cracks, the yeasty bastards attacked me and I ended up with thrush…which was surprisingly hard to treat and lasted for months!  This is not uncommon among new moms.

So, here are some tips for avoiding and eliminating all those yeasty bastards and ending your suffering as quickly and effectively as possible…

  • Cut out the sugar and dairy products – yeast feeds on it and you will have a harder time getting rid of a yeast infection if you are ingesting sugar and/or dairy.  Don’t forget about hidden sugar and dairy (lactose, fructose, sucrose, whey).
  • Stay dry – change pads frequently and make sure the affected area is getting enough air.  Don’t wear stifling fabrics (cotton is nice and breathable) and make sure your pads are adequately wicking away moisture from your skin.  If you have reusable pads, get rid of them until the yeast is gone.
  • Take probiotic supplements.  This one is a biggie, especially if you will be taking antibiotics; probiotics will restore good bacteria to your system.  I’ve heard some women say that these don’t work for them but that may be because some supplements contain sugar or dairy (lactose, sucrose, etc.) in the ingredients or the dosage is incorrect.  (This can be the problem with yogurt.)  If you have a yeast infection, ensure that your dose is at least 10 billion cells and take it 2-3 times a day.  Otherwise a “maintenance” dose is 1-3 billion cultures per day.
  • Other helpful supplements include garlic tablets and grapefruit seed extract.  I do not have direct experience with these.
  • Make sure you wash your laundry on HOT and don’t reuse towels between washings – this includes hand towels.  If you are a mom dealing with thrush, BOIL any pump parts, baby cups, pacifiers and bottles.
  • Wash your hands! (But not with anti-bacterial soap.)
  • Vinegar washes are helpful as yeast hates acidity.  When I had thrush I would use a vinegar wash after every nursing, then allow my skin to air dry before treating it with an antifungal cream (i.e. Monistat).

Also, a note for those of you who are prescribed nystatin – IT SUCKS.  Yeast has become highly resistant to nystatin and more times than not, it’s ineffective in treating yeast infections.

If you’d like to do some more reading and not just take my experience/word for it, go forth!  These are some great resources:

Dr. Jack Newman’s Candida Protocol

Breastfeeding Essentials – Could We Have Thrush?

Kellymom.com’s Thrush Articles and Resources

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