Thrush, a yeast infection caused by the fungus Candida albicans
Candida albicans is a yeast (a fungal infection) that is present in all our intestines. It affects adults, children and newborns when our resistance is lowered. Because a baby's immune system is not mature, it is most common amongst them. White spots will appear in the child's mouth over small black ulcers. This can affect the baby's ability to drink and eat.
If a mother has a yeast infection in her vagina, a baby can already become infected in the birth canal, but it can also be transmitted after birth through being handled by carers. Thrush is no reason to stop breastfeeding, and it can disappear of its own accord after a few weeks. It is only when problems are clearly long-term, such as struggling to eat or drink for an extended period or painful breasts, that it is best to treat it.
Thrush spreading between mother and child
A Candida albicans infection can be transmitted through your nipples when nursing. When this happens it is common that the mother and child continue to re-infect each other, which is why it is quite possible that they do not display the symptoms simultaneously.
Prescribed medication (Fluconazole, Daktarin, etc) for thrush
If thrush arises people tend to consult a doctor, who will prescribe a fungicide for both you and your baby, including when one of you has not yet been infected.
If the thrush is in the form of a mouth infection, Daktarin gel is the most common prescription, which may only be used on children of four months or older. If you are suffering from a nipple infection then either a fungicidal cream or gel containing miconazole (Daktarin) or nystatin or an oral fungicide containing fluconazole (trade names: Diflucan, Candizole or the generic Fluconazoe) is prescribed.
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