How to treat vasospasm of the nipple?
While breastfeeding is beneficial to both the health of the mother and that of her baby, it also has its share of drawbacks. Among others, a complication called nipple vasospasm. What is it about ? How to spot and treat it? Know everything.
What is nipple vasospasm?
Also known as Raynaud’s nipple syndrome, vasospasm is a contraction of the blood vessels around the nipple. The latter whitens or turns blue-violet. It is manifested by a sensation of itching, burning and tingling.
When blood circulation resumes, the nipple may turn red and cause a kind of “discharge”. Nipple vasospasm usually occurs in a new breastfeeding mother, during or after breastfeeding. It is a common cause of breastfeeding pain. Vasospasm should not be confused with yeast infection, which also causes itching or burning in the nipple. The element that makes the difference is the change in color of the nipple.
What Causes Nipple Vasospasm?
Nipple vasospasm is caused by a contraction of blood vessels that prevents blood from reaching the nipple. This phenomenon occurs in the event of a sudden drop in temperature: by bathing in cold water for example, but also at the end of the head, when the baby releases his mother’s nipple. This then changes color, contracts and can cause pain similar to a burn.
Pain can be felt from a few minutes to several hours. If this phenomenon is mainly related to the cold, it mainly concerns women with Raynaud’s syndrome, which designates a blood circulation disorder in the extremities.
Note that a baby in the wrong position during feeding is likely to increase the risk of nipple vasospasm. In fact, the pinching of the nipple cuts off blood circulation.
Nipple vasospasm: what is the diagnosis?
The diagnosis is essentially clinical. Faced with unusual pain or tingling in the nipple, it is necessary to consult. The gynecologist or midwife will make his diagnosis by proceeding by elimination since it can also be a lesion of the crevice type or an infection. The change in color of the nipple is an indicator that helps guide the diagnosis in favor of vasospasm.
How to treat nipple vasospasm?
Treatment of nipple vasospasm is that of its cause. Thus, a bad latch on the breast will have to be corrected, a candidiasis will have to be treated with a local antifungal to be applied on the nipple and the mouth of the baby. Applying a warm compress can also provide relief.
In case of severe pain, you can take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen. If their administration is contraindicated from the sixth month of pregnancy, it is, on the other hand, authorized during breastfeeding. Be careful, however, of possible side effects, especially if you have a sensitive stomach.
At the same time, supplementation with calcium, magnesium and vitamin B6 seems to improve the situation, although this has not been scientifically proven.
Do you prefer natural treatments?
Some remedies are effective in preventing nipple vasospasm. You can, for example, take 5 grams of Secale Cornutum 5CH before each feeding. In case of strong contractions which occur in the days following childbirth (trenches), it is recommended to take preferably 5 grams of oxytocin 15CH.
How to prevent nipple vasospasm?
Adopting simple measures helps prevent vasospasm of the nipple:
- Avoid cold on the breasts, especially by covering yourself up when you get out of the shower;
- Avoid foods and substances known to be vasoconstrictors: coffee, mint, nicotine;
- Have a varied and balanced diet;
- Engage in regular physical activity.
If breastfeeding, check that the baby is placed in the correct position. Do not hesitate to seek the help of a midwife or a lactation counselor. Preferably, it is recommended to breastfeed in a heated place, while being covered. Finally, as soon as the baby releases the breast, you can apply a hot compress to the nipple and put her bra back on.