Breast fissures – the symptoms of which can be unbearable – are abrasion-like wounds. That can form radially on the nipple of new mothers during the early days of breastfeeding. Causes and remedies for breast fissures are different in each case. In some women they are superficial. Therefore they generate only a little discomfort, but not so much as to justify interrupting breastfeeding. In other cases, they are so deep that they cause severe pain and bleeding and make feedings a real torment. How to cure breast fissures naturally? Which cream to use and how long does it take to heal? Let’s go in order.
What are breast fissures
They are small cuts or nipple cracks that form on the nipple of the new mother – images and photos of the fissures available on the web speak for themselves – in the first days of breastfeeding. They can be mild and resolve in a few days or be really painful enough to induce the mother to resort to artificial breastfeeding. What problems do fissures cause? One possible complication is mastitis, a breast infection quite frequently during the lactation period that affects 2-10% of breastfeeding women.
It is estimated that in the first 5 days after birth, approximately 35% of breastfeeding mothers’ nipples present damage. 69% of mothers experience nipple pain. Improper use of the breast pump can also cause it to appear. It can develop if the suction settings are too high, for example.
Breastfeeding mothers in pregnancy
Before moving on to the symptoms it is necessary to specify how experiencing breast fissures without breastfeeding is not impossible. This is the case, for example, of breast fissures during pregnancy. During this period the breast can become excessively filled with milk. The excess can cause the elongation and breakage of the nipple tissue.
Breast fissures in menopause
Breast fissures in menopause, although less frequent, are possible: experiencing breast pain in menopause is a fairly common condition. The formation of fissures may be due to the fact that the skin of the breast appears tight during this phase and lead to a pain similar to burning.
Breast fissures without breastfeeding
But even those who jog or run covering long distances can experience nipple fissures. The risk derives from the continuous and prolonged rubbing of the nipples with t-shirts. In the summer, when the shirts are sweaty, as well as in the winter. When it is cold and the nipples are erect.
Finally, they may be due to an allergic reaction to some product that comes into contact with the skin. Such as the detergent or fabric softener we use for laundry, or shampoo or shower gel. Fortunately, some natural remedies or simple lifestyle changes can relieve symptoms and cure breast fissures.
Symptoms of breast fissures
We have said that their symptoms can be truly unbearable. And, in fact, breast fissures (which can affect one or both breasts) can manifest themselves through:
Causes and treatments of nipple pain and fissure
Why do breast fissures come? Among the causes there is often a genetic component, or a family predisposition. Having a retracted nipple can also facilitate the onset of these painful cracks, because breastfeeding is more complicated. There are, then, a series of possible non-organic causes that favor the formation of fissures in the breast in breastfeeding. Among these the most frequent are to be found in errors in the position of breastfeeding, as well as the habit of always giving the breast from the same part and too long.
How to cure breast fissures
How are breast fissures treated? Deep ones can still be cured by applying suitable ointments to the lesions (an effective breast fissure cream is the zinc oxide cream. The same used to protect the baby’s ass from redness and diaper rash) or lanolin, and perfectly disinfecting the nipple before and after each feed.
It is important, in fact, to prevent fissures from becoming infected also because this could cause problems in the newborn. Such as Candida thrush, but above all aggravate to lead to mastitis, or painful inflammation of the breasts. Discussed, as we will see shortly, is the use of the nipple shield.
Breast fissures natural remedies
The silver cups for breast fissures represent one of the natural remedies against the symptoms of this pathology. This is thanks to the healing, antibacterial and disinfectant properties of the material. By protecting the nipples from contact with external bacterial agents between feedings, they bring benefits and relief.
Furthermore, compared to the creams and lotions available in pharmacies. They have the advantage of not causing dryness or irritation of the skin. Finally, they do not leave substances on the nipple that with their taste could influence the feeding. However, some experts tend to advise against them due to the possibility that they can retain moisture. And, consequently, slow down the healing process.
How to heal the fissures? The most effective of the grandmother’s remedies for breast fissures is breast milk. This boasts natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, so it helps heal wounds around the nipple. Plus it’s totally natural, an added bonus. Remember, after each feeding, to wash your nipples with warm water and let them air dry by dabbing them.
The ideal solution, however, is to prevent this typical breast disorder. For example by learning the right technique to breastfeed the baby right away.
During feedings, the mother will have to arrange the newborn so that with her mouth she can grasp the entire aerola and not just the tip of the nipple, because otherwise, pulling, she could cause abrasions.
In addition, it is also very important to modulate the duration of each feed.
Midwives advise not to go beyond 15 minutes per breast, so that the nipple does not become inflamed.
Finally, before giving the breast to the baby, the skin of the areola and nipple should be nourished with natural oils, such as sweet almond, which will make the skin much more protected and elastic.
Hygiene in this period must also be particularly delicate. Never use aggressive detergents and soaps, it is better to air dry your breasts or clean them with special wipes, even before feeding.
Another advice provided by the experts is to avoid consuming spicy foods, which can cause irritation of the mucous membranes and mucous membranes, and to wear loose clothing that does not rub on the area.
To prevent breast fissures on the nipple from friction, however, wear clothing in soft material, sports bras that are tight but not too tight and moisturize the area with special products.
It can be useful to apply an adhesive gauze on the nipples before wearing bras or t-shirts.
Breast fissures, how long they last
How long does it take for breast fissures to heal? They can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to heal. Fortunately, the pain can improve much sooner. Many new mothers ask themselves “How do I breastfeed with fissures?”
If in general it is never advisable to stop breastfeeding, unless there is a risk of virus infection through milk, mastitis or other consequences, in case of unbearable pain you can always resort to a breast pump to extract the milk more comfortably and give it to the baby through the bottle.
What to do if the fissures do not heal?
In this case, it is advisable to contact your doctor, pediatrician or a breastfeeding consultant. By doing so you can eventually check if and where you are wrong and understand what is the best position for an effective attack in your case.
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Vogue Health Team