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CT scans and breastfeeding?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
So i've been sick a few months now but finally got health insurance. I had an upper GI , an abdominal u/s and blood work. My doc was out of town when the results came in so the covering doctor had the nurse tell me the results
(normal liver/kidney function, no sign of hernia or ulcer, u/s was inconclusive for gastritis or gallstones)... and he ordered an abdominal ct scan. So i called and made the appointment

I arrived at the radiologist office at 8:30 per their request having 5 hours of sleep (sick again last night) and having fasted (no food 4 hours prior to test). And i drank the huge bottle of barrium (nasty stuff).
I wait. and i wait and finally at 9:15 i say 'um, i was sposed to be seen like half an hour ago? i need to get moving here, i have to get home and nurse the baby .

and she says "well, you know you're not allowed to breastfeed for 48 hours after the test right?". Um...no. no one told me that. what the hell? My doc didn't tell me that. The radiologist office never mentioned that?!?! My doctor KNOWS i'm breastfeeding since every freaking visit we discuss what medications i can and can't take cuz i'm nursing!@!! So obviously the covering doctor NEVER READ MY CHART when he ordered the test!?!

obviously i refused the test. I'm waiting for a call from the doctors office - so i can ream the office manager, have her prepare my records so i can pick them up and let my doctor know that I'll be leaving the practice since obviously there is little to no true continuity of care at that office.

this really rots. I'm still sick, have no answers, and now need a new doc too.

If i hadn't told them i was breastfeeding i would have had the test and my son would've been exposed to the iv iodine stuff thru my breastmilk!?!!!
Everything I've read says that the iodine will suppress the babes thyroid function (and I have no thyroid so i'm wondering if THAT was even taken into consideration??)... so i should not have a ct scan while breastfeeding.

and no, my 9mo old would not take pumped milk in a bottle for two days. He's only had like 4 bottles ever and mostly just played with them. He'd wean for sure if he went two days without me.

i'm so upset and angry right now. And i'm tired of living on this diet. No fat, no dairy, no red meat, no caffeine, no chocolate (ok thats the one that really kills me). But mostly i'm tired of being awake all night while my family sleeps because i'm sick.

I'm sick. I'm tired. I'm furious.
Thanks for letting me share
post #2 of 7
Poor thing. Sorry you are so sick & that no one is being too helpful--just what you need when you aren't feeling well, right?

Hope it all gets straightened out. Keep persisting until you get some answers.
post #3 of 7
What was the contrast material? If it was just Barium, you are totally fine. Was there another material they were going to use? For an abdominal CT scan, couldn't Barium alone have been it?

Hugs to feeling sick -- I had been sick off and on all through March. An Upper GI revealed a sliding hiatal hernia. I am taking Nexium and Reglan. And the Barium was the foulest stuff ever to enter my mouth!
post #4 of 7
Oh Barb, I'm so sorry you had to go thru that! Did you check Dr. Hale's website (and/or book) to see what he says? If not, you should. Quite often a Dr. will tell you to not nurse when really it's not true - they just say that to be on the safe side when they really don't know or haven't checked it out.

I think Dr. Hale is a great resource! He's done lots of research on what passes thru milk & what does not (& it sure surprises me how much does not).

check it out: Dr. Hale Info

I hope you're feeling better very soon!!!
post #5 of 7
I had a CT scan and nursed without any restrictions. The doctors and radiologists knew nothing but they checked with the hospital LC who said it was ok. It depends on the type of contast they use. Have you doctor consult an LC or Hale.
post #6 of 7
Originally Posted by wombat
I had a CT scan and nursed without any restrictions. The doctors and radiologists knew nothing but they checked with the hospital LC who said it was ok. It depends on the type of contast they use. Have you doctor consult an LC or Hale.
it depends on whether or not they are using contrast medium like iodine.

the following was taken from: http://www.promom.org/bf_info/stillbf.htm

A not uncommon problem in the early months after delivery is a condition called postpartum thyroiditis, a temporary derangement in the thyroid gland's function. A useful test to help understand the condition is a thyroid scan. However, the test requires that radioactive iodine be given to the mother and this material must not be given to nursing mothers. The radioactive iodine will be found in the milk for weeks, and concentrated in the baby's thyroid. There are ways of dealing with postpartum thyroiditis without doing this test. The drugs a mother might have to take to treat postpartum thyroiditis are compatible with continued breastfeeding (e.g. propranolol, propylthiouracil)
post #7 of 7
Originally Posted by geekgolightly
it depends on whether or not they are using contrast medium like iodine.
i do not know about the uptake of free ions from this medium, but this research contradicts what i know about most radioactive product.....

kellymom.com (a reputable AP/breastfeeding website) has other information:


Use of Radioisotopes (and other imaging agents) during Lactation

* Radiocontrast dyes
* Radioisotopes

Radiocontrast dyes (contrast media used with x-rays)

X-rays, MRIs, CAT scans, Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP), ultrasound, mammograms, etc. do not affect breastfeeding. Barium is sometimes used as a contrast agent; it is not absorbed orally and thus does not affect breastfeeding.

Sometimes radiocontrast dyes are used to aid the imaging - these dyes do not require that mom interrupt breastfeeding.

"Although most package inserts for these products suggest that nursing mothers postpone breastfeeding their babies for 24 hours after use, research indicates that this is not necessary (Kubik-Huch 2000; Rofsky 1993; Nielson 1987; Fitz-John 1982). In Medications and Mothers' Milk (2002), Dr. Thomas Hale explains that 'Although under usual circumstances iodine products are contraindicated in nursing mothers (due to ion trapping in milk), these products are unique in that they are extremely inert and do not release free iodine... They are virtually unabsorbed after oral administration' (Hale, p. 480). In mothers who have used these agents while breastfeeding, no effects have been reported in their nursing babies (Kubik-Huch 2000; Nielson 1987). These preparations are also used in children for diagnostic purposes."

source: Mohrbacher N, Stock J. The Breastfeeding Answer Book, Third Revised Edition. Schaumburg, Illinois: La Leche League International, 2003, p. 508.

"Contrast medium is not appreciably deionated. In addition, the absorption of hydrophilic contrast medium is minimal when it is given orally for imaging studies of the gastrointestinal tract. Since no toxicity is known in full-term infants even after the direct administration of contrast medium, the use of these compounds by breastfeeding women appear to pose no risk to their infants."

source: Ito S. Drug therapy for breast-feeding women (Review). N Engl J Med 2000 Jul 13;343(2):118-26. (see particularly "Iodine-Containing Contrast Medium and Antiseptic Agents" on p. 123-124.)
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