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Eczema on breasts - I'm losing my mind!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I don't know how much longer I can take this. Since ds2 was about 4 months old, I have had horrible eczema on my nipples and breasts. I don't even know what to do anymore. I broke down and tried steroid creams, and it will go away, but then after a day or two of nursing, it's back, especially in the morning after he's been nursing all night. Plus, I have to wipe off the steroid cream before he nurses, and he inevitably always wants to nurse within minutes of me putting it on. The wetness of him nursing is irritating it really badly. I have tried using some sort of a barrier - lansinoh is irritating, so I tried vaseline. It kind of helps, but it's just not possible to always slather a layer of vaseline on before he nurses.

I am scratching so badly that I'm breaking the skin, and I'm in agony. It's the first time since I've had kids that I've thought about using formula, but I just can't bring myself to do it. None of the doctors or lactation consultants I've seen are able to help. Any ideas?
post #2 of 12
I have psoriosis and after I had DD I thought I was getting a bad case of it on my breasts but it ended up being a case of thrush...sometimes it can be an itchy rash on your breasts that can be mistaken for exzema. Have you tried treating it like you would treat thrush?
post #3 of 12
I'm sorry. s Calamine lotion, maybe? Still something that would have to be washed off before nursing, but maybe that'll help the itch more than the steroid creams.

When you say you're using vaseline instead of lansinoh, you mean leaving it on while nursing? Should babies get that in their mouths? It's a petroleum product. I know it's in lip gloss and stuff, but I wouldn't put that on a baby either.
post #4 of 12
Do u go without clothing over ur breasts to let them get completly dried out after nusing? I go withot a bra at home and 90% of the time when i go out anywere. And at home i wear as light a gown as i can that may help some as moisture irritates eczema.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
There was some debate for awhile whether it was thrush or eczema. I treated for thrush, didn't work, and it has since become obvious that it is eczema.

Yes, there are times when ds nurses over the Vaseline. : I feel horrible about this, and try not to do it very often. I have tried lansinoh, unpetroleum jelly, almond oil - anything else I could think of - and everything irritated my nipples immediately upon contact. But having some sort of waterproof barrier on there is the only thing that sometimes helps. But even that is not a guarantee, because I don't apply it constantly. The times I do use it, I put it on before I go to bed to try to help with the nightnursing. But I don't want to do this at all.

I don't always air dry during the day, but at night I sleep without a shirt or bra, so they are always air dried, and in the mornings is when it is the worst.

I just am at my wit's end, and am so out of ideas. It's not that bad on the other areas of my body (it was horrible everywhere a few months ago), but because of the constant nursing, I just can't get it to stay cleared on my nipples. For a few days after I use the steroid cream everything is fine, but then it just comes right back. I hate hate hate using steroid cream. But I literally claw at my breasts so badly that they bleed. Sometimes I have to wear disposable breast pads so that my raw nipples don't stick to my bra.

I just find it hard to believe that I can't find a single other person who has dealt with eczema on their nipples while nursing. Since he knows I won't do formula, dh wants me to pump and bottlefeed, but I just can't do that. Not only do I hate pumping and would be spending every evening hooked up to that thing, but I love nursing, and would be heartbroken to have that end.

Please, keep throwing out ideas. I am desperate!
post #6 of 12
Does your ds eat solids? If so,you may need to rinse his mouth with clear water after eating to avoid getting food particles on your nipples.
post #7 of 12
I am responding to the part of your post about there not being anyone else with this problem. There is someone else. Me. What a bummer it is. I also thought I had thrush and did all kinds of nasty antifungals etc. Finally a dermatologist said it was eczema. He gave me steriod cream and like for you, it works but I would need to use it all the time. I do use lanolin to make nursing bearable. I also don't know what else to do. I am taking flax oil internally and am planning on adding primrose oil as soon as I can get some. Ds is 18 months and loves to nurse. I had hoped to nurse until he wanted to stop. I'm hoping I can hang in there. Sending a hug and hope that one of us finds something that works. I'll let you know if I do.
post #8 of 12
I’ve had eczema on my nipples too. If DD went through a heavy bout of intense nursing, my nipples would often get little cracks where the areola turns into the nipple. Ouch. I used a cortisone cream and it worked, but I was concerned, for both myself and my DD, to use it on an ongoing basis. Steroids are an immune suppressor, so they work to squash the symptoms short term, but in the long run they actually stimulate your body to produce even more of a reaction.

I’ve had eczema on and off over the years, and have tried different things to treat it. The things that have been most effective for me have been to A) greatly reduce or eliminate dairy products in my diet and B) to take a probiotic supplement of acidophilus daily. I am off/on with the dairy, but my nipple eczema finally cleared up with the acidophilus. Fermented foods such as pickles, sourkraut, kefir, etc are also helpful.

I asked my naturopath for an alternative topical treatment for the eczema to replace the cortisone cream. She recommended a homeopathic ointment called Unda 270. It works to keep it under control. Its not quite as effective as the cortisone, but its safer for my DD and for long term use. I also use a homeopathic if I get any splits called Graphite 30ch or 30x. It works like a charm to close up the splits in about 2 days.

In general, lanolin, glycerin and Vaseline are usually irritating to those with eczema. Oh, and if you are avoiding dairy, you need to be careful with pseudo-dairy products. It’s the milk protein, or casein, that’s the problem. Most fake cheeses – tofu, almond, etc – have casein to give them the right texture when melted.

In general, its been my experience that eczema is one of the conditions that mainstream medicine doesn’t have much luck with. I’ve had much better success with naturopathic/homeopathic medicine for skin problems.
post #9 of 12
would a nipple shield work in this situation? It sounds horrible as it is, and though there seem to be a lot of reasons against using nipple shields under normal circumstances, maybe in this situation it would be a good idea. Then your baby wouldn't be latching directly on your nipple ands and they could heal. Much better alternative than formula, I would think.
post #10 of 12

Hi.

 

I just found out like 2 months ago after seeing my Private Doctor..saying that i have eczema on both breasts and its kinda scary...i used a cream called DERMOL was given by my doctor..and it worked..weeks later and it came back again..then i have to do the same thing all over again..its very disappointing and ive been so down..and dont know what else to do..but to keep on praying and praying...God is the only one who can heal us...so keep on praying.....

 

Regards

Anesophia

post #11 of 12

I would def. try to heal it thru diet. More often than not its a gut issue. It is irritated by conventional dairy, wheat, sugar etc Strong probiotics would be a huge help as well as fermented foods. Check out the GAPS diet 

post #12 of 12

I have successfully treated my own eczema with a very dilute bleach bath.  

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/28/health/research/28regi.html?_r=0

The ratio is about 40 gallons of water (a tub full) to 1/2 cup of bleach.  You could also just fill a sink of water and throw in a teaspoon of bleach, and soak your breasts for 10 minutes.  Apply a moisturizer afterwards.  It clears up any infection, allowing the skin to heal so you don't scratch.  Having skin prone to eczema really isn't a problem unless you scratch it.  So making it not itch is key.

Also never use soap on the affected skin, use a small amount of mild detergent on your clothing making sure clothes are rinsed well, go braless when possible and air dry after feeds.  

Good luck!   

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