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Kombucha Tea & Breastfeeding With Thrush & Yeast Infections

By Sharon Perkins

When you're nursing, you and your baby can pass yeast infections back and forth. When it affects the baby's mouth, the yeast infection is called thrush. Yeast can also infect your nipples. Some alternative practitioners recommend kombucha tea, a fermented black tea produced by bacterial and fungal cultures that resemble a mushroom, to treat yeast infections. Conventional medical practitioners do not recommend kombucha tea for breast-feeding mothers or infants. Some alternative practitioners also claim it worsens, rather than cures, yeast infections. Do not drink kombucha tea while breast-feeding unless your physician approves.

Causes

Yeast proliferates in dark, moist areas. Vaginal yeast infections often occur in pregnancy, particularly if you take antibiotics at any time during pregnancy. Your baby can develop the infection passing through the birth canal. Yeast can affect the baby's mouth or diaper area. While nursing with thrush, you can develop the infection in your nipples, especially if they're cracked. Thrush causes white, milky-appearing patches on the inside of the baby's mouth. A yeast infection on your nipples may not cause visible symptoms, but it may cause burning pain. Yeast can cause swollen, reddened or peeling nipples.

Ingredients in Kombucha

Kombucha tea is highly acidic and contains varying types of yeast and bacteria, depending on the culture used to grow it. Some kombucha teas also become contaminated with potentially harmful mold and fungi. The final tea product contains alcohol, which will turn to vinegar the longer the tea ferments.

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Effects

Proponents of kombucha tea claim it can cure candida, the scientific name for yeast infections. However, naturopath Pamela Reilly states that kombucha fosters the growth of yeast. She recommends avoiding kombucha tea if you're battling a yeast infection. Midwife Ronnie Falco also recommends not drinking kombucha if you have a yeast infection while breast-feeding. On the KevinMD website, pediatrician Dr. Michele Berman states that her review of 40 clinical studies on the benefits of kombucha tea found that most studies originated in China and were conducted on rats or mice, not humans. Benefits seen in animal studies may not apply to humans.

Risks

Kombucha tea has caused severe acidosis, or low ph of the blood, in several cases. This could be fatal for you or for your baby. Allergic reactions to the mold contained in the tea can also occur, along with liver damage. Because the tea has a high acid content, it can leach lead out of ceramic containers, causing lead poisoning. Use of kombucha tea topically has caused anthrax infections. Treat yeast infections with anti-fungal medications prescribed by your physician and by decreasing your refined sugar intake, not by drinking kombucha.

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