The Absence of Candida albicans in Milk Samples of Women with Clinical Symptoms of Ductal Candidiasis

Thomas W. Hale, Tiffany L. Bateman, Malcolm A. Finkelman and Pamela D. Berens
BREASTFEEDING MEDICINE Volume 4, Number 2, 2009


Objective: The objective of this prospective study was to determine if Candida albicans is present in the milk of women suffering from symptoms of severe nipple and deep breast pain.

Study Design: The symptomatic group included women who reported sore, inflamed, or traumatized nipples or intense stabbing or burning pain. The control group included breastfeeding women without symptoms. The skin of the nipple and areola were washed with detergent and thoroughly rinsed. Milk samples were analyzed for (1 → 3)-β-D-glucan and grown on Candida growth medium.

Results: There was no significant difference in (1 → 3)-β-D-glucan levels between the control and symptomatic group. No Candida species were culturable either before or after the addition of iron to stimulate growth, with the exception of one patient. The addition of pure C. albicans to milk samples suggested that milk does not inhibit Candida growth.

Conclusion: These data suggest that C. albicans is not present in milk ducts and may not be associated with this syndrome.

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