Vasoductal spasms - your best remedies?

(21 Posts)
Thumbwitch Thu 21-Mar-13 04:44:36

DS2 is now 5mo and bfing him has been an ongoing trial, starting with the tonguetie (divided at 5wo) and including the usual cracked and bleeding nips, extreme pain etc. Then things settled down, but a shortish while after the tonguetie division, I got a blocked duct. Sorted that out, but then I started to have odd pains in my left boob only. They started off mild, a bit achey - no heat, no redness, no mastitis, no thrush.

Then DS2 started to clamp more on the L boob and the pains got worse. Never on the R boob, oddly. A friend of mine mentioned spasms - I looked them up, this appears to be what I have, as DS2 has a few times made my nipple go completely white (dead nipple!).

Then he caused a split around the side of the nipple so I had to go to pumping for a while until it healed - but me and pumping don't get on terribly well and I had some duct blockage. So I put DS2 back to the boob and it was ok-ish; cleared the duct blockage and have changed how I feed him so as soon as I feel him starting to clamp I take him off the boob. But now I'm finding that if I don't give him a complete feed off that boob, the vasoductal spasms start again anyway usually about 10-20mins after stopping the feed.

So far, heat, massage, pressure etc. aren't helping. The nipple is extremely tender - touching/rubbing it sends electric shockwaves through the breast. I've tried cold flannels but with no obvious success either - the only thing that does seem to help is nurofen, but there is a lag time before it kicks in.

Anyone else had this? Found anything that really works?

I've seen the doc this week and got antibiotics for bronchitis, he's checked the breast/nipple as well and confirmed that there is no obvious infection, but if there is any at all the ABs I have will clear that as well.

Pain is just SO Bad today, I'm almost in tears (despite nurofen). But I Will Not Give In - I'm in no way ready to give up bf'ing, I just want it to be a nice experience again!

JiltedJohnsJulie Thu 21-Mar-13 10:19:09

No idea sorry but thought a BUMP might help smile

Thumbwitch Thu 21-Mar-13 10:56:17

Thanks JJJ! smile

tiktok Thu 21-Mar-13 15:00:30

sad sad

Out of my comfort zone to comment or suggest, Thumb sorry (you sent me here from another thread smile ). You might find results googling on vasospasm which is the term I know from the phenomenon you are describing.

Is there a breast specialist - I mean a doctor/surgeon you know of who knows about breastfeeding (not all of them do by any means - crazy, isn't it? They know about cancers and lumps and cysts and all that sorta stuff, but the lactating breast is foreign territory for them sad ) ? Your GP might know which ones in your area would be good to see.

Anecdotally, mothers with vasospasm have been helped by amending the way the baby takes the breast. A creative breastfeeding counsellor may be able to observe a feed and come up with some ideas.

Thumbwitch Thu 21-Mar-13 15:15:48

OK, thanks Tiktok - my own GP is back next week (saw a locum this week) so I might book to see her and see what she can offer or recommend. I'm in Australia so not sure how the lactation services work here now; I could self-refer in the first month but we're well past that now.

Fingers crossed I find a solution - I'll even post it here if I do, for future reference for others smile

hairclipcloe Thu 21-Mar-13 21:25:28

Hi there, I had this with ds. It's agony, No one was really able to help me as they had no experience of it.

I found that keeping really warm while I bf helped. I'd get into bed and put the electric blanket on or sit by a radiator with a hot water bottle under my feet. Sounds weird I know but I guess it makes sense in that its a circulatory issue (hope I remembered that right)

Good luck!

Thumbwitch Fri 22-Mar-13 01:03:13

Thanks hairclip! will give that a go. smile

HappyAsASandboy Fri 22-Mar-13 02:54:20

I really feel for you. It is so so sore when it happens, and sometimes it takes you by surprise as its so long after a feed sad

I don't know how to stop the spasms, but I know that they did eventually stop. I had it from about 3 months to 5 months, and I remember worrying it'd never stop, then suddenly, I was able to have a bath/shower and it was all fine.

I used breast shells to hold my clothes away from my nipples for a time, and you might find that helps. They're available on amazon relatively cheaply (I struggled to find them in the shops),

I wish I could offer a magic cure, but I can't. But I can say that for me, time seemed to sort things out.

Good luck smile

I differed horribly with vasospasm - my dd and DS tongue ties hasn't been properly revised. As soon as dd had her lip and tongue done again, latch improved and the pain from the vasospasms disappeared. The clamping to me sounds like there may still be a tie there - clamping at the end of a feed is indicative of that.

I do still get a vasospasm occasionally, but mine is also reynauds related - was awful in first pregnancy when there was a stuff wind (pardon the pun!). I'd stand rubbing my boobs outside my clothes like a loon.

Have you been checked for thrush? Can also cause vs.

Thumbwitch Fri 22-Mar-13 05:52:02

Yep, been checked for thrush (none) and had the tonguetie division checked by the paed who did it, when DS2 went for his post-op (hernia repair) check in February. Paed said that there was no residual or re-formed tongue tie, so it's not that either. He does still have a lip tie, to be fair - but Bunty, did it affect both boobs for you or just the one? See, DS2 is fine on the R boob, it's only the L that he's causing problems confused

Thank you both for your posts and HappyAs, I will hope that it stops VERY soon then as DS2 is already 5m and 2w! [fingers crossed]

Thumbwitch Fri 22-Mar-13 05:53:00

Oh and I don't have Raynaud's syndrome either, so not that. <sigh>

Kveta Fri 22-Mar-13 05:56:49

The best remedy I found was to run a basin of warm water and then dunk my nipple in it. Nothing else worked, although I used to be able to just use a warm flannel to apply heat and that would help.

Also worth checking latch, as it is definitely worse for me when DD latches not quite right. She has a bad lip tie and can latch poorly at times.

And I will say it was bad for me for a few weeks, then just seemed to stop. So hopefully the same will happen for you!

Kveta Fri 22-Mar-13 05:57:54

Oh, and it only happened on one side for me too, weird!

Thumbwitch Fri 22-Mar-13 05:58:42

Ooo thanks Kveta - will give that a go too! smile

LillyofWinchester Fri 22-Mar-13 10:07:52

Ouch, I have this, more mildly now since DS latch has improved. I believe there is a drug that can be prescribed by your GP which can help, I will try and find the link for you, I've a feeling it begins with N.

Also what I found helps is try not to get cold, lots of layers, breast pads changed regularly so they aren't damp, sleep in a bra too. Shower in a warm bathroom, don't go not the frozen aisle in the supermarket etc. I guess you are probably familiar with all that!

Hope it improves soon

LillyofWinchester Fri 22-Mar-13 10:10:06

Found it....nifedipine.

Ibuprofen.
Dietary supplementation with calcium/magnesium.
Dietary supplementation with vitamin B6.
Low dose oral nifedipine.

kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mother/nipple-blanching/

LillyofWinchester Fri 22-Mar-13 10:28:14
Thumbwitch Fri 22-Mar-13 10:47:37

thanks Lilly!
It's not cold here (Australia) so can't say that has been a particular issue but will take care to ensure it isn't.

Already on a multivit, and ibuprofen as necessary but will ask about the nifedipine as well smile

LillyofWinchester Fri 22-Mar-13 11:24:54

Haha, I hadn't thought of that! Guess you are glad you live somewhere warm!

Thumbwitch Fri 22-Mar-13 11:37:42

Hmm, dunno about that! grin 31 degrees and it feels like about 95% humidity, with low clouds and desperately waiting for it to rain - but yes, it might be better for feeding, that's for sure. smile

Thumbwitch Tue 26-Mar-13 22:54:42

I have found something that seems to help and thought I would share - but it might just be that I've "grown out of it" as well.

After feeding DS2 off the L side, for a shorter period, I've been massaging the nipple "back to life" and trying to let it relax before putting it away inside clothes or whatever. This has definitely reduced the irritation of the nipple and consequently (?) the appalling stabby pains. So that's a relief! Haven't needed to take painkillers for it for the last 3 days now, phew!

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