Help! can BF have side effects for mum?

(26 Posts)
Cornberry Sun 28-Feb-16 19:24:39

hello, I'm in desperate need of advice. I had a monstrous pregnancy with every symptom going - most notably hypersalivation and hyperemesis. I was off work and in bed for months, by the end I could hardly walk. I had a difficult birth, crash c-section, week in hospital, etc. My little girl is now almost 6 months and doing very well, but I am an absolute state. For the first 2 months I was so sleep deprived I felt on the edge of collapse all the time, despite support from my mum and my amazing partner. Once that began to subside I started with a whole raft of other problems. The thing which is making me lose my will to love is dysphagia. I can barely swallow and I have breathing difficulties. I am awaiting numerous referrals which takes forever and I can get no sense of urgency from the doctors. I have lost 25 kg since baby was born, and I had it to lose but I'm now half a stone below my pre-pregnancy weight and continuing to lose weight fast. The difficulty swallowing also affects my breathing and I am terrified of choking as I have little control over what happens at the back of my throat. I am EBF and in my desperation I wonder if it could be linked to hormones or something. My period came back after four months. I don't want to stop BF but my life is not worth living and neither is my OH's anymore. I am too scared to be alone with baby because I cannot cope with this condition and spend half my time camping at my mum's when he's at work. I also cannot have sex as it is too painful despite the fact that I have no other vaginal symptoms. I don't know if all this is due to tension but my hypersalivation has now returned and on top of the dysphagia my life is utter hell. I don't want to stop BF but if there's any chance it could be related I think i will have to. Because there is such an effort to promote BF (which of course I understand) it's impossible for me to find anything about any negative die-effects of BF online. Has anyone found that BF had a negative impact on their health? I have even in desperation been to A&E and all I got was questions about whether I might have PND. They sent a HV to check up on me and she said she thought it was a ludicrous suggestions as baby is thriving but she could see I've lost a lot of weight and reported back to my GP. Still taking months to get referred to specialists. I had an endoscopy which showed mild inflammation of the oesophagus but nothing to justify the extent of my symptoms. I'm convinced when I finally get my referral they'll say well you don't have cancer so we can't help you. I am supposed to go back to work in a couple of months and I don't know what to do because I definitely can't work like this sad Sorry for long post and any help at all much appreciated.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 28-Feb-16 20:40:08

So sorry that you are feeling so unwell. No, I've never had any of the symptoms that you have. Have you tried speaking to a BFC? Do you have the numbers?

Cornberry Sun 28-Feb-16 20:44:26

that's not a bad idea... I Maybe I'll call the breastfeeding helpine. I just think it might be a rare thing if it exists and I thought it was a better bet to ask other mummies if it had happened to them. Thanks for the suggestion though. I think I'll try that.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 28-Feb-16 20:48:23

Let me know how you get on smile

fruitpastille Sun 28-Feb-16 20:51:42

I've never heard of anything like you describe but breast feeding does affect hormones which have an impact on your emotional state. It also burns more calories which will be an issue for you if you are struggling to eat. If you did switch to formula it would mean that someone else could help look after baby more and you could rest. However if you are enjoying breast feeding and don't want to stop then I think you should carry on for now.

iPost Sun 28-Feb-16 20:53:25

Try the Skeptical OB www.skepticalob.com

Leave a question in the comments of the lastest blog post. The place is crawling with OBs, doctors and other medics. If it is going to ring a bell, with no concerns as to how it might impact BFings public image, it'll happen there.

I hope somebody can help, cos... what you are going through sounds absolutely godawful.

Quickchangeup Sun 28-Feb-16 20:58:04

Are you anxious cornberry? I get the symptoms you describe and have a diagnosis of general anxiety disorder. It feels like my throat is closed, I struggle to eat and swollow accompanied by rapid heart beat and the feeling of being unable to breathe.
Hormones can affect anxiety and I found breastfeeding did affect my hormones so it's possible it's playing a part.

RubySparks Sun 28-Feb-16 21:09:31

Did they do any blood tests?

Haggisfish Sun 28-Feb-16 21:11:02

I'm thinking possible thyroid issues postpartum? Ask for vlood tests.

twolittleboysonetiredmum Sun 28-Feb-16 21:25:01

Not the same as your symptoms (which sound terrifying) but with my last two dc i found/find that whenever I'm feeding I get nauseous. It stops immediately after feeding and only happens during. I also have constant headaches until I wean even if I stay hydrated etc. so yes, breastfeeding can definitely affect mums negatively in many different ways. If I were you, I'd probably stop feeding and see what happened. Unless you're really determined to continue then it's quite a big factor in your overall health and may make the difference.

Cornberry Sun 28-Feb-16 21:34:08

I do suffer from anxiety but I just can't believe that's what it could be! It's been a slow progression for several months now, and came on when I was feeling fine. I've had tons of blood tests. Thyroid seems fine apparently. Doctors say blood tests indicate i'm pretty healthy. Since i've been struggling to eat i've been eating really well and trying to eliminate possible allergens as well as making sure every bite counts, so no more sugar, caffeine, switched to almost completely dairy free. Ironically apart from this horrible problem I feel better than in a long time sad

RubySparks Mon 29-Feb-16 07:19:00

Did blood tests show high eosinophils? (Part of full blood count?) it sounds a little like eosinophilia oesophagitis which does mean inflammation of oesophagitis which they did find!

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 29-Feb-16 08:07:35

If you suffer from anxiety, what do you do that helps you with that? Have you tried CBT?

Cornberry Mon 29-Feb-16 09:33:42

I've not tried CBT. I don't think it's my thing tbh. I suffer from health anxiety ironically. But my GP said that given the visible inflammation that isn't the root cause of this problem. Does anyone know if BF can give you reflux? I think they did check for eosinophils but I didn't gphear back that they found them so I'm assuming not...

Onsera3 Mon 29-Feb-16 09:47:25

You poor thing!

Yes I think BF can make certain medical conditions worse.

I suffer from hypermobility syndrome. The hormones from breastfeeding make the symptoms worse.

So for me that means my gums bleed when I'm BF and also my pelvic floor suffers. My joints suffer too. It's still there otherwise but not as bad when I'm not pregnant or breastfeeding.

The lower estrogen of BF could also be causing the painful sex.

Some people get reflux from hypermobility syndrome. It could certainly get worse when pregnant or BF.

Anxiety can also be linked to hypermobility syndrome. I find my anxiety flares postpartum.

Cornberry Mon 29-Feb-16 19:29:32

thanks that's useful to know. It just feels like the symptoms are the cue of anxiety rather than the other way around... and the swallowing problem isbns just when i feel stressed, it's all the time sad My GP advised me not to stop BF but I wonder what to do if it might be affecting my health...

ICJump Tue 01-Mar-16 07:13:00

It's worth calling a helpline. I'm not sure how the uk one dorks but in Australia we have access to a specialist resource that will find information which is outside of the counsellors training.
I'd be uncomfortable looking for medical advise on skeptical OB. She has pretty huge agenda to push

Onsera3 Tue 01-Mar-16 10:49:38

You could see if there are any hormones to try while still BF to try and counteract the effects.

For example my Gynae recommended estrogen pessaries/cream for my pelvic floor and that would probably help painful sex too- if the low estrogen from BF is the cause. For me, it affected my milk supply so I stopped using, but it doesn't for most people.

Also you can take certain contraceptive pills while BF but I don't think ones with estrogen so not sure if that will be any good.

Cornberry Wed 02-Mar-16 09:54:12

Thanks will look into these options. X

gamerchick Wed 02-Mar-16 09:57:26

Were you given meds after your endoscopy?

gamerchick Wed 02-Mar-16 10:03:45

Plus don't underestimate what stress and anxiety can do to the body. My struggling to swallow and reflux ended up with the camera and 'mild inflammination' and it is caused by stress I'm under.

However you don't need permission to stop breastfeeding and it's highly unlikely that's what's causing your problems. I would say anxiety is playing a massive part on top of your physical symptoms.

Cornberry Wed 02-Mar-16 13:59:33

Been taking omeprazole for about a month. Not doing anything so far but the last couple of days I've been taking sips of gaviscon which seems to be helping me get food in sometimes. Would like to know the cause though. Can't live on the linked belief of buckets of gaviscon! bf is meant to be calming isn't it? If I do stop breastfeeding that means it could get worse...

whatsoever Thu 03-Mar-16 04:26:16

No experience of your particular issues OP but bf definitely can cause health problems in mothers. I gave up with DS1 partially due to two - bad back (6m of physio) and de quervains tendonitis in my thumb/wrist (steroid injection required in the end).

Couple of suggestions on the sex front - sorry if already explored. First and easiest - lots of lube. If low oestrogen is the problem this would help the symptoms though not the cause. Secondly, have you looked up vaginismus? I had this for a while - it's psychological but has very real physical symptoms that make sex very difficult.

Haggisfish Thu 03-Mar-16 05:03:41

It could be the relaxing hormones making the sphincter at the top of your stomach relax and you're getting refluxy problems.

GossamerApronStrings Thu 03-Mar-16 06:25:16

You might also want to check your blood test results to see if any autoimmune tests were run. Autoimmune conditions are famous for being affected by hormonal changes too, such as pregnancy/the aftermath... I have a few autoimmune conditions including Sjögren's syndrome (anti Ro & anti La or anti Ssa & Ssb would be the antibodies they'd test for). Sjogrens is an autoimmune condition noted for causing moderate to severe dryness of the mucous membranes-mouth/throat, nose, vagina. Basically, it's as though your body simply can't retain water/fluid. In my case, it was definitely exacerbated by breastfeeding which completely dehydrated me even further and triggered episodes of my POTS(heart condition that looks/feels like anxiety attacks) too. In fact, every 6-12 months I usually end up in hospital getting 2-3 bags of fluids. I sometimes wake in the night gasping as my dry throat is closing & sticking to itself. Lovely.

Not to say you have all that going on, but yes, very definitely there can be side effects from breastfeeding. (Especially if they're hungry & feeding round the clock!)

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