Have you been suffering from nipple pain or cracked nipples during breastfeeding?
Most mothers are able to breastfeed with the right information and support. The World Health Organisation recommends exclusively breastfeeding infants for the first six months, then continuing up to 2 years with complimentary food thereafter.
However many mothers find the initial stages of breastfeeding tricky, in fact, 80% of breastfeeding women will experience some nipple pain or fissures. This pain can be so severe that it hinders mothers from continuing to breastfeed.
What causes nipple pain/trauma during breastfeeding?
- Friction on the nipple from the infants sucking action
- Strong infant sucking action
- Anatomical differences in the infant’s palate or tongue
- Suboptimal positioning and attachment
- Flat or inverted nipples
- Infection (e.g thrush on the nipple)
- Raynaud’s disease
So, if you are experiencing nipple pain during breastfeeding or nipple trauma that won’t heal then low-level laser therapy may be useful for you.
What is low-level laser therapy (LLLT)?
As seen in the name it is a low-level laser that is applied to the nipple. This non-invasive light source treatment generates a single wavelength of light. It emits no heat, sound, or vibration. It is not painful.
Low-level laser therapy works by a photochemical effect similar to photosynthesis in plants where the light is absorbed by the tissues and a chemical change occurs at a cellular level. This causes changing pressures in capillaries, stimulates the immune system and an increase in fibroblasts and collagen (which is required for healing), creates new capillaries and decreases prostaglandin levels which lead to inflammation.
What does low-level laser therapy help with?
- Wound healing
- Pain reduction
- Increasing blood flow to the area
- Reduction of inflammation
What does a session with a Women’s Health Physiotherapist for nipple pain include?
- A thorough assessment of your breastfeeding (current technique and experience and past history)
- A whole-body approach; analysis of your posture while breastfeeding, holding positions, postural retraining and specific exercise prescription if required
- Discussing and investigating the possible causes of your nipple pain and trauma
- Applying low-level laser therapy to cracked nipples if required
- Liaising with health professionals you may need in your care (for example GP or lactation consultant)
So if you are experiencing breastfeeding issues, don’t put up with it, we’re ready to support you and your baby to improve the experience. Call us on 6389 2947 or click here to make an appointment online
About Amy Tinetti, Women’s Health Physiotherapist
I’ve been a physiotherapist for over 10 years and have clinical experience in Continence and Women’s Health and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy.
I have completed two degrees, a Postgraduate Masters Degree in Continence and Women’s Health Physiotherapy and a Bachelor of Physiotherapy, both at Curtin University.
In addition to helping mums with breastfeeding issues, I also provide treatment for Continence issues (Stress Urinary – Incontinence, overactive bladder, urge urinary incontinence). Endometriosis, Painful periods, Prolapse and Pessary Fittings.