Nystatin for Yeast Infections While Breast-Feeding

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Nystatin for Yeast Infections While Breast-Feeding


Generic NameBrand Name

How It Works

Nystatin is an antibiotic that kills yeast, such as Candida albicans.

Nystatin is used as a cream or ointment to treat yeast infections of the breast and nipple. A liquid formulation is used to treat thrush in a baby's mouth. For more information, see the topic Thrush.

Why It Is Used

Nystatin is used to treat a yeast infection that is causing:

  • Red or very pink nipples with burning pain upon breast-feeding or breast-pumping or between feedings.
  • Thick, white patches in the mouth and/or a red rash in the diaper area (one type of diaper rash) of the breast-feeding infant.

How Well It Works

Nystatin often relieves the symptoms of breast yeast infections in 24 to 72 hours. Treatment for thrush in the child usually takes 1 to 2 weeks. Treatment is continued for 7 to 14 days after symptoms clear up to ensure that the yeast has been eliminated.1

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Hives.

Nystatin rarely causes side effects in a mother or breast-feeding child. High oral doses may produce diarrhea, belly pain, and/or nausea.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Usually both the breast-feeding woman and her baby are treated at the same time, even if only one of the two has symptoms.

Talk to your doctor if tenderness and redness go away but deep pain in the breast continues. The infection may be inside the breast. You will usually need another prescription medicine that may be taken for a couple of weeks or more.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

When you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.


Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.



  1. Lawrence RM, Lawrence RA (2009). The breast and physiology of lactation. In RK Creasy et al., eds., Creasy and Resnik's Maternal-Fetal Medicine, 6th ed., pp. 125–142. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last RevisedMay 14, 2012

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