Can You Take Azo While Breastfeeding?

Urinary tract infection is a common problem encountered after giving birth to your little one. It causes pain and discomfort, adding to your stress levels and making it harder to just focus on your journey with your bundle of joy.

Over-the-counter pain medications, such as Azo-Standard, are easily accessible for these symptoms, but are they safe for you and your child?

There aren’t enough studies to consider Azo-Standard completely safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding. This medication may be prescribed but on a case-to-case basis. It’s best to consult your doctor to determine if you can take Azo-Standard.

Quick recap #1: What is Azo-Standard?

Azo-Standard pills

Azo-Standard is an over-the-counter medication containing phenazopyridine hydrochloride, a local anesthetic and the active ingredient in this formulation.

This medicine is usually taken to help relieve common symptoms associated with urinary tract infections, which include increased urination, urgency, a burning or painful sensation, and discomfort.

Quick recap #2: How does Azo-Standard work?

Cells lining the mucous membrane of the urinary tract can become irritated from different things. Some of these causes include trauma, infections, certain medical procedures, or surgeries.

This is translated by the body as discomfort or pain. Phenazopyridine hydrochloride directly targets these cells that line the urinary tract, to relieve the discomfort or pain.

Is it safe for breastfeeding moms?

A young mom is breastfeeding her newborn baby.

Unfortunately, there aren’t enough studies to firmly establish how safe phenazopyridine hydrochloride is for mothers who breastfeed their children.

It is currently categorized as “low risk for breastfeeding”: it may be moderately safe for mothers, but there are some risks. It’s also not quite known whether the drug passes into breastmilk, and how much of it does.

Side effects

Side effects of this medication include abnormal conditions of the blood, such as methemoglobinemia, sulfhemoglobinemia and hemolytic anemia. Some studies also show kidney damage from taking this medication.

Specifically, details in the packaging caution the use of Azo-Standard if you have G6PD deficiency, certain allergies, known kidney disease, or a previous hypersensitivity reaction to phenazopyridine hydrochloride.

If you have been breastfeeding and decide to take this drug, it may be extra harmful to premature babies, newborns less than a month old, and babies diagnosed with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency.

Azo alternatives for breastfeeding moms

A young mom is taking medication with water.

As for now, there are safer alternatives for targeting the painful symptoms of a urinary tract infection. These include acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

Both have very low, minimal risk of harm for breastfeeding mothers and their children.

What about pregnant women?

For pregnant women who may be reading this: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not officially assigned a pregnancy category for phenazopyridine hydrochloride, but others have temporarily considered this drug under pregnancy category B.

This means that while studies on animals have not shown any risks to unborn babies, there aren’t enough human studies to support the same result.

See your doctor

The best course of action at this point is to seek medical help. Prescribing this drug may be done by a doctor, on a case-to-case basis. They will help weigh the benefits and risks of taking this medication, while considering other drug alternatives for your safety.


Azo-Standard is an over-the-counter pain relief medication that targets urinary tract infection symptoms. Its main ingredient is phenazopyridine hydrochloride. There aren’t enough studies regarding the safety of this drug for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.

This medication may be prescribed on a case-to-case basis, depending on the risks and benefits to you and your child.

When in doubt, it’s always best to consult with your doctor before starting this medication. You can also opt to take a safer alternative instead. After all, your health (and your child’s) is more important above all else.

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Sarah is a healthcare writer, motivated by her love of reading books while growing up. She took up human biology and further studies in medicine, in order to fulfill her passion for helping kids. While she isn't a biological mother yet, she has taken two young dogs, named Indy and Obi-Wan, under her wing. She would love to someday travel the world and meet kids from different cultural backgrounds.

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