Yeast infection is a recurrent type of vaginal infection that affects women, especially pregnant women. It is normal for small amounts of fungi and microorganisms to be found in the genital area, but they can be problematic when they grow rapidly and affect other microorganisms. In this article, you will read about yeast infection while pregnant, the causes, prevention methods, and treatments.
Causes of Yeast Infection
It is normal for any woman to have a certain amount of microscopic fungi in her vagina and in the gastrointestinal tract. The fungus is not problematic until it grows too fast and affects other microorganisms. High levels of estrogen during pregnancy cause the vagina to produce a higher amount of glycogen, making it more susceptible to the rapid growth of fungi and yeasts.
Some researchers believe that estrogen may affect the fungi themselves directly, helping them to grow more rapidly and adhere better to the vaginal wall. In addition, they are more likely to get yeast infections when taking antibiotics, especially if used frequently or for a long time. The reason is that in addition to killing the bacteria that cause the disease, antibiotics can also affect the natural bacteria that protect the vagina. Therefore, yeasts grow easier and faster, leading to yeast infection.
Symptoms of Yeast Infection
The symptoms of a yeast infection can be annoying and can worsen if left untreated, although they may go away over time. Symptoms of a yeast infection include:
- Redness, itching, and inflammation of vagina
- Pain and burning in the vagina and the surrounding area
- Scentless or thick, white (cheese-like) vaginal discharge
- Irritation or pain during sexual intercourse
- Burning when urinating
- Strong, unpleasant smell in vagina
How to Treat a Yeast Infection While Pregnant
You should see a doctor if you notice any signs of a yeast infection during pregnancy. The doctor will make sure that there is no yeast infection by examining and sampling the vaginal discharge, for example by having a Pap smear and testing it. Although over-the-counter antifungal medications are available at any pharmacy, it is not recommended to use these medications during pregnancy without a doctor's advice and diagnosis, as your symptoms may not be due to a yeast infection and may have been caused by another infection.
So it is important to know that yeast infections may be a sign of another problem. Studies and research show that most pregnant women who try to treat a vaginal yeast infection themselves ignore the root cause and delay receiving appropriate treatment.
For yeast infection treatment while pregnant, your doctor may prescribe an antifungal vaginal cream or vaginal suppository pill. Creams and suppositories containing clotrimazole like oral fluconazole are usually effective in treating several types of yeast infections.
It is best to use the cream or vaginal pill at night when you are lying down and there is less or no possibility of the cream leaking out of the vagina. Your doctor will determine the duration of using the cream and suppository, but you should usually use this medicine for a week in a row.
When using a vaginal cream, it is best to apply the cream on the outside of the vagina as well. After starting yeast infection treatment while pregnant, it can take a few days for you to feel relaxed. During this time you can relieve severe itching by soaking the area with cold water for a few minutes or by using an ice pack.
If the medicine has had a negative effect on you or you do not feel any change, it is best to see a doctor, as another medicine may be needed. You should also complete the treatment cycle to ensure complete treatment of yeast infection, even if the symptoms of a yeast infection go away very soon.
Does Yeast Infection During Pregnancy affect my Fetus
Vaginal infection in pregnancy generally does not affect the fetus. If there is an infection during delivery, the baby may come in contact with it when it comes out, in which case there may be a yeast infection called thrush formed in his/her mouth. Thrush is detected by white patches on both sides and roof of the mouth and sometimes on the baby's tongue. This is not a serious problem and can be treated easily.
However, in some acute cases, yeast infection can affect fetal growth. However, it is difficult for doctors to determine whether a pregnancy yeast infection is affecting the fetus. Infections can affect fetal growth in three ways:
- Yeast infection while pregnant can harm the mother, so the mother's body cannot help the fetus grow. Also, if the mother needs medicine, taking the medicine may have side effects for the fetus and harm the fetus.
- Yeast infection while pregnant can cause birth defects by making changes that directly affect the baby.
- Yeast infection while pregnant can also cause premature birth or miscarriage.
How to Prevent Yeast Infections during Pregnancy
A warm and humid environment is a good place for fungi and yeasts to grow. By keeping the vagina dry, you will prevent yeast infection while pregnant. Balancing the beneficial bacteria in the vagina is also effective in preventing yeast infections. Although the following recommendations and home remedies have not been scientifically proven, they are easy enough and worth a shot and can be considered natural remedies:
- Wear cotton underwear that can breathe well. It is not recommended to wear tights, tight pants and especially clothes made of synthetic fibers.
- Change wet clothes immediately and if your underwear gets wet from any activity, change it immediately.
- At night, sleep without wearing any underwear to help the air reach the genitals and block moisture.
- To clean the vagina, use lukewarm water gently, and never use a vaginal douche.
- To dry the vaginal area, be sure to pull the tissue from the front to the back of your genitals.
- Consumption of probiotic yogurt (due to the presence of beneficial bacteria in it) can theoretically help maintain appropriate bacterial balance in the intestine and vagina. However, there is conflicting evidence as to whether this can help prevent yeast infection, but its effects have been confirmed by many women. Leastways, this type of yogurt is a good source of calcium as well as protein.
Most women who get a yeast infection when pregnant do not have any side effects. Early yeast infection treatment while pregnant increases the chances of having a healthy baby. Pregnant women should visit a doctor or midwife if they notice any abnormal symptoms. Pregnancy care is very important because some pregnancy infections can be diagnosed and treated before symptoms develop.