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Yeast Infection & Your Period
Hormones rise and fall during a given month. Their levels are lowest right before and during your period. Hormones affect the vaginal microbiome—the population of bacterial species—primarily lactobacillus. Low estrogen levels encourage a slight shift in the pH and microbiome which could trigger a yeast infection. So, itching might start before the menses and never quite develop into a full-blown infection or a yeast infection can occur before, during, or after ones period.
Yeast infection after period
As the hormones rise after the period and residual lower pH from the blood, yeast infections can occur after the period.
Can a yeast infection go away on its own after your period?
Sometimes, the body has the ability to clear an early yeast infection. It doesn’t mean however, that your period will always get rid of a yeast infection, or that your yeast infection will go away after period.
Can I treat a yeast infection during my period?
Yes, in fact, if you use tampons, it will help keep the medication inside the vagina. You may need to reapply as you change tampons. Same with menstrual cups. And if you use pads, the medication will be collected and remain near the outside of the vagina until changed.
Can yeast infections delay period?
No, yeast infection can’t delay period.
Is there a difference in the symptoms or treatment approach for each (before, during or after period), or is it the same for each?
No difference in treatment but the oral pill, fluconazole, may be preferable during the period
What is a Vaginal Yeast Infection?
Candida albicans is a species of fungus, commonly called yeast. It can cause vaginal yeast infections and is the second most common form of vaginitis. There are other species of Candida that can cause a vaginal yeast infection. They are C. tropicalis, C. krusei, and C. glabrata.
The rise in other species of Candida causing vaginal yeast infection could be attributed to over the counter anti-fungal treatments and the widespread use of antibiotics for common bacterial infections like urinary tract infections. C. tropicalis and C. glabrata are more resistant to these over the counter antifungal medications.
70% of all women have Candida albicans as part of their normal vaginal flora. The fungus remains dormant unless subjected to environmental stimuli such as heat, excess moisture, and changes in pH. This is where the antibiotics come in. Antibiotics kill off the good bacteria called lactobacillus. Lactobacillus keeps the pH low in the vagina. When they are killed off, the pH rises and triggers the yeast to morph into its infectious forms which then triggers the body’s immune response. The immune response consists of white blood cells known as PMNs. They attempt to control the infectious forms of yeast, but they are ineffective. The PMNs then die and release chemicals that cause the intense itching.
Yeast Infection & Sex
Yeast infection is rarely transferable via sexual intercourse, but if your partner has symptoms, then he/or she can self-treat it with a topical anti-fungal cream. Men often do not have symptoms of Candida overgrowth until it is very severe, but regardless of symptoms, men can still have Candida.
Symptoms of Yeast Infection (One or more may be present)
- Mild to severe vaginal itching mainly of the vulva or inner and outer folds of the labia.
- Thick whitish discharge, cottage cheese appearance may be present.
- Swelling of the vulva, reddish irritation, or excoriation (fissures) of the vulva.
- Burning sensation after or during sexual intercourse or urination.
These symptoms are rarely found in other forms of vaginitis such as bacterial vaginosis (BV) which has little itching. Runny clear discharge and a fishy or ammonia odor are the major symptoms of BV.
For the complete list, see : candida & yeast infection symptoms.
Risk factors for Yeast Infection
- Poor diet, high in simple carbohydrate or sugars.
- Use of antibiotic medication.
- Change in the environment of the vagina such as sexual intercourse (friction is heat) and moisture (like sitting in a damp bathing suit), menstruation, pregnancy, bubble baths, or douching.
- Diabetes mellitus if poorly controlled, due to excess glucose.
- Birth control pills.
- HIV, AIDS, chronic use and other illness that causes a weakened immune system.
- Oral Sex.
- Tight synthetic underwear, wear cotton crotch instead.
- Hot Tubs.
If you have recurrent vaginal infections (four or more a year) seek the advice of a health-care professional to rule out serious underlying conditions such as diabetes mellitus.
Can Yeast Infections Affect My Fertility?
Recurrent vaginal yeast infections cause the internal vaginal flora to become unbalanced which may make it harder for the sperm to survive to reach the uterus. Inflammation from the yeast infection can also harm sperm and change the cervical mucus.
Inflammation and vaginal infections such as yeast vaginitis has been linked to miscarriage and premature births.
If you have a vaginal yeast infection, it is highly likely you got it from your colon that was colonized at birth as you passed through your mother’s birth. The yeast can migrate from the rectum to the vaginal area. It’s entirely normal to have Candida in your vagina.
If you have yeast overgrowth in your intestines, it may affect the absorption of the nutrients from food. That’s why minimizing antibiotic intake and considering probiotics may help any intestinal issues.
Ways You Can Treat Yeast Infection Holistically
- Avoid eating refined grains such as white flour or white rice.
- Avoid all sugars such as fruit juices, dried fruit, soda pop, candy, sweets, ice cream.
- Eat fresh vegetables and fresh fruits.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages.
- Take a good probiotic, mainly lactobacillus supplement.
- Garlic capsules orally to support immunity.
- Echinacea may help in acute vaginitis due to yeast.
Be patient, these dietary changes need to be implemented for at least 4-6 weeks.
To learn more, see: candida diet.
Relief of Itching and Burning
Ice packs will help the most. Take frozen peas or corn or crushed ice in a ziplock bag. Cover with a damp soft cloth and apply for 20-30 minutes. Repeat as needed.
You can try topical OTC hydrocortisone as long as it is a cream and not an ointment.
Tea tree essential oil should never be applied to the vulva or vagina directly. You might consider adding 10 drops to your like warm bath water. You can add a few teaspoons of vinegar to acidify the water.
Recurrent Candida albicans Infection
These infections can recur and if they do, it might be a good idea to see your doctor to be tested for the species since some species are resistant to common anti-fungal drugs.
How to Prevent a Yeast Infection
The easiest way to prevent a yeast infection is to avoid antibiotics if possible, keep the area clean and dry. That does not mean, however, that you use harsh soaps. Never put soap in the vagina. Never douche. You can clean the vulva with warm, mild soapy water, rinse well, pat dry. Change any damp underwear and do not sit around in damp bathing suits. Avoid bubble baths, perfumes, oils, or sprays. They will more likely trigger a yeast infection or a bacterial infection.
If you have diabetes, keep your blood glucose under control. If you get yeast infections a lot after you start birth control pills, consider changing the type of pill.
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Smith, S. B., & Ravel, J. (2017). The vaginal microbiota, host defence and reproductive physiology. The Journal of physiology, 595(2), 451–463. doi:10.1113/JP271694. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5233653/
Martin Lopez J. E. (2015). Candidiasis (vulvovaginal). BMJ clinical evidence, 2015, 0815. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4360556/
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American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Vaginitis. Washington (DC): American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG); 2006 May. 12 p. (ACOG practice bulletin; no. 72). [Full Text].
Angotti LB, Lambert LC, Soper DE. Vaginitis: making sense of over-the-counter treatment options. Infect Dis Obstet Gynecol. 2007. 2007:97424. [Full Text].
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