You are just getting used to your pregnancy and you notice a curd-like, white, foul smelling discharge on your undergarments that’s driving you crazy! Relax!!! This may be a common yeast infection which many people suffer from during pregnancy, especially in the 3rd – 6th weeks. Now, don’t be so glum. Yeast infection is not going to cause much harm to you or your pregnancy if treated in time, but is surely going to make you quite uncomfortable. Do not delay in taking medical advice about this. But before that some preliminary knowledge about yeast infection during pregnancy is going to do you good.
Know About The Origin Of Vaginal Yeast
Yeast or Candida Albicans( which your doctor may refer to it as) is normally found in a small quantity in the human vagina. This fungus which is also found in other parts of the human body such as the mouth, throat and digestive tract, does not seem to benefit the human body in anyway, but on the contrary, causes a lot of infections, allergies, diseases and medical conditions in it when its population grows and acid-yeast balance gets tipped over in the body.
Symptoms Of Yeast Infection During Pregnancy
Yeast infection during pregnancy shares almost the same symptoms when you are not pregnant. It is characterized by a general discomfiture in the vaginal area with inflammation, itching and local irritation, and burning sensation during sexual intercourse or urination, abnormally excess discharge with a cottage-cheese-like appearance and consistency, and a foul odor. Some people also have greenish or yellowish curdy foul smelling discharge.
What Are The Causes Of Yeast Infection During Pregnancy
Yeast infection during pregnancy is caused due to a number of reasons. Hormonal alterations or imbalances happen during pregnancy and this is when the balance between the vaginal acid and yeast gets disturbed resulting in yeast infection. Antibiotics, hormone pills, steroids, are some external sources of yeast infection in a pregnant woman. Sexual intercourse and douching may also result in this infection. Diabetics are prone to yeast infection during pregnancy.
Diagnosis Of Yeast Infection During Pregnancy
A yeast infection shares similar symptoms with other conditions like bacterial vaginosis and some sexually transmitted diseases.
However, your doctor can confirm a yeast infection in you through a simple swab test which involves taking a sample of your vaginal discharge and testing it under a microscope. At times, further testing is required to confirm the type of infection.
How Is Yeast Infection Treated During Pregnancy ?
The treatment approach to yeast infection during pregnancy is different from the approach taken during normal times. Mostly, oral drugs are not administered as they may have an adverse effect on the pregnant woman or on the pregnancy.
Though mild yeast infections, at other times, can be treated a home with over-the-counter medications, this is not advisable in a pregnant woman.
You should visit your doctor however mild the symptoms may be. If you are found to have yeast infection, your doctor will probably suggest a vaginal cream or a suppository for you. For those who are not aware of the suppository it is a rod-shaped or conical structure made of a lubricant base which contains the medicine to be delivered. The patient is asked to insert this structure into the vagina.
However, the usage of suppositories comes with a downside in case you are thinking of having sexual intercourse. The gel of the suppositories is seen to weaken the strength of condoms thereby making them less reliable in their contraceptive activities.If yeast infections are not treated in time, they will infect the fetus causing “thrush” which can be removed with medication.
How To Protect Yourself From Recurrent Yeast Infection During Pregnancy?
Recurrent yeast infections during pregnancy are common as there are many reasons for the vaginal yeast balance to be disturbed due to changing hormonal profiles etc. You should consult your doctor first about this as she will be able to find out the cause of your susceptibility to yeast infection and address the underlying cause. For example, if you are diabetic, you have a greater chance of having recurrent yeast infection.
In general, to prevent fungal or bacterial infections, it is necessary for you to keep your vagina clean and dry. Make sure that you wash your genitals after using the restroom and dry the region from front to rear. Blow-dry the vaginal area whenever you can to prevent dampness. Use a disinfectant soap and wash the vaginal area thoroughly with adequate water and soap when you take a shower.
After a shower, pat the vaginal area dry with a clean towel and apply some good antifungal powder on the area. It is important for you to cover the vaginal area with lose clothes so that the area can “breathe”. Fungal infections infect the human body parts which are not adequately exposed to air/ oxygen.
Thin and comfortable cotton undergarments not only provide comfort but also ventilate the body parts they cover adequately unlike synthetic clothes which rise the temperature of the area they cover and also do not ventilate adequately. The temperature rise makes the conditions conducive for fungal and bacterial growth thus resulting in occurrence or aggravation of the infection.
Handling the vaginal area with care is of utmost importance to prevent aggravation of the infection and also for preventing recurrent infection. Women with yeast infection during pregnancy should not use douches and perfumed sanitary wear. No over-counter-products that claim to alleviate your discomfiture should be used without the consent of your physician.
Reduce your intake of items made with refined sugar or high in carbohydrates as by doing that you are actually providing food to the yeast to grow and infect you further. Yogurt, which has lactobacillus acidophilus, is beneficial to consume during yeast infection as the bacteria works like an antibiotic on the yeast infection.
Again here, it is important to consume plain yogurt and not ones that are flavored or sweetened. Rather, yogurt douches or suppositories are used to treat vaginal yeast infections.
Moderate rest and exercise and rest are all necessary to strengthen the immune system of the body.