Pregnancy Yeast Infection – Causes, Treatment Options and How to Prevent It.

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Pregnancy yeast infection is a popular and common vaginal infection in pregnant women known as vaginal candidiasis or monilial vulvovaginitis. Yeast infection usually results from the microscopic fungi called ''Candida albicans''.

It is normal to have yeast in your vagina as part of normal flora (inhabitants of vagina) along with some bacteria. Yeast can only cause problem if its growth increases to dominate and override the growth of other micro organisms in vagina.

What factors are responsible for pregnancy yeast infection?

During pregnancy, the increased level of your estrogen in your bloodstream during pregnancy makes your vagina to produce more glycogen or sugar that leads to increased growth of yeast in the vagina.

Researchers believe that estrogen and yeast growth have a direct relation, making yeast grow rapidly and abide more conveniently on vagina walls.

Pregnancy yeast infection is more likely to occur with the prolong intake of antibiotics, especially if taken on frequent basis. The reason behind this is simple, apart from killing the bacteria targeted, they as well result in killing those bacteria which provide protection to the vagina giving enough room for Candida to grow rapidly in the vagina area, to the extent that yeast infection results.

What are the symptoms of pregnancy yeast infections?

The symptoms that develop from yeast infection during pregnancy might irritate you and get worse until the infection is treated. However, the symptoms sometimes appear and vanish on their own without letting you notice any change in vaginal secretion while some women get infections without any symptoms.

The symptoms of yeast infection include:

  • Irritation, soreness, itchiness, redness and burning in your vagina and labia, with swelling of vaginal mucosa at times.
  • Vaginal discharge that is odorless and usually cream, white or cottage cheesy.
  • Pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse.
  • A burning sensation when you urinate.

Can pregnancy yeast infection affect my growing baby?

Luckily, most cases of yeast infection during pregnancy do not affect the baby during pregnancy. However, if you have active yeast infection during the time of delivery then there's a chance your baby might contract it when making its way through the vaginal birth canal. Such baby might develop a kind of mild mouth infection known as ''thrush'' after birth.

What can I do in the event of Pregnancy Yeast Infection?

If you suspect yeast infection during pregnancy, you must consult your doctor. A sample of your vaginal discharge will be collected to diagnose if you have yeast infection or not.

It's advised you don’t take antifungal medication without being clinically diagnosed. There are chances that you might develop symptoms for other reasons apart from yeast infection.

How can I prevent Yeast Infection?

Keeping your genital area dry decreases the chances of getting yeast infection (as yeast grows in humid and warm surrounding). Also, the chances may decrease to a great extent if vaginal flora is found in a balance with normal bacteria present in vagina.

Following are useful suggestions to minimize the chances of developing yeast infection.

Ø    You should wear comfortable cotton underwear, while avoiding pantyhose and skinny tight pants.

Ø    Change your bathing suit instantly after swimming, and ensure you change underwear if you sweat after working out or exercising.

     Sleep without wearing underwear at bedtime, so that your genital area is ventilated. If you do prefer to wear something at night, then it's suggested you wear your nightgown without underwear, because night gown without underwear will foster ventilation in your genital areas.

Ø    As much as possible, avoid using scented soaps, bubble baths, perfumed laundry detergents, and feminine hygiene sprays to avoid pregnancy yeast infection.

Although these are not confirmed to promote the growth of yeast but they are sure to cause irritation in the genital areas, so it's better to avoid them around your vaginal.

Interestingly, eating yogurt containing live probiotic cultures or intake of probiotic supplements is believed to help maintain proper balance of bacteria in your vagina and gut. It’s not ascertained if yogurt helps prevent yeast infection, but at least it’s a good source of protein and calcium.

How to treat pregnancy yeast infections?

If you are diagnosed with yeast infection during pregnancy then your doctor will provide you with antifungal-vaginal creams or suppositories which are very safe for use during pregnancy. 

Note however that oral anti-fungal is not safe during pregnancy, except for rare stubborn cases where doctors may prescribe oral anti-yeast agent like fluconazole (Diflucan) in low dosage and a limited time of 2 days.

For yeast infections, creams and suppositories containing 'clotrimazole' as the active ingredient are way too effective and helpful as compared to the creams and suppositories containing 'nystatin'.

Apply the cream or insert suppositories for 2-7 days to treat yeast infections. Sometimes you may have to treat and retreat yeast infection for longer before it’s fully under control. For better results, it’s suggested you apply the antifungal cream on the area outside vagina as well to get rid of yeast infection completely.

Few days may be required to provide you relief during the treatment of yeast infection. In the period in-between you can soothe the itching sensation by using an ice pack or by damping yourself for ten whole minutes in a cool refreshing bath.

If you have any problems with your medication or you feel that its' not working, consult your healthcare provider. Another topical medicine may possibly be recommended for you. Endeavor you complete the whole course of your treatment to ensure the pregnancy yeast infection is completely treated.

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