Yeast Infection During Pregnancy
What is a yeast infection during pregnancy?
Yeast infection during pregnancy, also known as fungal infection during pregnancy, is a condition when there is growth of fungi in the vagina of a pregnant woman.
This presence of the fungi causes irritation in the vaginal region of the pregnant woman and leads to an infection.
What are the causes of a yeast infection during pregnancy?
1. Hormonal Changes
It is normal for hormonal changes to occur during pregnancy. One of these hormones is known as Estrogen. During pregnancy Estrogen increases to a higher than normal level.
This increase in the level of the hormone (Estrogen) results in increased vaginal secretions and increased glycogen in the vagina of the pregnant woman.
This then facilitates the growth of fungus in the vaginal region of the pregnant woman. This is one of the biggest reasons that fungal infections are very commonly observed in pregnant women.
2. Sexual Intercourse
A person who has a yeast infection might transmit the infection to her partner during sexual intercourse. Transfer of fungus during sexual intercourse in also a common reason of vaginal yeast infection during pregnancy.
Pregnant women suffering from diabetes often have a very weak immune system. This makes them susceptible to all kinds of infections including yeast infection.
Douching is a method of cleaning the genital organs. This is done by using a mixture of water and vinegar. The method is done to keep the genital organs cleaner than normal, especially during pregnancy.
However, douching may cause a change in the normal ratio of bacteria already living in the vagina. In some cases, this may trigger the growth of more bacteria and makes the pregnant woman more sensitive to other types of microorganisms such as fungi. This can then lead to yeast (fungal) infections or even other types of infections, in pregnant women.
5. Taking birth control pills
Taking birth control pill is yet another common reason for yeast infections during pregnancy. Birth control pills disturb the levels of hormones in the body of a pregnant woman. When the level of hormones fluctuates in the pregnant woman, it causes an increase in secretions through the vagina. This in turn leads her to suffer from yeast (fungal) infections.
6. Taking steroids or antibiotics
Research suggests that both, the intake of steroids and the intake of antibiotics, encourages the growth of fungi within the vagina. If a woman takes steroids or antibiotics during her pregnancy, she is more prone to yeast (fungal) infections. The higher the dose of such medications, the greater is the risk of yeast infection in the pregnant woman.
However, this does not mean that a pregnant woman is not allowed to take steroids or antibiotics during pregnancy. It depends upon individual health circumstances of a woman. Consulting your doctor upon the quantity of intake of such medications is highly is always a good idea.
What are the signs and symptoms of a yeast infection in a pregnant woman?
Most pregnant women develop a whitish curdy discharge from vagina during pregnancy. The secretion leads to frequent itching of the vagina and also causes redness of the vagina.
How do we diagnose a yeast infection in a pregnant woman?
The doctor carries out an examination of the pelvis. The doctor does this in order to look for symptoms of yeast infections such as redness of vagina and white-coloured discharge.
2. Swab test
The doctor collects a sample of the white-coloured discharge from the vagina. The sample of the collected fluid from the vagina is sent to the laboratory where it is tested for the presence of yeast in the sample. This is known as the swab test.
The presence of yeast in the laboratory reports of the swab test confirms the presence of yeast infection in the pregnant woman.
How to prevent a yeast infection during pregnancy?
Regularly cleaning of the genital area, keeping it dry and wearing loose clothes may prevent it. Decreasing sugar intake and eating a yogurt containing a type of a bacteria known as Lactobacillus acidophilus, also helps prevent it. The intake of Lactobacillus acidophilus (from the yogurt) maintains proper bacterial balance in the gut and the vagina.
How to manage a yeast infection in a pregnant woman?
If diagnosed properly, yeast infections during pregnancy can be treated immediately and effectively. Therefore, it is advised you see the doctor as soon as you observe the signs and symptoms, rather than simply relying on the use of over-the-counter medications by yourself.
The doctor will prescribe or recommend over-the-counter anti-fungal vaginal cream or suppository that is safe during pregnancy, usually containing an anti-fungal agent called clotrimazole since these are more effective than the creams containing nystatin.
Fungal cream or suppository is to be inserted into your vagina once daily for a week. It should also be applied to the area outside vagina.
Normally, the treatment provides relief in few days, if the course of treatment is done consistently for a week.