The occurrence rate of yeast infection during pregnancy is high, which is basically due to hormonal fluctuations, and change in vaginal environment. Using antifungal creams and suppositories are effective for the treatment of pregnancy yeast infection.
Yeast infection is not an unusual medical problem for both men and women. Unfortunately, women in their second and third trimester pregnancy are more likely to develop this irritating condition. It occurs when the acidic environment of the vagina is changed due to bodily changes, thereby promoting the growth of yeast. Finding out the causal reasons is definitely a prompt step to avoid pregnancy yeast infection. However, for existing cases, the objectives are to identify the symptoms correctly, and go for treatment without delay.
Yeast infection is caused due to abnormal growth of yeast (Candida albicans) in the body. The factors responsible for vaginal candidiasis are sugar (energy source), moisture, and warm temperature. But, why are pregnant women more prone to yeast infection than others? As a woman conceives a baby, many changes happen in the body that disturb the chemical balance in the vaginal area. For example, the level of sugar is increased to meet the demands of the body, of which some are excreted in the vaginal area and urine. This sugar favors growth of yeast in the vaginal area.
Another cause for yeast infection while pregnant is hormonal change, especially elevated estrogen. Consequently, the thin, whitish, unusual smelling, vaginal secretion is increased, resulting in warm and moist conditions. This presence of favorable growth factors in the vagina increases the risk of uncontrolled yeast growth and ultimately, infection in pregnant women. In addition to these, prolonged antibacterial therapy is a risk factor for developing vaginal candidiasis. The antibiotics kill beneficial bacteria too, thus promoting yeast growth.
Since yeast growth occurs in the genital area, notable symptoms of yeast infection in a pregnant woman are manifested in this region. The most notable symptom of vaginal yeast infection is itchiness in the genital area. Patients often complain of a white-colored, thick vaginal secretion that smells unusual (yeast-like). The consistency of the discharge is similar to that of cottage cheese. In short, excess discharge and any abnormal vaginal secretion may be an indication of infection. Other signs of yeast infection are redness and irritation in the vagina, and burning sensation during urination.
The above stated symptoms may also signify bacterial vaginosis, sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and other vaginitis cases. So, confirmation of yeast infection is imperative before starting any form of treatment methods. For diagnosis of yeast infection during pregnancy, the doctor will examine the physical symptoms and collect a vaginal secretion. Laboratory testing of the sample helps in confirming the presence of yeast cells in the vaginal region, and also in ruling out other diseases that might cause the medical problems.
Treatment for yeast infection while pregnant is a necessity for the mother, and, more importantly, for the unborn child. Otherwise, it may spread to the baby at the time of delivery, resulting in skin symptoms or oral thrush. However, the main concern for treating yeast infection when pregnant is restricted use of over-the-counter medications, particularly orally ingested ones. During pregnancy, administering any unknown therapeutic formulation can cause adverse reactions to both the mother and the baby. A safe way to treat yeast infection for pregnant women is relying on topical creams and suppositories formulated with antifungal components.
The two commonly prescribed medical formulations, which are considered safe for treating a pregnant woman with yeast infection are monistat and clotrimazole. They are either applied over the infected area, or introduced in the vagina according to the medication type. The recommended treatment course usually lasts for a week. Symptoms will subside gradually within a few days after starting treatment. Adopting effectual home remedies like applying ice packs, eating acidophilus foods (e.g., yogurt), reducing sugar intake, and avoiding fermented foods are directed for prompt recovery.
After childbirth, the same vaginal environment that supports yeast growth is no longer present. Hence, infection symptoms disappear gradually after child delivery. If at all, they persist (which is quite rare), consult a doctor for further treatment strategy. Coming to the prevention part, consuming a healthy diet, keeping the vaginal area clean and dry, wearing comfortable clothes, and limiting the use of perfume loaded products help to minimize the risk of vaginal yeast infection in women.