During the second trimester of pregnancy yeast infections are a common occurrence in women. Symptoms are an increase in the amount of a thin, white or greenish odd smelling discharge; redness, itching on the lips of the vagina; burning during urination and intercourse. They do not have any deleterious effect on pregnancy, but could be a cause for considerable discomfort.
When the normal levels of acid and yeast in the vagina are imbalanced, the overgrowing yeast causes discomfort resulting in a condition called a ‘yeast infection’. Yeast infections are generally caused for some of the following reasons:
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy occur when the body is undergoing various chemical changes, especially in the vaginal area; more sugar in the secretions which the yeast can feed on, causing an imbalance resulting in excessive fungus
- Before periods when similar hormonal changes are in progress
- Taking hormones and birth control pills, antibiotics and steroids
- A diabetic condition with high blood sugar on which the yeast feed on
- Vaginal intercourse
- Blood and semen
If a doctor has ruled out yeast infection, the person may be suffering from sexually transmitted diseases like Chalmydia, Gonorrhea ,Trichomoniasis or a bacterial infection called Bacterial Vaginosis, which have similar symptoms. These can be excluded at a doctor’s clinic by a simple swab to remove the discharge and follow it with a microscopic examination of the discharge, or in rare cases, a culture could be sent to a clinical laboratory. An examination of the genitals by a doctor could also detect this condition.
The recommended treatment of yeast infection during pregnancy is by the use of vaginal creams and suppositories. If left untreated, yeast infections may be passed on to the baby’s mouth during delivery, causing it to develop‘thrush’ which requires treatment with Nystatin.
Generally it takes about two weeks to be completely cured of yeast infection during pregnancy. Subsequently one should use a starch-free drying powder like Nystatin on sores to prevent reinfection.
Tips to prevent Yeast Infections
- Use of loose, cotton, breathable clothing and cotton underwear.
- After washing, use of a blow dryer to dry the genital area.
- After using a restroom, wipe from front to back always.
- After swimming one should take a shower and change out of wet or damp clothes immediately.
- Avoidance of douches, feminine hygiene sprays, sanitary pads, tampons containing deodorants, coloured or perfumed toilet papers, to prevent recurrence.
- Reduce sugar intake, as sugar promotes yeast growth.
- One should take plenty of rest which helps the body to fight infections.
In case the symptoms recur again, one should contact the doctor as soon as possible. As explained in this article, yeast infection symptoms are similar to sexually transmitted diseases, which are far more dangerous.
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