What is Vaginal Yeast Infection?
Vaginal yeast infection also known as thrush, is a fungus infection of the vagina. The infection causes itching and burning sensation in the vagina opening and vulva. Around 3 in 4 women will have at least vaginal thrush once in their life time.
Yeast infections is caused by the over growth of a fungus called Candida albicans.
Every healthy woman's vagina has yeast cells and bacteria in it. But when the yeast cells starts to multiply rapidly in quantity(overgrow), it leads to a yeast infection.
Do Tampons Cause Thrush After Period?
Yeast thrives in a moist and warm environment which tampons provide. Although no concrete research has confirmed that the use of Tampons leads to candida infection.
Avoid the use of tampon if you are prone to yeast. And also change your sanitary towel 3-4 hours.
Symptoms of Yeast Infection
The possible symptoms of yeast infections are:
- Vaginal itching and irritation
- Thick white Clumpy vaginal discharge that looks like cottage cheese. The discharge is mostly odorless
- Pain or burning sensation when you pee
- Pain during or after sex
- Swelling around the vagina and rashes
What causes yeast infection every month before and after period?
Yeast infection is caused by the overgrowth of a naturally occurring fungus in the vagina.
The bacteria Lactobacillus is present in the vagina to monitor and balance the growth of the fungus.
Some of the causes of the infection after your period are:
1. Increased level of estrogen
Estrogen is a very important hormone in the female reproductive system. It is basically the hormone that makes you a woman.
It controls a woman's reproductive cycle alongside another hormone called progesterone.
Research has shown that women with increased level of estrogen or excessive estrogen are more likely to develop yeast infection.
Estrogen is at its lowest level during your period. By the end of your period, your estrogen level starts to increase slowly. If you have recurring yeast after your period it may be due to the rising level of estrogen hormone.
Some women also experience candida infection before their periods. Your estrogen level drops immediately after ovulation. And progesterone hormone becomes dominant after ovulation(luteal phase).
The progesterone hormone's function at this phase is to prepare the uterus as a home for the baby. It does this by thickening the uterine lining.
If the egg is not fertilised, the uterine lining is shed as your period in the next 10 to 14 days after ovulation.
Studies have found that an imbalance between the estrogen and progesterone hormone after ovulation may lead to the recurring overgrowth of candida.
2. Not changing your tampon on time or frequently
Yeast loves to grow in a moist and warm environment. Tampons and pads provides this environment that encourages yeast to grow.
Although there is no scientific research yet to prove that Tampons causes yeast. But leaving a Tampon inside you for too long is dangerous and increases your chances of having toxic shock syndrome.
If using Tampon while on your period, ensure you change it very often to avoid providing the perfect environment that encourages yeast to flourish.
The use of anti-biotics may lead to candida infection. Antibiotics are also known as antibacterials. They kill or slow down the growth of living organisms such as bacteria.
If you have a bacterial infection and you have been taking antibiotics, you are likely to develop candida infection.
This is because the use of antibiotics can disrupt the balance between the yeast cells and bacteria in the vagina.
Using antibiotics can kill off the good and bad bacteria in the vagina. This gives room for yeast to dominate and overgrow.
4. High Blood Sugar level
If you have a high blood sugar level or diabetes, your immunity against infections and disease is reduced. A lot of studies have proven that candida yeast infection is common among people with diabetes.
When diabetes is poorly controlled, it produces high glucose environment which yeast thrives in.
5. Stress and Anxiety
Another cause of candida infection is stress and anxiety. Research has shown that under stressful condition, high amounts of cortisol is produced by the brain.
Cortisol is only good when produced in small amounts. When produced in large amounts it suppresses the immune system.
A reduced or suppress immune system, allows candida to overgrow thereby causing an infection.
6. Hormonal imbalance around your period
Candida yeast overgrows when their is an imbalance between the estrogen and progestrone hormone. This imbalance usually happens before your period and during pregnancy.
Women in their second and third trimester are more prone to having yeast vaginal infections.
The type of estrogen produced during pregnancy and period promotes the increase in the growth of candida.
Other symptoms of hormonal imbalance are fatigue or tiredness, feeling bloated and mood swings.
Women who use birth control pills and oral contraceptive are at a high risk of developing thrush.
Hormonal imbalance can be caused by stress, poor diet, or even lack or inadequate sleep.
7. Scented Feminine hygiene products
Recent studies has shown that scented feminine products such as tampons, sanitary pads, sprays and wash may cause the acidity level in the vagina to drop.
The mucus membrane present in the vagina and vulva, absorbs chemical quickly without breaking them down properly.
According to this research study conducted by women's voices for the earth, it was discovered that feminine products may contain endocrine disrupting chemicals. The ingredients may also cause allergic reaction to the vagina and vulva.
Infact, studies have shown that women who douche and use female deodorizer are more susceptible to bacteria vaginosis and yeast vaginal infection.
Stay away from scented products and vaginal douching to avoid getting infected by yeast.
Relationship Between Anaemia and Yeast Infection
"is there a connection between yeast infection and low iron in women?"
Iron deficiency anaemia is a condition whereby the lack of iron in the body leads to a reduction in the number of red blood cells.
Iron is responsible for carrying oxygen to different parts of the body.
Recurring candida infection may be due to deficiency in iron, Vit B12 and foliate.
Yeast vaginal infection is common in women with low iron.
Iron deficiency affects the immune system since oxygen is not circulated adequately to different parts of the body.
A weakened immune system can upset the balance of good bacteria and candida fungus in the body including the vagina. This upset leads to the multiplication of candida.
How to stop recurring yeast infection?
Some yeast infection come back around the same time each month. These are called recurring yeast infection. It is important to find out what triggers them.
For example some women may notice they have yeast infection before their period each month while others after their period
Depending on the severity of the infection, your doctor may prescribe anti-fungal cream or suppository
Pregnant women should avoid taking over the counter medications. See your health care provider if you have an abnormal vagina discharge that is itchy or smelly.
Home Remedy For Yeast Infection during and After Period
Yogurt: Yogurt contains a good bacteria called lactobacilli which is found in the guts and vagina. Eat a cup of yogurt in the morning and evening to introduce good bacteria back into your guts and vagina.
These good bacteria or probiotics helps to reduce the number of the candida or yeast cells in the vagina.
The natural role of the good bacteria is to put candida in check and stop its overgrowth.
Coconut oil: Coconut oil contains naturally occuring anti-fungal properties that can get rid of the fungi responsible for vaginal infection by yeast.
Kefir: Kefir is very effective in killing candida. A study conducted in Brazil showed that when kefir fermented with brown sugar, it produces anti-microbial agents that kill off candida.
Garlic: Garlic has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti protozoal and anti-virus properties. It is an effective natural remedy of getting rid of yeast overgrowth.
If garlic is added to yeast when making bread. The garlic will kill of the yeast.