Depending on the period of pregnancy, intimate health complaints can become noticeable. But if a fungal infection with itching and burning is added to this, it is not only additionally stressful, but you also worry about the unborn child. If these are then also recurring fungal infections, the dilemma is complete.
What is a yeast infection?
The yeast Candida albicans is the main cause of vaginal mycosis. It occurs in every healthy woman, but only in very small quantities. If there are too many yeast fungi of this type in the vagina, the bacterial ratio is disturbed and symptoms such as itching, burning, white crumbly discharge and redness as well as swelling of the external genital area appear. Hormones can change the vaginal environment, especially in pregnant women, and this makes it easier for the yeast fungus to multiply. In addition, pregnancy leads to an increased concentration of glucose in the vagina, which is literally food for the fungus and makes it even easier for it to spread.
Is a thrush in pregnancy dangerous for my unborn baby?
A vaginal fungal infection is not a serious danger for mother and child. The altered vaginal milieu can sometimes favour the development of other diseases, because the already attacked vagina thus offers an excellent breeding ground for dangerous bacteria. However, the pathogen can be transmitted to the child during birth, so it makes sense to treat the vaginal fungus at least one week before the expected date of birth. However, if a fungal infection occurs around the due date, the baby can become infected through the vagina. However, this is no reason not to deliver the baby naturally. After the birth, the midwives and nurses pay special attention to whether the baby shows symptoms in the mouth or in the nappy area.
How can I treat a yeast infection during pregnancy?
Home remedies such as tea tree oil, garlic or calendula extract are not recommended, as they have a drying effect and could destroy the already sensitive vaginal flora. However, lactic acid cures are often recommended for several weeks, as they help to regenerate and stabilise the vaginal flora. Such a cure could be carried out in the form of probiotics with lactobacilli. Probiotics are bacteria that are found in the human body and in certain foods. They contain specially selected strains of bacteria that can be used for specific areas of the body. A woman’s vagina is mainly colonised by lactobacilli and when these are outnumbered, the vaginal flora is in a state of imbalance and more vulnerable to disease-causing germs. With the supply of lactobacilli, the vaginal flora can be stabilised in its bacterial ratio and pathogens are more easily displaced or have no chance at all of causing an infection. Since probiotics are taken orally, one then asks how they can work downstream at all? That is easy to explain: The orally ingested bacteria migrate from the intestine to the vagina. The intestinal and vaginal flora are closely connected and have a significant effect on each other. There is a mucus pathway between the anal and vaginal areas that serves as a transport route for the lactobacilli from the rectum.
How can I prevent yeast infections?
The balance of the vaginal flora is very sensitive. Once it is out of balance, the symptoms usually recur. Especially germs such as Gardnerella vaginalis form a real biofilm when they overgrow in the intimate area, in which pathogenic bacteria “hide” and adhere to the vagina, which can cause problems again and again. Therefore, it is not surprising that 60 % of women suffer from an infection again, for example with candida albicans, after a few months.
There are various influences that can disturb the balance of the vagina. But there are also factors that you can pay attention to and thus prevent an infection in the vagina:
- Avoid stress: Stress weakens the immune system and can also unbalance the vaginal flora. This often promotes the development of vaginal infections.
- Proper hygiene: Hygiene should not be overdone, especially in the intimate area. So that the pH value of the vagina does not get out of balance, only pure water or special products for the intimate area should be used for cleaning.
- Breathable underwear: Synthetic fabrics promote a warm and humid climate in the intimate area, which is particularly conducive to the growth of bacteria and fungus. Cotton, on the other hand, is much more breathable and therefore a good measure to prevent vaginal infections.
- Avoid sugar: The harmful microorganisms in the body love to feed on sugar and high consumption helps them to multiply better and become strong.
- Protected sexual intercourse: Not only the woman’s vagina is colonised with bacteria, but also the male penis. During sexual intercourse, different bacteria are exchanged, which can then promote infections. To minimise the risk, it is advisable to use a condom if you are prone to vaginal functions. Alternating between anal and vaginal intercourse also increases the risk of vaginal infections.
Probiotics: You can promote a healthy vaginal environment with added lactic acid bacteria that naturally colonise the vagina. These lactic acid bacteria are found in special probiotics, which are taken orally and inhibit the multiplication of harmful germs.