How to Manage a Yeast Infection and Period Symptoms at the Same Time – Self

Posted: May 12, 2020 at 12:41 pm

Getting your period during a pandemic is like a movie scene where characters acknowledge their plight and say, At least things cant get worse. Getting a yeast infection and period double-whammy right now, though? Thats the moment that comes right after that scene, when it starts to rain.

As unpleasant as it may be to experience the irritation of a yeast infection alongside period cramps and other symptoms, your period shouldnt have too much of an effect on how you treat and get rid of your yeast infection. Hopefully, this is particularly comforting to hear when heading to your health care providers office might not be as simple as it used to be, and stressing over anything can feel more intense than normal. If you suspect youre suddenly dealing with both a yeast infection and your period, keep reading for some insight on why this might be happening and what you can do about it.

The fungus that most often causes yeast infections is known as Candida albicans, and it occurs naturally in the body, including in the vagina. Usually, bacteria called Lactobacillus prevent this fungus from growing out of control. But sometimes this yeast has a chance to grow unchecked and cause a yeast infection, which is usually characterized by itching, irritation, and a cottage cheese-like discharge.

This overgrowth can happen for a few reasons, including using antibiotics that throw off your vaginal flora, hormone fluctuations, health conditions like uncontrolled diabetes, or even lifestyle habits like regularly wearing your sweaty workout clothes for way too long, according to the Mayo Clinic. In any case, rest assured that yeast infections are incredibly common. In fact, 75 percent of women report getting a yeast infection at some point, with many experiencing at least two infections in their lifetimes, the Mayo Clinic notes. Basically, youre in great (and probably also very annoyed) company.

While most people dont regularly get yeast infections simultaneously with their periods, its definitely possible to have both at once, Taraneh Shirazian, M.D., a gynecologist and assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Langone Health, tells SELF. This is because hormones, vaginal pH, and bacteria levels can all fluctuate in the time leading up to your period, making it easier for yeast to grow too much, H. Frank Andersen, M.D., a clinical education director and ob/gyn in the Department of Medical Education and Clinical Sciences at Washington State University, tells SELF.

More specifically, an increase in estrogen in the days before your period could predispose you to a yeast infection/menstruation combo. A significant enough uptick in estrogen is a known risk factor for yeast infections; high levels of estrogen appear to lower vaginal pH, causing it to become more acidic in a way that makes it easier for yeast to overgrow to the point of infection.

Even if youre on a combined hormonal contraceptive that suppresses this kind of natural hormonal fluctuation, the estrogen in your birth control itself can also increase your risk of a yeast infection, the Mayo Clinic says. There is also research to indicate that levels of Lactobacillus drop during your period, which causes vaginal pH to become more acidic.

Luckily, Dr. Andersen notes that theres no reason to worry that your period will make the yeast infection any worse, symptomatically speaking. You might be more annoyed, of course (see the aforementioned rain metaphor), but the fact that youre menstruating shouldnt extend or exacerbate the infection. With treatment and time, your yeast infection should conclude as usual, Dr. Shirazian says.

Normally, when you notice the first signs of a yeast infection, youre probably tempted to run to the drug store, pick up an antifungal suppository, and call it a day. But you should consider at least calling your ob/gyn before trying to treat the infection at home, especially given our current reality.

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How to Manage a Yeast Infection and Period Symptoms at the Same Time - Self

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