Will My Period Flush Out a Yeast Infection?

Candida vaginal infections, more commonly referred to as yeast infections, are one of the most common female health issues. In fact, studies show that 75% of all women will experience at least one infection during their lifetime. Given that yeast infections are often caused by bacterial or hormonal fluctuations, it’s no surprise to learn that infections can occur simultaneously with your period. 

Here’s all you need to know about your period and its impact on a yeast infection.

Table of Contents

Can a Period Flush Out a Yeast Infection?

Primary vaginal yeast infection symptoms include discharge, itching, and perineal pain while many women also experience rashes, swelling, and burning sensations during intercourse. While a little yeast and subsequent vaginal discharge are to be expected, an increase in volumes could be a sign of a yeast infection that has occurred due to overgrowth.

It is quite common for yeast infections to clear by themselves without medical attention, particularly when it is an isolated incident. You may note that the infection clears during or shortly after your period, which may suggest that your blood discharge has removed some of the overgrown yeast – although the evidence on this remains inconclusive. 

How Can Your Period Help Clear Out Your Yeast Infection?

Whether the blood actively flushes out a yeast infection, the correlation between periods and overcoming a yeast infection is clear. This is partly due to a temporary change in vaginal pH levels, which makes the vagina a far less hospitable environment for yeast to grow. This can help kill the existing yeast cells and prevent the growth of new cells. 

Perhaps more tellingly, your period causes estrogen levels to temporarily rise during the early parts of your cycle before falling after ovulation. Yeast infections are more common when estrogen levels are high, which is why you may note that the yeast infection clears or the symptoms become less noticeable after your period. This is because your vaginal flora and hormonal balances have had an opportunity to reset to a healthy level.

However, an estimated 5% of women experience symptomatic Vulvovaginal Candidiasis (VVC), which is characterized as three or more yeast infections in the space of one year. Even if the period seems to temporarily clear the yeast infection, the fact that the condition returns frequently confirms that further help is needed to support your body’s natural defenses.

Can a Period Make Your Yeast Infection Worse?

Firstly, experiencing period pain can make the symptoms of a yeast infection feel significantly worse. Moreover, the yeast infection may be exacerbated as an upshot of experiencing it alongside your period. The main reason, however, is that your attempts to relieve your period pains cause further irritation and prevent the body’s natural attempts to clear the yeast infection.

Sanitary products like tampons can increase the risk of a worsening yeast infection because they trap moisture, thus creating a better environment for yeast cells to thrive. Douching, taking very hot baths, and wearing tight underwear can all contribute to yeast production too. Therefore, yeast infections are often harder to manage during your period, which is why taking the right precautions is vital.

Can a Period Cause a Yeast Infection?

The short answer is yes, periods can cause – or at least contribute – to yeast infections. One reason is that menstruating causes a change in your vaginal pH levels. For most women, a healthy pH level ranges between 3.8 and 5.0 (moderately acidic) while their blood is around 7.3 (neutral). Blood passing through shouldn’t cause a yeast infection by itself and, as already discussed, may actually help remove it. Yet, it may cause an infection when other factors are present. This could include taking antibiotics or an impaired immune system.

When a period is the cause of a yeast infection, however, the infection is more likely to appear as a post-period condition. A combination of pH changes and hormonal fluctuations can kill the Lactobacillus bacteria and Candida fungi living in a healthy vagina. Consequently, this enables an imbalance where yeast overgrowth causes an infection.

How to Treat a Yeast Infection?

When you experience a yeast infection alongside your period, it’s important to consciously avoid the aforementioned issues like hot baths and wearing tight underwear. Likewise, switching from tampons to pads will be very useful. Even if it doesn’t treat the underlying cause of the infection, it will help control it.

However, if the infection won’t pass by itself, it is equally important to treat the yeast infection directly. Some of the most effective ways to do this include;

  • Antifungal vaginal medications,
  • Oral medication (fluconazole),
  • Avoiding antibiotics for other health issues,
  • Not wearing wet clothes for long periods,
  • Avoiding scented products,
  • Wearing cotton underwear,
  • Wiping front to back,
  • Managing your blood sugar levels (if diabetic).

When to See a Doctor?

If you experience a yeast infection that does not clear with home remedies and OTC medications, you should consult a doctor regardless of whether you have your period too. However, there is an even greater need to seek medical support when both issues occur simultaneously, especially if you have HIV, diabetes (which has been statistically shown to have a direct correlation with increased yeast infection risks), or any other health condition that impacts your immune system. 

When your family doctor is not immediately available – or you feel a little apprehensive about discussing your vaginal health – DrHouse can connect you to a 24/7 online doctor. In most cases, a medical professional will call you back within 15 minutes.

Key Takeaways

Cooccurring periods and yeast infections are less common than many women assume, but it remains a situation that you could encounter at any stage of your menstruating years. Left untreated, the unpleasant symptoms attributed to each condition can cause significant discomfort. Gaining a medical understanding of your yeast infection won’t only allow you to treat the issue. Crucially, it’ll help you prevent the risk of repeat episodes too.

Sources:

Content on the DrHouse website is written by our medical content team and reviewed by qualified MDs, PhDs, NPs, and PharmDs. We follow strict content creation guidelines to ensure accurate medical information. However, this content is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For more information read our medical disclaimer.

Always consult with your physician or other qualified health providers about medical concerns. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it based on what you read on this website.

If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.

DrHouse

Healthcare

on your schedule

Skip the unnecessary waiting room,
see a board-certified clinician now.

Start an Online Visit
Available in 50 states. No insurance needed.

Prescriptions as needed
Renew or get a new Rx.

On-demand virtual visits
See a clinician in 15 minutes.

24/7 care support
We are here to help you.

DrHouse
  • 1

    Download the DrHouse app.
    Set up your free account in a minute.

  • 2

    Start a visit with an online doctor. Wait time is less than 15 minutes.

  • 3

    Get an Rx from your preferred pharmacy. Pick up a Rx nearby or get it delivered to you.

Download our app