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Yeast infections affect around 75% of women at least once while over 9 million Americans experience recurring episodes. For many, both first-time and repeat sufferers, it is characterized as a yeast infection after a period.
If you experience a yeast infection after your period, it can feel uncomfortable and alarming. However, a greater understanding of the issue will enable you to regain control.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Yeast Infection?
- Are Yeast Infections More Common After a Period?
- What Causes a Yeast Infection After Your Period?
- How to Prevent a Yeast Infection After Periods?
- How to Treat a Yeast Infection?
- When to See a Doctor?
- Key Takeaways
What Is a Yeast Infection?
A vaginal yeast infection, also known as Candida infections, is a fungal infection of the vagina and vulva. While it is estimated that 20% of women who have Candida in the vagina are asymptomatic, it can cause a range of symptoms including itching, rashes, discharge, soreness, swelling, and a burning sensation when urinating.
Your vaginal yeast infection could be considered a complicated yeast infection if the symptoms are severe or you experience the recurring symptoms as mentioned above at least three times per year.
Are Yeast Infections More Common After a Period?
Yeast infections may be more common due to one of several issues. The list includes but is not limited to:
- Taking hormonal birth control
- Having uncontrolled diabetes
- Weakened immune systems due to HIV
While the heightened risk of yeast infections after your period is hard to quantify, it is commonly agreed that there is a noteworthy correlation. And this is certainly backed up anecdotally by a large percentage of women who experience periods and yeast infections simultaneously as well as those who have infections shortly after their period.
This is further supported by the fact that, of the four main types of yeast infections, there is an overall trend of increased risk during the menstruation years – especially in Candida Albicans, which is the most common type by far.
What Causes a Yeast Infection After Your Period?
There are several reasons why a yeast infection may become more likely after your period. Ultimately, though, the yeast infection is usually triggered by a change in the vaginal flora and bacteria levels. Firstly, the vagina’s naturally acidic pH level (usually between 3.8 and 5.0) may be temporarily disrupted by the neural pH of the blood.
More significantly, the estrogen levels rise and fall twice within the menstruation cycle. This can upset the naturally-occurring Lactobacillus bacteria and Candida fungi within the vagina, thus creating a temporarily more hospitable environment for yeast colonies to multiply. In some cases, then, a period can actively help relieve the symptoms of a yeast infection. In others, though, it may actively trigger the condition.
Meanwhile, it is common for women to inadvertently trigger yeast infections by attempting to manage their period. Wearing tight underwear and douching after their period are two examples. Likewise, using tampons may trap moisture in the vagina, which also enables yeast to multiply.
How to Prevent a Yeast Infection After Periods?
If you are known to have a low immune system, antimycotic medicines may be used to help prevent fungal infections. Meanwhile, if you have previously experienced a yeast infection following a menstruation cycle, a number of lifestyle changes may be implemented to help promote healthy vaginal flora. They include:
- Switching from tampons to pads
- Avoiding scented bathing products and douching
- Wiping from front to back
- Switching to cotton underwear
- Avoid long periods in wet clothes, like after gym sessions
How to Treat a Yeast Infection?
While primarily thought of as a female health condition, yeast infections can affect men too. Like other infections, the best way to treat this issue is to stop the bacteria from multiplying. Medication like fluconazole is the most common choice. When a full course is taken, the yeast infection will often pass within a few days.
For vaginal yeast infections, a variety of home remedies including tea tree oil, greek yogurt, and garlic may be used. However, studies into the benefits are inconclusive.
Before treating a yeast infection, it may be necessary to have a discharge sample tested. This can rule out other conditions like certain STIs that have overlapping symptoms with yeast infections.
When to See a Doctor?
As already discussed, most women experience at least one yeast infection. If yours passes through natural healing or OTC medications, that’s great. If it continues to cause discomfort for more than a few days or your symptoms worsen, you should seek medical help. Likewise, if you experience multiple yeast infections after menstruation cycles (even if not successive cycles), talking to a doctor is advised.
DrHouse can connect you to an online doctor in as little as 15 minutes. This can be very useful if you need quick answers or do not wish to see your family physician.
While periods are also known to help clear out yeast infections, the hormonal and pH changes can be a contributing factor to yeast infections, causing the symptoms to surface shortly after ovulation or the end of your cycle.
However, with the right treatment and precautions in place, you should be able to restore your vaginal flora and prevent recurring episodes.
- Vulvovaginal Candidiasis (VVC). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment-guidelines/candidiasis.htm
- Vaginal Candidiasis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/genital/index.html
- Soong D, Einarson A. Vaginal yeast infections during pregnancy. Can Fam Physician. 2009 Mar;55(3):255-6. PMID: 19282531; PMCID: PMC2654841.
- Wang, Huamin & Xu, Jianping & Guo, Hong & Wu, Jinyan & Yi, Guohui & Pei, Hua & Niu, Lina & Li, Yi. (2013). Patterns of Human Oral Yeast Species Distribution on Hainan Island in China. Mycopathologia. 176. Available from: https://www.doi.org/10.1007/s11046-013-9703-7
- Reed BG, Carr BR. The Normal Menstrual Cycle and the Control of Ovulation. [Updated 2018 Aug 5]. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Blackman MR, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; 2000-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279054/
- InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Vaginal yeast infection (thrush): Overview. 2019 Jun 19. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK543220/
- Oriel J D, Partridge B M, Denny M J, Coleman J C. Genital Yeast Infections Br Med J 1972; 4 :761 doi:10.1136/bmj.4.5843.761
- New study shows 138 million women suffer from recurrent candida or yeast vaginitis; numbers expected to increase. Wayne State University. Available from: https://today.wayne.edu/medicine/news/2018/07/03/new-study-shows-138-million-women-suffer-from-recurrent-candida-or-yeast-vaginitis-numbers-expected-to-increase-30164
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Victoria Fanslau Mar. 07, 2023
Victoria Fanslau Mar. 07, 2023