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Most women are likely to get a yeast infection sometime in their lifetime. Many factors like birth control pills, menstruation, pregnancy, tight clothing etc. can trigger yeast infections in women. Whenever women who are looking forward to having a baby, hear that they have a yeast infection, the first thing they want to know is if it can affect their chances of conception.
A yeast infection may not directly affect the fertility of a woman. However, the discomfort and itchiness caused by yeast infections may dissuade her from indulging in intercourse, thereby influencing her odds of getting pregnant. If immediate medical consultations are taken, a yeast infection can be easily treated and resolved in a fortnight or so. Thus, women don’t need to worry about it anymore. However, if you need more information about the chances of getting pregnant while you have a yeast infection, read on.
What Is a Yeast Infection?
Yeast infection or candidiasis commonly occurs in women because of a fungus/ microorganism called candida that causes an imbalance in the body leading to an overgrowth of yeast cells. The vagina usually has a healthy quantity of yeast cells and bacteria. Candida and another bacterium called lactobacillus are also naturally present in the vagina. Lactobacillus is the good bacteria that is responsible for keeping a check on the growth of candida. But, in case of an imbalance, the yeast cells start multiplying, leading to an infection. Candida albicans, in particular, is a type of pathogenic yeast that produces most yeast infections.
Symptoms of Yeast Infection
Yeast infections can show more than one symptom which might go unnoticed in its initial phases. Here are some of the symptoms that can help you identify a yeast infection and take necessary actions to treat or avoid it.
- Rashes around the vagina.
- Intense itching and irritation around the area.
- Swelling around the vaginal area.
- Presence of a curdy white vaginal discharge accompanied by itching and discomfort.
- Foul-smelling discharge.
- Burning sensation during urinating.
- Pain or burning sensations during intercourse.
- Soreness and redness around the vagina.
Causes of Yeast Infection
Several factors could cause an imbalance/ overgrowth of yeast and lead to a yeast infection. Here are some of them.
- Strong antibiotics
- Uncontrolled diabetes/ high sugar levels
- Poor immune system
- Hormonal imbalance
- Stressful lifestyle
Does a Yeast Infection Cause Infertility?
Women trying to conceive with a yeast infection are likely to wonder whether or not they can get pregnant with a yeast infection. There is no need to panic as you can conceive even if you have a yeast infection because there is no conclusive evidence that indicates yeast infections cause infertility in women. However, the symptoms associated with yeast infections, which include soreness, swelling, irritation, and burning sensations can make sex uncomfortable and painful. So, a woman suffering from a yeast infection may not be inclined to engage in intercourse. Therefore, a yeast infection does not directly impact fertility, but it can certainly contribute to the problems of becoming pregnant by interfering with the person’s sex life. Also, recurrent yeast infections can create a hostile environment for the sperm, making conception difficult.
How Does It Affect Your Chances of Getting Pregnant?
An untreated yeast infection is not the exact cause of infertility in women; however, it certainly plays an indirect role in creating complications for conception in the following ways:
If a woman has a yeast infection, she should avoid having sex, as there are high chances that the infection will be passed on to her partner.
The pain and discomfort can prevent her from having sex. She may not feel like having sex because of the intense pain. Both of these factors can make her miss her fertile window, thereby affecting her chances of conceiving.
Certain antifungal creams used for treating the infection can change the vaginal pH balance, which may hamper the easy transportation of the sperm to the egg.
It is also possible that a woman’s immune system can become counterproductive, and the white blood cells in her body while battling the yeast infection may unintentionally extinguish her partner’s sperm thus making conception harder.
How to Treat Yeast Infection While Trying to Conceive
Every problem has a solution. A yeast infection in a woman surely makes it difficult for her to conceive, but that does not mean she cannot get pregnant at all. If you are trying to conceive and have a yeast infection, here is how you can fight it:
In case you have a yeast infection while you are trying to conceive, it is best to refrain from sex until it gets cured completely.
Early detection and swift treatment may prove helpful in quick healing.
Your doctor may suggest some vaginal creams that may be applied directly to the affected area for a few days to provide relief from soreness and itching.
Vaginal pessaries are another option. The pessary dissolves in the vagina and attacks the root of the underlying infection.
Prescribed pills for severe yeast infections can also help, although they don’t offer immediate respite from the itching and discomfort as creams do.
Can You Prevent a Yeast Infection?
Although women experience yeast infections 2 to 3 times in their lifetime, you can prevent them with these simple precautionary measures:
Keep your immunity up by following a healthy diet and an exercise routine; include lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet to promote good bacteria.
Avoid excess consumption of sugary foods as they can trigger the growth of unhealthy bacteria in the body.
Maintain hygiene around the vaginal area; however, refrain from using harsh scented soaps. Such soaps can disturb the vaginal pH balance and increase your chances of getting a yeast infection.
In case you have to take a course of antibiotics, do consider taking probiotics for the development of healthy bacteria.
Increase your consumption of yoghurt, opt for plain yoghurt, which is devoid of any sugar.
Do not wear extremely tight clothes, especially tight bottoms, as they may promote the occurrence of yeast.
Change out of wet swimsuits and sweaty workout clothes as soon as possible. Keep the vaginal area dry and clean.
Urinate after intercourse. Urinating after intercourse flushes out bacteria, if any, that has entered the urinary tract. The bacteria cannot settle in the tract and cause infection.
Go in for breathable cotton underwear which doesn’t trap moisture or heat.
Try to use chemical-free pads or tampons and change them often when menstruating. You can also switch to an environment-friendly menstrual cup.
Do not douche as it can interfere with the pH balance of the vagina and remove the good bacteria which counters the infection.
Avoid hot baths as it can increase the chances of yeast growth.
Getting pregnant with a yeast infection is possible; however, it may be bothersome. In the instance of recurring yeast infections, or difficulty in curing through home remedies, it is advisable to consult a gynaecologist for tests and specific treatments.
Also Read: What Are the Major Reasons for Infertility?