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While yeast infections are extremely widespread, having been known to affect around 75% of women at least once throughout their lives, pregnancy, through the nature of the hormones secreted by the body in this state, can create even more of a predilection. Yeast infections during pregnancy appear because the Candida Albicans, a type of fungi that exists naturally in the vaginal tract starts multiplying out of control. This multiplication occurs because the environment in your vagina becomes more favorable for the growth of the Candida due, initially to the increased secretion of estrogen during pregnancy, which, in turn, causes glycogen (a polysaccharide) to be secreted by the cells in the walls of your vagina. As the Candida feeds on sugars, it is obvious how its proliferation would be encouraged. A factor that can add to the apparition of a yeast infection during pregnancy is the use of antibiotics, because antibiotics will usually destroy the other bacteria that populate your vaginal flora and that maintain the Candida at a normal level.
The symptoms of yeast infection during pregnancy are not different from those of regular yeast infection. You might experience itching, redness and sometimes swelling of the areas around your vagina and sometimes of the labia. You might also feel a burning sensation, especially during urination, as well as a general vaginal soreness, and there’s a chance that you might notice some cracks at the level of the skin surrounding the vagina. A white discharge, with cottage-cheese or thick texture and odor-free might also appear. If you choose to have sexual intercourse during this period, you are likely to feel pain and discomfort, so it’s advisable to try to avoid it until you get some treatment. Your yeast infection during pregnancy will not affect your baby in any way, though the baby might contact a yeast infection during natural childbirth.
The diagnosis of a yeast infection during pregnancy is very simple, and it only takes a sample of your vaginal discharge taken by your doctor. It is very important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis of your yeast infection during pregnancy, because the symptoms could also be given by a series of other sexually transmitted infections or vaginal irritations which would require immediate treatment. You must also be very careful with the type of treatment you will choose, and must not do so without the advice of your doctor. Your doctor will most likely recommend a topical treatment for your yeast infection during pregnancy, in the form of an ointment or suppository. Taking your antifungal treatment orally is strictly forbidden during pregnancy. What you should also know is that it takes longer for the treatment to work in case of a yeast infection during pregnancy than in the case of a regular yeast infection because of the local conditions created by your hormones, and it might take a few days for it to have any noticeable results.
You can reduce the risk of getting a yeast infection during pregnancy by keeping a strict hygiene of your genital area, wiping front to back, wearing cotton underwear that will absorb moisture and generally avoid any sort of irritants in the area, and also by having yoghurt rich in lactobacillus acidophilus, which stimulates the growth of healthy, Candida-fighting bacteria in your body. Before taking any steps towards treating your yeast infection during pregnancy, talk to your doctor to make sure the means you are using are safe for you and your baby.