Vaginal thrush is a harmless, recurring, and uncomfortable yeast infection that is caused by the fungus Candida. It forms itching, swelling, and irritation in your vagina and its surrounding areas.
For many women, Candida already lives in their vagina without causing any severe symptoms. However, due to an increase in unfavorable vaginal conditions like hormonal imbalance can cause this fungus to grow out of control! There are a lot of women’s thrush treatments available in the form of ointment and tablets.
Although a lot of women experience thrush, the least convenient thing to know is that it is also common in pregnant women. Let’s read to find out why.
Why Are You Getting Thrush in Pregnancy?
One of the most common conditions in women, vaginal thrush, affects at least 3 out of 4 women in a lifetime. The main cause of this is due to anti-biotics or wearing tight clothes and underwear.
Pregnant women can get recurring thrush due to the rapid changes in their body during this period. Pregnancy causes hormonal balance in your body, increasing your estrogen levels and giving thrush a chance to develop.
Our bodies go through challenging times during pregnancy which disturbs the body’s harmony. So, if you’re currently pregnant and experiencing thrush, don’t worry; it’s absolutely normal!
Busting Myths About Thrush During Pregnancy
If you’ve experienced thrush during pregnancy, you might know how common it is. And if you’re a new mom-to-be with no prior experience with this infection, there’s nothing to worry about!
Thrush is a treatable yeast infection that goes away with regular medications. However, there are myths surrounding thrush in pregnancy. Hence, here is a dose of fact-check every soon-to-be mommy needs to take:
- There’s no medical evidence that says thrush prevents you from getting pregnant
- It can’t harm your unborn baby
- There are only 2% of cases where thrush is passed on to a newborn during labor
So quit believing myths about this common infection!
What Are the Signs of Thrush in Pregnancy?
Based on individual to individual, symptoms of thrush differ. However, look out for the following common signs:
- Soreness, burning, or itching of the vulva or vagina
- A stinging sensation during urination
- Soreness or extreme pain during sex
- Whiter and thicker than usual vaginal discharge
- Inflamed and cracked red skin around your vulva or vagina
Safely Treating Thrush in Pregnant Women
Before you take any yeast infection treatment for thrush, consulting a GP is necessary. During pregnancy, taking over-the-counter medications is not recommended since it can affect your baby. Hence, you need a professional to recommend medications.
Take the following steps to treat thrush in women:
- Before buying medications, mention you’re pregnant. This step is necessary because pregnant women are not prescribed oral medicines due to their effects on the baby.
- A GP will recommend you anti-fungal creams like Gyno Daktarin or Canesten Thrush Duo.
- The Candida fungus is known to grow in warmer conditions. Hence, avoid taking hot baths.
- Don’t use scented body wash or soaps around your vagina. Also, don’t let harsh chemicals in scented soaps and body products enter the vagina.
- Keeping the infected vaginal area cool is necessary. Hence prevent wearing tight clothes and underwear. Pick loose clothes and cotton underwear.
- Many doctors also prescribe pessaries. A pessary is a tablet that needs to be inserted into the vagina.
How to Prevent Thrush?
Vaginal thrush in pregnancy is common. However, you can take some preventive measures to avoid pregnancy thrush. Following a proper hygienic routine and regularly consulting with your doctor will lower your risk of developing this infection.
Here are some pregnancy health care tips you should take to prevent vaginal thrush:
- Rather than wearing synthetic undergarments, choose silk or cotton underwear. Wash and change them daily.
- If you wear stockings or tights, avoid wearing them for a longer period.
- Keep vaginal cleaning products as far as you can from yourself. Since the vagina can clean itself, it doesn’t necessarily need the help of external products. Moreover, these products sometimes contribute to disrupted vaginal pH balance and irritation.
- Avoid bath salts, bubble baths, and perfumed talcum powder around your vagina. Don’t use soaps with harsh chemicals or scents around it.
- Wash your undergarments in hot water daily! Double rinse them to remove irritants that can trigger thrush.
- Don’t use pads for more than six hours. Use normal unscented pads and panty liners.
- Tight-fitted jeans or clothing create a warm and moist environment that promotes bacteria and yeast infections.
- Pat dry your vulva and vaginal post-baths.
- Get rid of damp swimwear or underwear as soon as you can. A moist environment breeds yeast and other bacteria that can cause thrush.
Vagina thrush is inconvenient to deal with. However, here’s the good news – it doesn’t affect your baby and is completely treatable! But before giving birth, ensure you treat it entirely because there are still some rare chances of passing thrush on to your baby during labor.
Krishma Patel Co-founder and the Superintendent Pharmacist at MedsNow, an online pharmacy in the UK that provides health and wellness products and treatments along with free online consultations. She is passionate about showcasing the integral function community pharmacies can play in supporting the healthcare system and the NHS by providing patients with high quality, safe and discreet access to healthcare at their convenience. Along with being the co-founder of MedsNow, Krishma is also the Director and the Superintendent Pharmacist of Enimed Ltd., an independent pharmacy group comprising 32 branches.