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Can a yeast infection affect my ability to get pregnant?

Can a yeast infection affect my ability to get pregnant?

Today, most women have experienced or know someone who has dealt with the itching and burning irritation associated with a vaginal yeast infection. However, very few people take the time to identify the long-term effect of such conditions on their fertility.

Vaginal yeast infections are unfortunately common, with three out of four women getting infected at least once in their lifetime, while many others experience it two or more times.

If you experience this condition and you’re not trying to get pregnant, you may not be concerned about the minor or significant irritation that occurs. However, if you’d like to conceive, you cannot afford to take chances.

When you have a yeast infection, you may wonder if you can get pregnant or if the infection can cause infertility.

This post will share basic details about yeast infection to help you know whether it affects fertility or not so you can protect yourself if you wish to get pregnant.

Can a Yeast Infections Cause Infertility?
Can a Yeast Infections Cause Infertility?

What is a yeast infection?

Your vagina contains some yeast cells and bacteria that must remain balanced to keep it healthy. If the balance is off, the yeast cells will multiply and reach unhealthy levels, something that will cause burning, swelling, itching or irritation. This is called yeast infection or vaginal candidiasis, and it affects the vagina and other tissues that surround the vaginal opening (vagina and vulva).

Yeast infection causes

Yeast overgrowth can result from pregnancy, antibiotics usage, a weakened immune system, uncontrolled diabetes and hormone medications like oral contraceptives. Other factors contributing to yeast infections include lack of sleep, excessive stress, and poor eating habits.

Yeast infection signs

The common signs of a yeast infection include experiencing intense itching or irritation on the vagina area. You may also experience a burning sensation, particularly after having sex or urinating.

In other cases, the swelling and redness that surrounds the vulva can be accompanied by a rash. You may experience pain and soreness in the vaginal region coupled with odourless vaginal discharge that could be whitish or cottage cheese in appearance.

Remember that not all infections present the same symptoms. Some yeast infections can be mild and will not cause initial symptoms, so most women don’t really know that they have a yeast infection. If the condition is left untreated for too long, symptoms will worsen, increasing the risk of spreading infection throughout the body.

Do yeast infections cause infertility?

Yeast infections aren’t known to cause infertility by themselves, but that’s not the whole story. If your vaginal flora balance is off, your body will react differently to a sperm via several physical changes. For example, the infection can cause cervical mucus changes, making it hard for the sperm to enter your uterus.

The pH level imbalance makes the environment hostile to the sperms, and they cannot survive this. If the sperm cannot reach the egg to fertilize it due to the inhospitable conditions it may experience along the way or cervix changes, your chances of conceiving will decrease automatically.

Can yeast infections affect your chances to get pregnant?

In most cases, yeast infection doesn’t directly affect a person’s chance of conceiving but impacts the conception process. For instance, if the vaginal flora is poor, your ability to get pregnant will be affected by environmental changes that make it hard for the sperm to survive. If the sperm cannot travel to the uterine walls, your chances of conception will decrease drastically.

What’s more, if you are suffering from an infection, you will not feel like having sex regularly, or the experience could be too painful to handle. Painful and uncomfortable sex makes you less inclined to engage in sex. Although there is no conclusive evidence to show that yeast infections do cause infertility, they affect your chances of conceiving in other ways.

How can you treat yeast infections?

Currently, there are many treatment options you can consider if you have yeast infections. The treatments vary depending on the severity of an individual’s infection.

For instance, you can use various over-the-counter options like ointments, creams, tablets and suppositories even if you don’t have a prescription. The antifungal medications generally come in at 1, 3, or 7-day strengths and are less concentrated than the doses a doctor may prescribe.

If you have severe symptoms or the over-the-counter medication hasn’t worked, you can visit a doctor to get a stronger prescription option or oral medicines that can combat infection.

Self-medication can be risky sometimes because you might end up using the wrong medication, which would make things worse. It is better to consult with a health care provider to get the right treatment the first time.

How do I prevent yeast infections from recurring?
How do I prevent yeast infections from recurring?

How can you prevent yeast infections?

As you know, prevention is better than getting a cure. Knowing the factors contributing to yeast infections can help you eliminate or reduce the chances of getting the condition. Below are some of the things you can do to avoid a yeast infection.

Always keep the vaginal area clean

Maintaining hygiene around your vaginal area can help keep yeast infections at bay. You can keep the area clean by cleaning up with water and mild soap, then dry thoroughly afterwards. Remember to wipe the front to back to ensure you do not introduce additional microorganisms into your urinal tract. You also need to avoid douching because it will change the natural balance of vaginal flora.

Avoid wearing tight clothes

Today, most people like wearing tight-fitting clothes, but they can do more harm than good. These clothes usually trap moisture and heat, creating an ideal environment for yeast reproduction. It’s better to wear loose-fitting clothes that allow free airflow and not hold moisture close to the skin.

Get some chemical-free tampons or pads

Perfumes, dyes, and chemicals can easily irritate the vagina and create a natural bacteria imbalance around this area. Avoid using ordinary sanitary products or tampons. It’s better to buy chemical-free ones and change them regularly. Also, avoid using powerful scents found in sprays, powders, or similar products.

Make sure you pee after having sex

Every time you pee after sex, you flush away bacteria from the vagina area, so they do not circle and cause an infection. While this advice is usually recommended for preventing urinary tract infections, it can also help prevent yeast infections.

Maintain a healthy diet

a diet high in sugar and being overweight can contribute to yeast infections. Yeast usually feeds on sugar, so when you limit sugar in your meals, you will cab the growth of yeast in the body.

Although eating the right food will not cure yeast infections, maintaining a healthy diet will assist the body to fight yeast infections better and ensure the problem does not recur.

Try taking probiotics

If your body’s balance of bacteria and yeast is not proportional, a yeast infection will occur due to unchecked fungal growth. Taking probiotics will assist you to balance the good bacteria in the body so your vaginas pH levels can remain healthy.

Could it be something else?

Usually, most infections clear up within a few days or weeks after starting treatment. If the signs don’t improve as expected, you could suffer from chronic yeast infections and need special care. Even conditions like vulvitis, bacterial vaginosis, and some STIs can cause similar symptoms.

Overlapping symptoms can lead to a misdiagnosis, but if the signs do not go away even after treatment, you should consider seeing a healthcare provider to determine your actual health problem.

Although yeast infections rarely cause infertility, it is important to pay attention to your vaginal health, particularly if you want to get pregnant.

When is the best time to see a doctor?

If you have had a yeast infection before, you might be tempted to take over-the-counter medication before consulting a health care provider. But even if you know the symptoms, certain situations require the expertise of a doctor. Don’t just assume it’s a common infection.

If it’s your first yeast infection, it’s advisable to see a doctor right away. The physician will provide a detailed diagnosis and prescribed treatments that will have a systemic effect on the body compared to the standard creams and suppositories. Do not take medication unless your doctor approves it if you are pregnant.

If you realize you suffer from yeast infection regularly, you could have another major problem. Consulting with your doctor will help determine the best treatment for your condition. Note that yeast infections sometimes are a sign of an underlying health condition such as diabetes, so the doctor should diagnose and check your medical history.