- Wedding: September 2008 - A tiny town just outside of Glacier National Park
Yeahhhhhh. I have had yeast infections since I was 29, and the only thing that stopped them was a 6-month, once-weekly course of diflucan. Stopped that, and they came back.
A yeast infection was also one of my first pregnancy signs, as normally I wouldn’t get them until AFTER my period when my estrogen started rising. Needless to say, I have had three (or rather one that won’t go away) since getting pregnant. I am 12 weeks on Saturday.
If this is your first yeast infection, please see a doctor to confirm that you in fact have yeast, and not bacteria, before self-treating. As PP’s mentioned, it could be hormonal changes– pregnancy or hormones can create “leukorrhea,” which is a thick, whitish discharge that is still normal and not indicative of any infection. If you have itching, burning, or fragile tissue, it could be yeast.
IANAD, but I have dealt with yeast for a 2 years, since an unfortunate misuse of antibiotics and subsequent immune infection (mono) left me somehow susceptible. Here is what you need to know about pregnancy and yeast:
1) It is very common for pregnant women to have yeast infections, due in part to increased estrogen levels, and probably raised levels of blood glycogen
2) Diflucan (fluconazole), the oral tablet, is a second-line of defense if other methods fail, and best only taken in the second trimester. Regular, high doeses have been linked to birth defects. Normal yeast infection treatment doses have not.
3) In the first trimester, GyneLotrimin (clotrimazole) is Class B and Monistat (miconazol) is Class C. The Class C rating on Monistat is only due to limited first-tri study data. All sources say it’s safe and fine to use. Tissue absorbtion of topical “azoles” is very, very little. I have used GyneLotrimin three times since conceiving. I imagine I’ll keep having to. Sigh.
4) THREE-DAY COURSES WILL BE LESS EFFECTIVE DURING PREGNANCY. It’s an asspain, but the longer you treat, the more likely you will be to ditch the yeasty beasties. Pregnancy yeast is persistent yeast.
5) If you try Monistat and it burns like a sonofabitch, don’t give up before you try GyneLotrimin. For some reason, I CANNOT tolerate monistat. It gives me firevagina. However, GyneLotrimin I can tolerate just fine.
6) Decrease your sugar intake. Take a probiotic supplement and eat plain yogurt. Wear loose-fitting clothing and cotton underwear only. Take off your workout clothes soon after wearing them. Make every effort to let your lady parts “breathe.” Whoever said “keep them dry and cool” clearly never owned a vagina because, uhh, that’s not what they DO… but you know, it helps.
7) Naturopatically, you may find that one or more of these remedies help:
– Probiotic suppositories, usually a suspension of probiotic powder in cocoa butter (very runny when melting, ugh) OR a small amount of plain yogurt inserted into the vagina before bed to assist with repopulating the probiotic flora of the vagina. Some people swear by this.
– Apple cider vinegar sitz baths or douches. Try to get ACV that is unpasteurized “with the mother.” It will run about $15 a gallon. Avoid the stuff that’s just pretend “Apple Cider flavored vinegar” (it’s white vinegar with coloring). For a bath, use 1-2 c in a shallow bath with lukewarm water. Soak for 15-20 minutes. For a douche, use 2-3T per 2 Q water. You can use a greater ratio, but lots of vinegar will cause tissue irritation. The goal is to raise the Ph of the vagina, which in turn creates a hostile environment for the yeast.
I’ve had good luck with this in the past, either coupled with a topical treatment, or for symptom relief.
– Hydrogen peroxide douche. Either a 50/50 ration water to h202 or 25/75. I was loathe to try this but my midwife recommended it, twice daily, for two days, coupled with probiotic suppository, before starting another 7 day course of GyneLotrimin with my latest YI. Surprisingly, it didn’t really irritate my vagina and I honestly can’t say whether I felt like it killed the yeast, but it didn’t seem to hurt anything.
A WORD ON DOUCHING: Before I started having problems with yeast, I was in the “douching bad, douching evil” camp. In a way, I still am. I would never put Summer’s Eve or some sort of synthetic fragrance or unknown chemical in my vagina because it’s “gross” or “dirty.” These are recommended with specific outcomes in mind, but they might not work for everyone’s sensibilities. If they’re not your cuppa, don’t do them at all.
If you choose to do any of these naturopathic douches, do not do so for more than three days in a row.
Those alternative treatments are the ones I’ve seen recommended duing pregnancy. There is a suppository called Yeast Arrest that some people swear by, but you should know that it contains Boric Acid, which has had limited study in pregnant women and may be contraindicted for pregnancy. It also contains small amounts of tea tree oil, which basically kills everything it touches and might have significant skin absorbtion. My midwife allowed me to use these for 7 days, but not longer. They didn’t clear up my YI this time, and they’re messier than the azole creams.
Raw garlic is also a “thing,” crushed cloves eaten or whole cloves as a suppository overnight. This also might be contraindicted for pregnancy, so I’d talk to your GP or do some reading before trying it.
Anyway, I wrote a novel. I hope some of it is useful to you and the other ladies on here having trouble with pregnancy and yeast.