Why do I keep getting yeast infections while trying to conceive?
While conception and yeast infection may almost rhyme, they certainly do not go well together. If you’re trying to get pregnant, you may get yeast infections more frequently. Let’s find out why that can happen and what you can do about yeast infections while trying to conceive.
What is a yeast infection?
A vaginal yeast infection is a fungal infection that can cause vaginal itching, thick white vaginal discharge, irritation, and extreme discomfort to your vagina and vulva. It’s not a sexually transmitted infection but instead results from the excess growth of yeast. This growth can be caused by changes in hormones or by pregnancy which can change the balance of your vagina and lead to growth of yeast.
Do yeast infections affect your ability to get pregnant?
It is important to say this right off the bat: a yeast infection won’t prevent pregnancy directly. You will still be able to ovulate as you normally do and you are still able to have sex. However, having a yeast infection may impede conception if you are trying to conceive (also known as TTC). This is due to how yeast infections can affect the bacteria that live in your vaginal, known as vaginal flora. For example, a yeast infection could impact your cervical mucus, which may make it more difficult for sperm to enter the uterus.
The imbalance in pH levels that accompany a yeast infection may also create an environment that is not the best for sperm, and overall not great for fertilization to occur. This may decrease the ability of sperm to survive, which would affect their ability to reach the egg for conception. Recurrent yeast infections may hamper the consistency of cervical mucus, and for the same reasons, inhibit sperm from reaching the uterus. In very severe cases (for example, an infection that goes untreated for several weeks or months) this can cause infertility or the need for fertility treatment.
It’s also worth pointing out that because yeast infections can be uncomfortable, having a yeast infection may lessen your interest in having sex during your fertile window. Plus, having sex while you have a yeast infection can make treating an existing infection more difficult and prolong your discomfort. If you are trying to conceive and prone to yeast infections, check out our vaginal probiotics to help you prevent them from developing.
How to help prevent yeast infections while trying to conceive
If you are preparing to conceive, it’s important to keep your genital area clean before and after intercourse. This can be done by cleaning your vulva with clean, warm water and by avoiding douching or scented products that could irritate sensitive skin. Other ways you can increase your chances of conception in addition to having consistent sex during your fertile window are maintaining a healthy weight, adopting a balanced diet, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol.
You can also help prevent yeast infections by being mindful of when you’re taking antibiotics (either to treat a yeast infection, or if you are taking antibiotics for another reason as certain antibiotics may cause yeast infections to develop) to complete the full course of the medication, wear breathable underwear, wipe from the front to the back, and eat foods with active cultures like yogurt.
Yeast infections are tricky business, and are often painful experiences. Having a yeast infection while you are TTC can make an already stressful period more stressful. Remember to keep your vagina and vulva clean and follow tips to prevent yeast infections. And if you do happen to get one, as 3 out of 4 people with vaginas will in their lifetime, stay calm and seek treatment delivered right to your doorstep. Relief is around the corner.