Thrush is unfortunately more common when you’re pregnant, leaving many pregnant women wondering how to get rid of it as soon and as safely as possible.
During pregnancy, the vagina becomes rich in a form of glucose named glycogen, which feeds the growth of candida albicans. It is believed the higher levels of glycogen occurs due to increased oestrogen levels and reduced acidity in the vagina. This is why a pregnant woman is ten times more likely to get thrush than normal, coupled with a poor diet (especially if you’ve got terrible morning sickness or unhealthy cravings) and any stress, it can be a door wide open for thrush.
Symptoms of Thrush
Increased cervical fluid production is common during pregnancy, you may have already noticed a thin, milky discharge which is a result of your body’s hormones doing their job. If the discharge becomes thick, white and creamy and if you have itching in your vaginal area, you may have thrush. Some women notice a stinging or burning sensation on the labia during urination and some also feel pain or burning during sexual intercourse. If this is you, it is important to have this checked out by your doctor to ensure nothing else is going on.
Sometimes what you may assume are symptoms of thrush can actually be something more sinister, especially if you’re having trouble getting rid of it. Bacterial vaginosis or STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) can have the same thrush-like symptoms – the only way you can be sure is to get tested for all of these possibilities.
If you have thrush and you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you won’t be prescribed oral treatment because it may affect your baby. An anti-thrush pessary such as clotrimazole, econazole or miconazole will most likely be prescribed for at least seven days.
Take care when inserting a pessary because there is a risk of injuring your cervix (neck of the womb). To reduce the risk, it is better to insert the pessaries by hand instead of using the applicator.
If you have symptoms around your vulva, such as itching and soreness, you may also be prescribed an anti-thrush cream.
What can I do to prevent vaginal thrush?
There are a number of simple things you can do:
- Wear cotton or silk underwear rather than synthetics and change daily. Wear tights or stockings for as short a time as possible.
- Wash underwear in hot water and pure soap and double rinse to make sure any irritants are removed before you wear them.
- Change out of damp swimming costumes or sports clothes as soon as possible after swimming or exercise.
- If using pads, change them regularly and avoid perfumed or deodorised pads.
- Avoid tight fitting clothes such as jeans as this creates a moist, warm environment that encourages the overgrowth of bacteria and yeasts
- Never douche – except if it is specifically prescribed by a doctor to treat an infection. Douching increases your risk of vaginal irritation and is not recommended during pregnancy. A healthy vagina does not need a vaginal deodorant.
- Avoid using soaps, bubble baths, bath salts, perfumes and perfumed talcs around the vaginal area. And never ever use anything harsh such as disinfectants – even diluted, near your vagina.
- A gentle moisturiser like aqueous cream may be advised. Use water or soap substitutes to wash the area.
- Always wipe from the front to the back after going to the toilet since this stops bowel organisms being swept into the vagina. Don’t use perfumed toilet paper because it can cause irritation.
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