As we all know, fungal infections are unfortunately a (very) common occurrence in a woman's life! And in this case, even more so during pregnancy! Of course, vaginal mycosis is an infection that heals very well, and rather quickly, but its symptoms are not the most pleasant. Why is vaginal mycosis common during pregnancy? How is vaginal mycosis diagnosed? What are the causes and, above all, effective treatments? Is it dangerous for pregnant women? Elia deciphers the subject for you!
What is vaginal mycosis?
Vaginal mycosis is a common gynecological infection of the vagina or vulva, classified as infectious vaginitis. Mycosis is caused by the growth of a fungus, the most common being Candida Albicans (in 80% of cases!). This fungus can also develop in the mouth, digestive tract or intestines, leading to candidiasis. And it has to be said that women are not spared from mycosis: according to the Revue du Praticien, 75% of them are affected by it at least once in their lives! And medical analysis laboratories can testify to this: 20% of examinations carried out concern vaginal mycoses!
What causes vaginal mycosis during pregnancy?
During the pregnancy periodAs a pregnant woman's body prepares to welcome a newborn, a veritable tsunami of changes takes place in the organism! And gestation is a risk factor for the development of vaginal mycosis.
Generally speaking, genital mycosis is an infection caused by an imbalance in vaginal flora . When the balance of the flora is disturbed, the result is a reduction in the immune system! And the same applies to intestinal flora! To ensure a balanced vaginal flora, the pH (a measure of acidity) must be between 3.8 and 4.5 . As with intestinal flora, an imbalance in vaginal flora can be caused by antibiotics . More often, however, it is hormonal imbalance that is at the root of the imbalance.
Hormone imbalance: the hormone party
During this period, the development of fungal infections is more frequent, for the simple reason that hormonal fluctuations tend to upset lthe balance of vaginal flora. The rise in estrogen also leads to greater production of glycogen, a sugar highly prized by fungi. This explains why vaginal mycoses tend to occur regularly in pregnant women.
Poor personal hygiene: beware of excess!
It's true that intimate hygiene is important, but only if it's done properly! And it's not a lack of cleanliness that's to blame for the development of mycoses, but rather too much of it! In the dock: douches, perfumed products, foaming soaps and all products with a pH that's too acidic or too alkaline!
What are the symptoms of pregnancy fungus?
Symptoms of vaginal mycosis include itching and inflammation of the vulva and vagina, as well as burning, pain (particularly during intercourse), vaginal discharge, and a feeling of "dryness". vaginal discharge (leucorrhoea), which is abundant and thick (yellow or white) but generally odourless, and even urination problems (difficulty in urinating or, on the contrary, frequent urges).
Differentiating between mycosis and irritation
Be careful, however, to distinguish between vaginal mycosis and irritation of the vulva or vagina (caused by tight clothing, for example). The main symptom to distinguish the two is lthe appearance of vaginal discharge.
In the case of dermatological disease (psoriasis, eczema) or irritation, there may be itching or a sensation of discomfort and burning, but vaginal discharge remains "normal". Vaginal mycosis, on the other hand, is characterized by a thick, abundant discharge.
Is it dangerous to have a yeast infection at the end of pregnancy?
Even under normal circumstances, vaginal mycosis remains a benign gynecological infection with no effect on fertility. However, if you suspect a mycosis, you should make an appointment with your gynecologist as soon as possible, as any infection should be treated as soon as possible, especially at the end of pregnancy.
The risk of mycosis in the last trimester? The development of neonatal candidiasis in the newborn at the time of birth.
In the first case, candidiasis may be ante-natal, i.e. it appears during pregnancy. This infection can occur when the cervix is open in the last trimester , and membranes have ruptured prematurely (a fissure in the water sac, for example). The virus can then spread through the amniotic fluid and infect the fetus in the digestive tract, skin or lungs.
Candidiasis can also be perinatal, which is the most frequent form of neonatal candidiasis. The baby's passage through the genital area during ldelivery can be a transmission factor if the mother suffers from untreated genital mycosis at the time of birth.
If you're pregnant and prone to vaginal mycoses, don't panic! The monitoring you receive (especially at the end of gestation) enables you to detect mycoses (if they appear) and treat them.
Since these infections are generally benign, it's also possible that the baby is just a "healthy carrier" of the infection, with no risk of developing symptoms.
How can I effectively treat mycosis during pregnancy?
Vaginal mycosis is a benign infection that can be treated relatively quickly and easily, as long as it is treated as quickly as possible to avoid any consequences for the health of the mother or child.
When it comes to medicinal treatments for vaginal mycosis, there are several options:
- Antifungal treatment: taken orally (in tablet or capsule form), or as an antifungal cream to be applied to the vulva, this medication destroys the germ responsible for mycosis by passing through the bloodstream. It is prescribed by a doctor. To determine the most appropriate treatment (and the most effective at eradicating the fungus in question), it's a good idea to take a vaginal swab in a laboratory;
- Local treatment with vaginal ovules: this is the most common method! Generally speaking, all you need to do is insert the ovule into the vagina in the evening (it works during the night, avoiding descending too quickly), over a period that depends on the treatment. Some vaginal ovules need to be inserted over a 7-day period, others over a single night (monodose). These highly effective products are available in pharmacies without prescription.
As for natural alternatives to combat vaginal mycosis, we can mention the relevance of probiotics, which, while not eliminating the mycosis, help to rebalance the vaginal flora. In fact, this is the mechanism behind vaginal ova, which contain strains of lactic ferments! The Apyforme brand offers a probiotic formula to prevent vaginal mycosis.
Some websites recommend taking essential oils diluted in a spoonful of vegetable oil (such as mint, basil, lavender, tea tree, winter savory and oregano), but essential oils are not recommended during pregnancy!
It's best to seek advice from your doctor.
Our tips for preventing fungal infections l
Although vaginal mycoses are common during this period (and even outside of it), there are certain habits that can help prevent their appearance:
Careful with hygiene products
As far as intimate hygiene is concerned, given that this vaginal infection is due to a disturbance in the flora, it's best to draw a line under aggressive products such as soaps containing perfume, intimate sprays (an aberration!) or cleansing wipes. When it comes to cleaning the vulva (labia minora and majora) and vagina, there's only one product you need: clear water! Simple, effective and natural!
Choosing the right material
When it comes to fabrics, give priority to cotton underwear that can be washed at 60°C: that's the temperature at which you're sure to eradicate bacteria.
Hydration during intimate acts
If you're prone to burning sensations during intercourse, an organic, water-based intimate lubricant will be perfect for preventing painful friction.
Avoid irritating sanitary pads
We strongly advise against wearing sanitary towels or panty liners. As well as being known for their dubious composition, they irritate mucous membranes and encourage the growth of bacteria. The alternative? The panties periodsBut you already know that we're convinced!
Don't stay wet for too long
When bathing in the sea or swimming, remember to rinse off thoroughly under running water, and don't keep your wet bathing suit on for too long, as dampness is an ideal breeding ground for fungal infections.
Focus on healthy eating
Finally, when it comes to food, it's best to cut back on sugary products, which tend to "feed" mushrooms.
FAQs on fungal infections during pregnancy
Is it serious to have a yeast infection during pregnancy?
It remains a benign infection with no health consequences, affecting one pregnant woman in four! If detected and treated promptly, it generally poses no risk to the baby. Beware, however, of fungal infections that appear during the last trimester: in the case of an open cervix and cracked membranes, bacteria can penetrate the amniotic fluid and infect the baby. Fortunately, this is a very rare occurrence.
Can mycosis cause miscarriage?
It is not normally responsible for miscarriage. In rare cases, it may cause uterine contractions, but this is exceptional.