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Vaginal infections durng pregnancy
Pregnancy is the time when your body undergoes significant hormonal changes. Due to these changes, women often find their immunity levels dipping, making them susceptible to an array of infections. Infections in the vaginal region such as the yeast infections, Trichomoniasis, and Bacterial Vaginosis are a common occurrence during pregnancy. However, one may encounter other kinds of vaginal infections as well. If left untreated they may harm the foetus too. Therefore, it is best to stay well informed about the causes and symptoms of the different vaginal infections during pregnancy in order to identify and treat them at the earliest. Vaginal Infections To Watch Out For During Pregnancy #1. Bacterial Vaginosis One of the most common vaginal infections during pregnancy, Bacterial Vaginosis or BV is seen in every one out of five pregnant women. Cause: BV is caused when the vagina’s naturally existing bacteria start multiplying excessively due to hormonal imbalances, leading to unpleasant symptoms. Symptoms: Pain and burning sensation during urination Inflammation, irritation, and itchiness inside and around the vagina Thin, watery, greyish white vaginal discharge, which has a very foul odour Diagnosis: Your doctor, through a pelvic examination, can diagnose BV. She may take a swab sample of the discharge to observe it microscopically and even send it to the lab for a vaginal culture for further confirmation. Treatment: Antibiotics are a good line of treatment for Bacterial Vaginosis. Your doctor will prescribe you a dosage safe for use during pregnancy. However, if you are in your first trimester, she may avoid giving any medication at all. Points to remember: If detected early BV may go away on its own without medication. However, if left untreated for long it may lead to serious problems such as – low birth weight of the baby, preterm delivery, pelvic inflammatory disease in the mother, eventual damage to the fallopian tubes, increase in risk of contacting Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), and even infertility. What you can do: In order to prevent BV during pregnancy you must – Drink at least 2-3 liters of water daily Keep your vagina clean and dry to prevent bacterial build-up Do not use bath oils or thick applications in the vaginal region. These may block pores and lead to infections. Maintain good hygiene and wash yourself dry twice or thrice a day Wear cotton undergarments and change your underpants twice a day to prevent the area from being sweaty. Wear loose pants and avoid tights to prevent sweat buildup. Sleep without your underpants to prevent infections. Adopt safe sex practices and avoid having intercourse with multiple partners during your pregnancy. While using toilet paper, wipe from front to back to avoid infections from anal bacteria to spread to the vagina. Avoid frequently douching the vagina in an attempt o clean it. This may worsen the infection. #2. Yeast Infection A yeast infection is commonly seen during the second trimester of pregnancy. It features an overgrowth of the naturally existing vaginal fungus – Candida. Causes: A spike in the levels of progesterone and estrogen in your body cause yeast infections during pregnancy. This hormonal imbalance disrupts your vaginal pH, thus, causing fungal infections. An antibiotic or steroid treatment during pregnancy may also cause a yeast infection. Some other causes include – excessive douching, having intercourse, having STD, or diabetes. Symptoms: Burning pain while passing urine or during intercourse Appearance of whitish brown discharge from the vagina that looks like cottage cheese. Yeast like foul smell from discharge Inflammation, irritation, and redness in the labia and vulva. Diagnosis: Your doctor can easily diagnose a yeast infection upon a vaginal examination. To further confirm the possibility she may take a swab sample of the discharge and check it under the microscope or send it to a lab for further testing and conclusive results. Treatment: A yeast infection can be treated using an anti-fungal cream prescribed by your doctor. The cream must be applied to the infected area as suggested on a regular basis. You may alternatively be prescribed an oral anti-fungal medication or an ovule to insert in the vagina. Points to remember: If undetected or untreated yeast infections get transferred to the baby at the time of delivery. They infect the baby’s mouth in the form of an oral condition called thrush. What you can do: In addition to the above mentioned tips you must - Reduce your intake of sugar as it is inflammatory and may worsen the fungal infection. Add complex carbohydrates to your diet to improve your digestion and immunity. Eat yogurt. It is probiotic and helps improve the gut and vaginal pH. #3. Trichomoniasis This vaginal infection results from a parasitic protozoan microbe known as the Trichomonas vaginalis. Causes: A pregnant woman may contact this infection from a sexual encounter with an infected partner. The disease also spreads through infected pool water, towels, or toilet seats. Symptoms: Yellow/white/clear discharge from the vagina Fish-like foul smelling discharge Redness, inflammation, and irritation in the vaginal area Pain while passing urine Diagnosis: Besides identifying the evident symptoms, your doctor can diagnose Trichomoniasis by taking a swab sample of the vaginal discharge. This can either be studied under the microscope to visually identify the parasite or can be sent for a lab culture to get a confirmed result. Alternatively, a urine test may also reveal Trichomoniasis infection. Treatment: Trichomoniasis is treated with a course of oral antibiotics. Make sure to take only prescribed drugs in recommended dosage only so that your baby is not harmed by the medication. Points to remember: If detected and treated timely the Trichomoniasis infection can be completely cured. It is one of the most easily curable vaginal infections. What you can do: In addition to the above mentioned precautions related to proper hygiene and safe sex practices, one must avoid using swimming pools, shared bath towels, and public toilets during pregnancy.