Candida in pregnancy is a vaginal infection supported by yeasts of the genus Candida that manifests itself in many women during this particular period.
Generally, candida in pregnancy is not considered a serious infection, however, in order to avoid complications, it should not be underestimated in any way and requires appropriate treatment.
Candida symptoms in pregnancy are similar to those that occur in non-pregnant women and are usually easily recognizable. However, it is always good to contact your doctor or your trusted gynecologist, in order to identify precisely which pathogen has given rise to infection.
What is Candida in Pregnancy?
Candida in pregnancy is a fungal infection supported by yeasts belonging to the genus Candida. In the majority of patients, the infection is triggered by Candida albicans (80-95% of cases), however, infections caused by Candida glabra are rarer (5% of cases).
In many individuals, Candida albicans is normally present as a diner in several body areas, including the vaginal mucosa in women. Generally, the yeast in question does not cause damage or pathologies, as it is kept under control by the pH and by the vaginal bacterial flora and by the body’s defense mechanisms. However, under certain conditions, this control can be eliminated and Candida albicans may proliferate excessively, giving rise to so-called candidiasis. When infections are located at the level of female genitals, we usually speak of vulvovaginal candidiasis.
What are the Causes and Risk Factors of Candida in Pregnancy?
Candida in pregnancy is a type of infection considered fairly common. The causes and risk factors that lead to the onset of the disorder are multiple and can compete with each other to promote the uncontrolled development of the yeast in question.
However, among the possible causes that are hypothesized to be the main cause of the appearance of candida in pregnancy, we recall:
- Increased estrogen levels (a phenomenon typically occurring during gestation);
- Alteration of the normal vaginal bacterial flora due to changes that occur in the woman’s body during pregnancy;
- Lowering of immune defenses
Among the risk factors that can contribute, favor or worsen infections and manifestations of candida during pregnancy, we find:
- High blood sugar and diabetes (these two factors may favor the development of vaginal candidiasis in pregnant women and non-pregnant women);
- Excessive sugar consumption;
- Possible antibiotic therapies in progress;
- Use of synthetic underwear;
- Cleaning and intimate hygiene not done correctly;
What Symptoms Causes Candida in Pregnancy?
The characteristic symptoms of candida during pregnancy consist of:
- Odor whitish odor loss or yeast odor, having a consistency similar to curdled milk (often, losses caused by Candida infections are described as “similar to ricotta”);
- Redness, burning and/or vulvar pruritus, also very intense;
- Constant feeling of annoyance;
- Inflammation ;
- Burning during urination and/or during sexual intercourse;
- Vulvar dysuria (occasional).
In truth, most of the above symptoms can also be caused by vaginal infections of different origins, for this reason, it is always good to contact the doctor or the gynecologist who will be able to make a correct diagnosis of the disorder that afflicts the pregnant woman.
How to diagnose Candida in Pregnancy?
The diagnosis of candida in pregnancy is essentially based on the analysis of the symptoms reported by the patient and on the visual examination of vaginal discharge. Generally, at the gynecological examination, the patient suffering from candida during pregnancy shows plaque-like white plaques at the level of the vaginal mucosa. Moreover, the latter appears edematous due to the ongoing infection.
The diagnosis can then be confirmed by the microscopic examination of the whitish vaginal discharge that can determine exactly the presence or absence of Candida spp.
The execution of a correct diagnosis of candida in pregnancy is essential to undertake the most appropriate treatment and to rule out the presence of infections or other diseases (for example, bacterial vaginosis or diseases caused by sexually transmitted pathogens, such as Chlamydia trachomatis or Trichomonas vaginalis ).
Candida Cures and Treatments in Pregnancy
Naturally, pregnant candida – although not considered dangerous for the fetus – must still be adequately treated. Unfortunately, not all drugs usually used to treat this infection can also be used during the gestation phase.
However, it seems that topical imidazole antimycotics can be used safely enough during pregnancy. These drugs are generally formulated as creams or ova that must be applied directly to the vaginal level following the directions were given by the doctor (generally, one administration per day, the evening before going to sleep, for a period of at least 7 days). Miconazole and clotrimazole are the most commonly used active ingredients to combat this fungal infection during pregnancy.
Such drugs are considered safe because the local use of pharmaceutical formulations of this type gives rise to a reduced systemic absorption compared to other routes of administration, thus minimizing potential risks to the fetus. However, as a precautionary measure, the administration of these drugs is not recommended during the first trimester of pregnancy.
The use of oral antifungals (such as for example, fluconazole ) is, however, generally not recommended due to the systemic absorption of the active ingredient and the potential damage that this could cause to the fetus.
In any case, all the aforesaid drugs can be used to combat candid pregnancy only and exclusively if expressly prescribed by the doctor or gynecologist and only in cases where these health figures consider it absolutely necessary and indispensable. The DIY treatment of fungal infections should not be carried out under any circumstances, even more so if Candida spp. affects pregnant women.
Useful Tips to Prevent Candida in Pregnancy
Unfortunately, it is not possible to predict if a woman will develop candida during pregnancy. The following advice, however, may be useful for decreasing the risk of developing this type of infection, as well as may be useful for speeding up recovery in the event that the disorder has already occurred.
- Follow a healthy and balanced diet, an action that should be carried out regardless of the risk of being pregnant during pregnancy;
- Reducing the carbohydrate intake, even more so if the candida in pregnancy has already occurred ( Candida spp., In fact, multiply very quickly with the intake of foods rich in sugars );
- Maintain accurate intimate hygiene, using delicate and specific cleansers for these delicate areas of the body;
- Prefer the use of cotton underwear and avoid linen made of synthetic fibers;
- Avoid using too tight or tight pants;
- Reduce stress;
- If the infection has already occurred, follow and complete all possible therapies prescribed by the doctor. The premature interruption of pharmacological treatments, in fact, can lead to therapeutic failure and the formation of Candida strains resistant to the antifungal drugs used
If despite the adoption of the aforementioned precautions, the candida in pregnancy should nevertheless present or worsen, a new medical consultation is absolutely essential.