Q: Good afternoon Dr. Please, I am 32wks pregnant but recently my vagina started itching me and there is this milky thing which has odour that normally comes out. I am not comfortable with it. Please ma’am, what is the cause and solution to this? Thanks
A: In pregnancy, the decrease in tolerance to glucose which may occur, means that the vagina has a rich supply of sugar which encourages the fungi to grow and multiply as they love the dark, warm, moist and rich environment 😀
Usually, there is yeast (fungi) in the vagina and they generally mind their own business until something comes along to disturb the peace of the environment. This disturbance can be in the form of abuse of antibiotics (which kills off the good bacteria that hold the fungi at bay causing them to take over and overgrow the environment) or even in pregnancy (where the estrogen hormone produced in pregnancy messes with the normal order of co-existence of fungi and bacteria, again, allowing the fungi to take over). Other conditions associated candidiasis include Diabetes Mellitus, disorders of the immune system, use of oral contraceptives, the hormonal changes associated with menstrual cycle etc
How can this be prevented? Trust me, I’m not going to suggest not getting pregnant 😀 There are things you can do to reduce your risk of this infection. They include:
• Wear cotton panties instead of tight fitting nylon panties.
• Always wipe from the front to the back, after using the bathroom
• Do not use perfumed personal care products like sanitary towels, tissue etc
• Do not spray perfumes in your genitals and avoid perfumed soaps
• Change out of wet swimming gear as soon as possible
Now, this infection can be treated using oral drugs (tablets to be taken by mouth) but these are not recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Vaginal pessaries and creams are better bets in pregnancy. However, because of the very small possibility of hurting your cervix (the neck of the womb), it is advisable not to use the applicator to administer the pessary. Instead, use your finger to insert the pessary. It may be necessary to continue the drug application for about 6 days as opposed to the shorter 3 day course. Your doctor will confirm diagnosis and advice on medication duration.
For more on candidiasis, please click on the following links:
Have a great weekend, y’all 😀