- October 31, 2017
- Posted by: Sally Gole
- Category: Blog
As unpleasant and unwanted as they are, vaginal yeast infections (also known as thrush) are extremely common, with around 3 out of 4 women experiencing a yeast infection at some stage in their lifetime.
Vaginal yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans – a common type of yeast that normally lives in harmony with other friendly bacteria in the bowel, and in smaller numbers in the vagina.
Candida albicans is mostly harmless, but if the delicate balance is upset, the yeast numbers will increase and thrush symptoms will develop including itching, redness, swelling and general discomfort to the vaginal area, burning while urinating and a cottage cheese-like discharge.
Yeast infections themselves do not cause infertility. But what many women (and even some medical specialists) don’t realise, is that recurrent infections, or poor vaginal flora, can dramatically impact a woman’s ability to fall pregnant.
A balanced vaginal flora determines how a woman’s body reacts to sperm.
A yeast infection changes the consistency of the cervical mucous making it harder for the sperm to reach the uterus. In the case of recurrent infections, the vaginal flora becomes so out of balance that the sperm simply cannot reach the cervical opening.
The pH (or the balance between acidity and alkalinity) of a woman’s vaginal flora, should be between 3.8 to 4.5 (more acidic) through most of her menstrual cycle, with a surge to between 7-14 (more alkaline) around ovulation time.
Sperm simply cannot survive in an environment that is too acidic.
A more alkaline state during ovulation protects the sperm as it travels through the vagina and the cervix on its way to fertilise an egg. Alternating pH levels are part of a normal healthy vaginal pH flora and acts as a natural defense mechanism to ward off infections such as Candida and Bacterial Vaginosis.
In the case of recurrent infections a woman’s body will fight back by maintaining a more acidic environment, which then becomes more hostile to sperm, even around the critical time of ovulation. This imbalance can greatly affect a woman’s ability to fall pregnant.
Regular rebalancing of the vaginal pH flora is key
If a woman receives continual treatment for recurrent thrush infections without regularly rebalancing the vaginal flora, it can create an environment where ‘bad’ bacteria thrive because there is not enough ‘good bacteria’.
If you’re suffering from recurrent vaginal infections the most important thing to do is to treat the infections and rebalance the vaginal flora. There are many natural solutions such as tea tree oil douches and probiotic pessaries as well as working to balance the body’s acid alkaline balance and the microbiome of the digestive system.
It is important, even for those not wanting to conceive, to treat recurrent infections with a holistic approach to reduce the incidence of reinfection
If you are experiencing recurrent vaginal yeast infections you don’t have to keep suffering in silence, there are lots of holistic options that can help you! If you are in or around the Northern Beaches area of Sydney and need support for recurring thrush symptoms or fertility issues contact us or a book a session online and we’ll work with you to create an individualised treatment plan that meets your health goals.