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A yeast infection during ovulation is likely related to vaginal pH. At the onset of ovulation, estrogen levels drop dramatically and luteinizing hormone spikes to its highest level. One study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology [1997 Jun; 176 (6):1270-5], demonstrated how these two hormones change vaginal pH. The study analyzed 172 women and retrieved vaginal cultures from 82 of them. The researchers reported that estrogen levels were inversely correlated and follicle-stimulating hormone was directly correlated with vaginal pH. Thus estrogen causes pH to fall and luteinizing hormone causes pH to rise.
During ovulation estrogen is low; tending to raise vaginal pH. Also, at the inception of ovulation follicle-stimulating hormone levels are high; also tending to raise vaginal pH. Consequently, at the start of ovulation, your vagina will tend to be the most alkaline.
Candida fungi, the yeast responsible for vaginal yeast infections, cannot thrive well in acidic environments. When your vagina becomes alkaline at the beginning of ovulation, it becomes a more ideal environment for Candida to overgrow and cause infection. The chart below will illustrate typical hormone levels of premenopausal women throughout the menstrual cycle. Please note that estradiol is an estrogen; so the estradiol line simply indicates estrogen levels.
Luteinizing Hormone and Candida
Another hormone, luteinizing hormone, also plays a role in causing a yeast infection during ovulation. A study conducted by Kinsman, et al, showed that luteinizing hormone caused Candida albicans to grow germ tubes (hyphae) in its presence. The study was published in the journal Mycoses (31:617-626). These tendrils Candida can grow increase its pathogenic ability; thus these types of “in grown” yeast infections are more difficult to deal with. This may be one reason why the infections during ovulation you have had might have been more severe.
Caption: Here is shown the asexual bud produced by Candida labeled as a blastoconidia; this form is less pathogenic. Also visible are the mycelial (hyphal or tendril) growth of Candida labeled hypha.
Estrogen Enriching Vaginal Sugar
As the article yeast infection before a period explained, estrogen causes vaginal cells to start enriching themselves with a sugar known as glycogen. As the above chart illustrates, estrogen levels are at their highest right before ovulation; thus your vaginal cells have taken on some sugar as a result. When estrogen levels drop, your vagina will become more alkaline. Thus, at the start of ovulation, there is enough sugar for yeast to feed on and a more conducive pH environment for yeast to grow in. This could be why you seem to regularly experience a yeast infection at the start of ovulation.
A study, published in Endocrinology [76.1 (1965): 63-69], proved that estrogen levels were directly related to glycogen synthesis in rats. When the rats were given up to 1 mcg of estradiol (an estrogen hormone), the rate of glycogen synthesis in the rat uterus increased at a constant rate in the hours after the hormone was administered. Giving doses of estradiol of more than 1 mcg did not cause greater estrogen synthesis than 1 mcg doses of estradiol. This probably indicates that the glycogen synthesis mechanisms in the rats were operating at their maximal level at doses around 1 mcg; therefore, adding more estradiol could not increase glycogen synthesis mechanisms beyond their maximal capacity.
Since estrogen levels peak shortly before ovulation, this likely causes a buildup of glycogen in the vagina. When this sugar is present, the yeast in the vagina have a feeding frenzy, multiply, and cause a yeast infection around ovulation. If you are taking estrogen birth control pills, you are also adding more estrogen into your body. It is likely that the birth control pills also push estrogen levels above their normal levels; causing more glycogen to be synthesized in the vaginal tissue.
Lowering Vaginal Sugar and pH Levels
One way to reduce the amount of available sugar in the vagina while simultaneously acidifying the vaginal canal is to introduce probiotics. Many species of Lactobacillus produce lactic acid as they eat up sugars and other available nutrients in their environment. Thus, if you take a efficacious probiotic supplement orally and insert the supplement into your vagina daily, you should be able to better control Candida outbreaks.
Exercise can also help your body to metabolize excess sugar and may help to reduce the amount of sugar in the vaginal tissue. Yet, if you are taking estrogen via some pharmaceutical, light exercise may not reduce the sugar levels in the body. You may have to perform extremely exhaustive exercise to do this due to the excess estrogen in the body. A study that demonstrates how this could happen was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology [63.2 (1987): 492-496]. In this study, rats that had their ovaries removed were given doses of estradiol and then subjected to exercise. The rats who had received the estradiol were able to exercise for longer periods of time than the control group of rats. The study also found that submaximal exercise in the estradiol treated rats seemed to not reduce the levels of glycogen in their bodies tissues. The researchers concluded that the estrogen hormone caused the body to preserve glycogen in the tissues of the body during light exercise. Therefore, you may find that your estrogen birth control pills stop you from reducing the sugar in your body, even though you did some mild aerobic activity!.
Research has also demonstrated that pathogenic bacteria are associated with an elevated vaginal pH. It may be that your vagina’s normal bacterial flora has become unbalanced with not only yeast, but harmful bacteria. The research demonstrating this was disclosed in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology [176.6 (1997): 1270-1277]. The study showed that those women with bacterial pathogens all had significantly elevated vaginal pH levels. Among these women, 11 were positive for Gardnerella vaginalis, 10 were positive for beta-hemolytic streptococci, and 12 had mixed aerobic pathogens. The chart below shows the results of the study’s analysis and shows how vaginal pH (y axis) and testing positive for bacterial pathogens (x axis) were related.
The way to ameliorate this situation naturally is to use an essential oil that is both antifungal and antibacterial, such as oregano essential oil. You can also use an herb that is antifungal and antibacterial like garlic to cleanse the vagina. Adding hydrogen peroxide to the vagina will likely clear out some pathogenic bacteria as well. But remember, it is essential to re-establish the good bacteria to keep your vaginal microbiota healthy. Lactobacillus acidophilus for yeast infections is a great choice when adding probiotics to the vagina!
Controlling Repeat Yeast Infections
One woman knew the struggle of repeat yeast infections all too well; her name is Sarah Summer. Summer developed frequent attacks of Candida early on in her life. Her infections were not normally what women experience; as about 75% of women will get at least one episode of Candidiasis in the course of their lives. Summer’s Candida problems were so severe that the yeast actually turned into a mold in her vagina; sending tendrils deep into her outer vaginal tissue.
At first, Summer turned to prescription drugs for a solution, but to her surprise they only worked temporarily. Summer would get relief from her symptoms only to find that a short while later she had yet another attack of Candida. You can imagine how someone’s quality of life would be diminished by the arduous ordeal of coping with the pain and irritation of infection after infection of yeast!
After resolving to find a solution to her problem, even when her doctor said it was “impossible to cure,” summer began to devour medical information that related to her plight. After some considerable effort on her part, and the part of her husband Robert, Summer arrived at a solution. What made her methodology of treatment different than prescription drugs was it got at the “root” causes of Candidiasis. Her all-natural treatment was both safe and effective--able to totally cure an infection in 12 hours. She went on to later publish a book with the fruit of her efforts; you can learn more about it at Summer’s website.
Summer wants to help, so she offers an 8 week, 100% money back guarantee on her book. It is available for digital download from her publisher, a subsidiary of the U.S. based Keynetics Incorporated. If for some reason you get the book and find it wasn’t satisfactory, you can get your money back quickly and easily.
At Home Treatment Plan
Candida Hub has a natural treatment plan using a few common natural ingredients that are typically present in most homes. You can start using this plan to start your journey towards a yeast free life. If you’d like to know more you can read the article homemade yeast infection cure. There are also other related articles in that section of the website about over the counter pills for yeast infection. If you don’t find what you're looking for there, feel free to browse the other topics on this website; there is a lot of information to digest!
- http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0002-9378(97)70345-4 -- Vaginal pH as a marker for bacterial pathogens and menopausal status. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology [1997 Jun; 176 (6):1270-5]
- http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0507.1988.tb04416.x -- Effect of mammalian steroid hormones and luteinizing hormone on the germination of Candida albicans and implication for vaginal candidosis. Mycoses (31:617-626)
- http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/endo-76-1-63 -- BITMAN, JOEL, et al. "Kinetics of in vivo glycogen synthesis in the estrogen-stimulated rat uterus." Endocrinology 76.1 (1965): 63-69.
- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3654408 -- Kendrick, ZEBULON V., et al. "Effect of estradiol on tissue glycogen metabolism in exercised oophorectomized rats." Journal of Applied Physiology 63.2 (1987): 492-496.
- http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0002-9378(97)70345-4 -- Caillouette, James C., et al. "Vaginal pH as a marker for bacterial pathogens and menopausal status." American journal of obstetrics and gynecology 176.6 (1997): 1270-1277.
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