If you seem to get a yeast infection during your period, chances are, it is due to an elevated, alkaline vaginal pH. The normal pH of a healthy reproductive age female’s vagina, when it is not menstruating, is between 4 and 5. During menstruation, the addition of menstrual fluids raises this pH. Also, estrogen levels are lower during your period; and, low estrogen levels cause the vagina to be less acidic as well. The yeast Candida love to grow in a alkaline, less acidic, vaginal environment. Thus, because of the lower vaginal pH, that can occur during menses, this could be a key reason why you seem to get yeast infections at this time.
Using normal tampons may have an adverse effect on the pH of the vagina. Because tampons trap vaginal discharge, they also can lower pH. Blood has a pH of 7.4; so, keeping extra menstrual fluid trapped in the vagina, will greatly raise the pH. If you don’t want to use a pH balancing tampon to keep your vagina acidic, you may want to switch to a menstrual pad of some kind. Using a pad will allow the blood to flow out of the vagina and not “water down” the naturally acidic fluids in the vagina. Using a menstrual pad may be even better than using a pH balancing tampon.
Findings in Research
One study stated the variance of vaginal pH during a period quite well. The study was published in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics [85.3 (2004): 298-300]. According to the researchers:
The vagina of a reproductive-age woman has a pH between 4 and 5. During menstruation, the vagina becomes less acidic due to the presence of menstrual fluid and diminished population of lactobacilli. If the vagina becomes less acidic, the protective barrier provided by the normal acidic condition of the vagina becomes less effective and colonization by pathogenic microorganisms tends to appear. The antimicrobial activity of the vaginal fluids is correlated with low pH and high lactic acid content.International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics [85.3 (2004): 298-300]
The study also stated, that using a pH balancing tampon could help stop yeast infections during periods. The tampon used in the study, which was found to help reduce yeast infections during a period, contained lactic acid (the same type of acid produced by helpful vaginal probiotics) and citric acid. Tampons that contained this acid, effectively reduced vaginal pH during menstruation to levels typically found during non-menstruation. According to this same study:
These results indicate that the test tampon [the test tampon contained lactic and citric acids] can effectively reduce the elevation of vaginal pH during menstruation to the values present during the non-menstruating period. This effect is probably due to the continuous release of lactic acid.International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics [85.3 (2004): 298-300]
Another study discussed the changes that can occur to the vaginal microbiota during menses. The study was published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases [30.6 (2000): 901-907]. The research looked at the microbiotic life present in the vaginas of two groups of women: those with bacterial vaginosis (BV), and those without BV. The study found that women without BV had very little change in the amount of Lactobacillus bacteria during the course of their menstrual cycle (recovery rate for these bacteria ranged from 82% to 98%). However, women with BV had significantly less Lactobacillus bacteria during menses; Lactobacillus was only recovered from 33% of the women with BV during menses. Towards the end of the menstrual cycle, the Lactobacillus in these women with BV, did grow; but, still was recovered from only 54% of the women at the end of their menstrual cycle.
A reduction in Lactobacillus bacteria can cause other pathogenic microbes to start invading the vagina. Some Lactobacilli secrete lactic acid, which helps to keep the vagina acidic, and less conducive to Candida colonization. Also, some Lactobacilli secrete hydrogen peroxide, which helps keep pathogenic bacteria that cause BV, in check naturally as well. The key symptom of BV is a vaginal odor that is either “fishy” or “cheese” smelling. So, if you seem to have a foul vaginal odor, and you get yeast infections during menses, this could all be due to an improper balance of vaginal bacteria; as the women with BV in this study, were shown to have much less probiotic Lactobacilli bacteria in their vaginas.
Another study also cited tampon use as a possible predisposing factors to vaginal Candidiasis. The study was published in Vojnosanitetski Pregled [67.10 (2010): 819-824]. The study used a group of case women who had three or more episodes of vaginal yeast infections during the past year. Two control group women (those without recurrent yeast infections) were selected for each case woman; these women had a similar age to their case counterpart. The study found that 20% of women in the case group predominantly used tampons during menstruation in the past year. In the control group, only 7% of the women primarily used tampons during the past year. The study concluded, that wearing panty liners and using tampons may promote vaginal Candidiasis; especially in women who use over the counter antifungals to treat themselves.
Estrogen Levels During Your Period
If you don’t seem to get a yeast infection after your period, but during your period, it could be a cause of low estrogen levels. Yeast infections after a period could be the result of estrogen; as this hormone causes the vaginal cells to become richer in the sugar glycogen. However, estrogen also lowers the pH of the vagina; and, since infections seem to happen during a period mostly, they are likely pH related. This is even more probable if you use tampons. Thus, since it may not be the excess sugar causing a problem, taking an estrogen supplement to lower vaginal pH may help. Taking an estrogen supplement might be helpful to you; although, this may not be true if you get yeast infections after your period frequently.
The chart below shows you the levels of hormones in women’s bodies during the menstrual cycle. The chart is a compilation of differeing levels of hormones; with the average level depicted as a solid blue line. High and low levels of hormones are seen by the dashed grey lines. Please note, that chart C shows estraidol, and estradiol is estrogen. So, interpret the estraidol line as the level of estrogen.
A paper, published in the journal Endocrinology in 2005, states the importance of correct estrogen levels in regards to feminine health. The paper related, that a key role of the epithelial cells (cells on the outside walls or surface; often lining an interior surface) of the vagina and cervix, is regulating the pH of these areas. A high vaginal pH can induce infections in this area; conversely, a low pH helps probiotic bacteria thrive and inhibits the development of microbial pathogens. A lack of estrogen, is correlated with the alkalinization (raising of the pH) of these areas, to a PH of around 6.5 to 7. Estrogen replacement can help bring the vagina back into pH balance, via acidifying the vagina to a pH of around 5.5.
The conclusion of the study, also stated that estrogen seems to play a catalyzing role—so to speak—in acidifying the vagina. The study stated, that the cells in the part of the cervix that protrudes into the vagina (this section of the cervix is also lined with epithelial cells), acidify the vaginal canal by producing acid. This process occurs at all times in a woman’s body; however, it can be stimulated via estrogen. Thus, estrogen does play a role in keeping the vagina at an acidic pH.
Antibiotic Use Increases Infection Rate
If you have recently taken antibiotics, this is another factor that greatly elevates your chances for developing a yeast infection. This is a widely known fact, and one study demonstrated this increase in Candidiasis due to antibiotics. The study was published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine [July-August 2008 vol. 21 no. 4 261-268]. The study’s chart shows 27 women who took antibiotics and 27 women who did not recently take antibiotics. The women who took antibiotics had taken about 3 days worth of oral antibiotics recently. The chart below shows the great increase in Candida infection at the time of follow up checks.
The primary reason why antibiotic use correlates directly with yeast infection incidence, is because antibiotic use kills off friendly, vaginal bacteria. To bring your vaginal microbiota back into balance, you should use some form of probiotic supplement. Using a probiotic pill is usually a very effective way to do this; because, these pills contain the correct species of bacteria (Lactobacilli). If you do choose to take a probiotic pill, make sure you insert one or two daily into the vagina, in addition to just taking it orally. This will directly impact your vaginal microbiota. Try inserting the probiotic pill into the vagina at night before you go to bed.
If you have some yogurt, you can inoculate the yogurt with the bacteria in a probiotic supplement. Simply add the probiotic pill to the yogurt and let it set at room temperature for a few hours. The colony forming units present in the pill will start to spread and multiply in the yogurt. You can then soak a tampon in the yogurt and insert it into your vagina before you go to sleep. This should be a great home remedy you can use to effectively get rid of a yeast infection. You can check out this article to learn more about probiotic pills: Good Probiotic Yeast Infection Pills.
If you use a store procured douche product during your period, you may be upsetting the good bacteria in the vagina. This may be a reason why you seem to get a yeast infection during your period. If you do decide to douche; avoid alkaline, and store product douches. Douching with apple cider vinegar diluted with water, would help to keep the pH acidic, and clean it out at the same time. Also, try and insert a probiotic pill into the vagina after you douche, to help keep the good bacteria colonies thriving in your vagina.
A study that looked into how douching is associated with vaginal Candidiasis, was published in the Journal of Epidemiology [20.1 (2010): 70-76]. The study utilized 451 females ages 15 to 49 years who attended various health clinics. The researchers retrieved information on their douching practices, and performed vaginal examinations. The study found that the frequency of douching was significantly associated with genitourinary symptoms. Such symptoms, were more prevalent in women who douched several times a week up to once daily. Concerning vaginal yeast infections, douching did seem to predispose women to such infections. The researchers closed by stating their concluding remarks: “Although causality was not definitively established, women should be informed that vaginal douching may carry a risk of vaginal Candidiasis and endanger their reproductive health.”
Despite what a study discovers or states, it may have a mistake or two. This happens rarely; but, does happen. Likewise, studies that do not factor in what women use for a douche may result in a wrong conclusion regarding douching.
As you may have seen, some will claim douching is not good for you. However, this conclusion is likely spurious. The reason for this is that many women use a store bought douche. These douches contain harmful antimicrobial chemicals. These products disrupt the probiotic life in the vagina, and should be avoided—thus the problem is likely not douching, but what is used as a douche. Douching is a great way to mechanically remove excess material left over from menses; which Candida may use as a food source. Additionally, using something natural, such as apple cider vinegar mixed with water, as a douche, can acidify the vagina. Stay away from the hazardous douches you buy at the store; simply save money and get into better health by using water, essential oils, and apple cider vinegar.
A Powerful 12 Hour Yeast Infection Treatment
You don’t have to suffer for days with a yeast infection, using natural medicine you can effectively treat yourself at home and be totally cured in 12 hours. This may seem amazing, but there was an amazing amount of research behind this 12 hour method.
The woman who developed this natural remedy is named Sarah Summer. Summer, like many other women, suffered from repeated yeast infections. And, unlike most women, Summer’s condition with Candida was very severe. The yeast in her vagina developed long tendrils into her vagina and became a mold. The advice from her doctor about her state was that her condition was “impossible to cure.” Her doctor told her that the treatments she provided earlier only addressed the symptoms, and that her yeast infection had become serious.
After failing to get help from her doctor, Summer decided to fight for her health and, together with her husband Robert, began researching Candida extensively. After purchasing many treatments and studying extensively, Summer was able to discover the “root” causes of her infection and apply this knowledge. She finally discovered how to totally eliminate Candida from her vagina. It was through addressing the underlying issues that gave Candida a foot hold in her body. Her treatment was so efficacious, it stopped yeast infections in about half a day in others who tried her program.
Summer wants to help others and so has released her discovery in her book Natural Cure for Yeast Infection. You can download the book immediately if you decide to get it. For those unsure about investing in another treatment, Sarah Summer offers an 8 week 100% money back guarantee on her work. If for any reason you are unsatisfied with the treatment, you can quickly get your money back.
For information about the publisher of this book, you can read up about Keynetics Incorporated here. Keynetics is a large U.S. based company that has a long history of serving people books and programs on a wide variety subjects. They have been around almost since the advent of the Internet.
- http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijgo.2004.03.003 — Efficacy of a novel pH-buffering tampon in preserving the acidic vaginal pH during menstruation. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics [85.3 (2004): 298-300]. PDF Available Here
- http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/313818 — Eschenbach, David A., et al. "Influence of the normal menstrual cycle on vaginal tissue, discharge, and microflora." Clinical Infectious Diseases 30.6 (2000): 901-907. PubMed, PDF Available Here
- http://dx.doi.org/10.2298/VSP1010819J — Jankovi?, Slobodan, et al. "Risk factors for recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis." Vojnosanitetski pregled 67.10 (2010): 819-824. PubMed
- https://dx.doi.org/10.1210%2Fen.2004-1153—George I. Gorodeski, et al.. Estrogen Acidifies Vaginal pH by Up-Regulation of Proton Secretion via the Apical Membrane of Vaginal-Ectocervical Epithelial Cells.Endocrinology. 2005 Feb; 146(2): 816–824. PubMed Full Text
- http://dx.doi.org/10.3122/jabfm.2008.04.070169 — Xu, Jinping, et al. "Effect of antibiotics on vulvovaginal candidiasis: a MetroNet study." The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine21.4 (2008): 261-268. PubMed, PDF Available Here
- http://doi.org/10.2188/jea.JE20081046 —Heng, Lon Say, et al. "Vaginal douching in Cambodian women: its prevalence and association with vaginal candidiasis." Journal of Epidemiology 20.1 (2010): 70-76. PubMed Full Text