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Life During Perimenopause Doesn’t Have To Include Yeast Infections

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Can Perimenopause Cause Yeast Infections?

The short answer is no. However, an uncomfortable reality that comes with this phase of life is the frequency of menopause bacterial infections, including yeast infections. During perimenopause, ovarian hormonal shifts creates a number of changes in your body, and that includes an increase in the conditions that make the vaginal mucous membranes more vulnerable in general.

Along with hot flashes and bowel distress, hormone decrease also causes the vaginal walls and their protective layer of the vaginal mucosa to get thinner and drier [1]. The mucosa is rich in nutrients such as amino acids and glucose, allowing the naturally occurring vaginal bacteria to grow[6].

When this is thrown off-balance, it creates the environment for microbial shifts which enable other bacteria to thrive, or for natural bacteria to overgrow. Within this environment, conditions from bacterial vaginosis to the more serious candida infection can grow.

So, chances are you can develop yeast infections during perimenopause, but they’re neither inevitable nor caused by that phase itself.  You or your doctor can treat and on many occasions prevent recurrences.


What Causes Yeast Infections?

“Yeast infection” is a common term for a condition known as candidiasis, a fungal infection caused by a yeast (which it itself a fungus) called candida.Candida normally lives on the skin or inside the body, in places like the mouth, throat, gastrointestinal system, and vagina, without causing any complications.

Vaginal candidiasis is the second most common type of vaginal infection after bacterial vaginal infections. About1.4 million women a year make outpatient visits for vaginal candidiasis in theU.S.

It’s estimated that about20% of women have Candida in the vagina with no symptoms at all. However, sometimes candida can multiply and cause an infection if the environment inside the vagina changes in a way that encourages its overgrowth such as hormones, medicines, or changes in the immune system. 

Why Do Yeast Infections Thrive During Perimenopause?

Ovarian hormones such as estrogen and progesterone fluctuate in the years leading up to menopause. Some symptoms go away after your period finally ceases, but vaginal atrophy, like bone loss, is a slow and continual outcome.

During this phase, the vagina produces fewer secretions (commonly known as “vaginal dryness”, another symptom of menopause) and is more vulnerable to small tears. The dryness and tears both contribute to shifts in the naturally occurring flora (i.e., candida), allowing some overgrow, making women more susceptible to yeast infections.

There is, no doubt, a relationship between menopause and candida, but other lifestyle factors affect it as well, all within your control.


Sugar feeds yeast - reduce/eliminate it from your diet altogether. Be observant, as sugar is not always where you expect.

Simple carbs such as bread and pasta

  • Sweets, cakes, cookies
  • Syrups– in general, as many of them contain some form of sugar
  • Sports drinks – stick to water during physical activity
  • Tropical/summer fruits such as watermelon and pineapple

Other high-glycemic (high in carbohydrate) foods include

  • White rice
  • Dried fruits
  • Sweetened dairy products such as fruit yogurts

Be watchful of other staples in your diet which contain hidden sugars

  • Pasta sauces (they contain between 6-12 g per half-cup serving)
  • Granola bars (corn syrup, brown sugar, brown sugar syrup, dextrose, fructose can be found in practically all of them, and the ones with chocolate are worse)
  • Condiments like ketchup and barbecue sauce
  • “Fortified”waters, marketed as containing vitamins and minerals
  • Pre-made soups


Over cleaning or not cleaning properly either eliminates good bacteria or promotes bad bacteria


Artificial material and/or body-hugging pants and underwear act like a greenhouse, trapping heat and moisture


Anything that does not stimulate the metabolism contributes to its slowing, so keeping up an exercise regimen keeps the whole body working better

How You Can Prevent It?

Stay active, but vigilant

You already know the importance of exercise. You can carry on your active lifestyle even if you need to change what you wear. Look for clothing that provides ventilation. Proper airflow keeps the area cool and dry.

  • Natural, organic fibers and moisture-wicking cotton are already integrated into most higher-end activewear such as golf and tennis gear
  • Change out of any activewear as soon as possible after a workout, whether it’s a calming yoga session or an intense spin class
  • Change out of wet bathing suits and into dry clothes after swimming
  • Unwind in your sauna, spa or Jacuzzi, but don’t stay in longer than you need, and be sure to change into dry clothes after getting out
  • Avoid overuse of tight-fitting clothing like jeans, leggings


Here are important tips to help reduce recurrentCandida vaginal yeast infections:

  • Don’t douche or rinse the vagina; it gets rid of the naturally occurring flora
  • Avoid scented tampons, soaps or other feminine hygiene products
  • When using the restroom, be sure to wipe from front to back
  • With sexual activity, use condoms during intercourse, clean any devices, and clean yourself thoroughly

Holistic treatment methods

Promoting the growth of healthy flora and preventing unhealthy ones can be self-managed or with the assistance of a professional:

  • Supplements: Probiotics are the exact opposite of rinsing and douching – they encourage the “good” bacteria in your vaginal flora you may be missing.
  • Get tested for female hormonal imbalance.With studies proving the connection between low estrogen and candida, progesterone and candida and other perimenopausal fluctuations, it’s a good idea to get your levels checked.

Will I Never Get A Yeast Infection Again?

Sometimes, despite best efforts, yeast infections will still occur[4].

Candidiasis treatment can be done with over the counter antifungal medication, or your OBGYN may commonly prescribe stronger antifungals as the traditional treatment.

Change of life doesn’t mean“change of lifestyle”. With so many of the other complications that come at this phase, yeast infections don’t have to be one of them. You have a plethora of options, resources and competent professionals available to help.

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