Can a yeast infection cause infertility

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Can a Yeast Infection Cause Infertility?

Yeast infections are a common annoyance for many women. But if you’re trying to get pregnant, could repeated bouts of candida or yeast overgrowth sabotage your fertility? Here’s what the research shows about how yeast infections could potentially impact your conception journey.

What is a Yeast Infection?

Yeast infections result from an overgrowth of the Candida fungus, which normally lives in the vagina in small amounts. When the vagina’s pH balance gets disrupted, yeast can rapidly multiply triggering symptoms like:

  • Thick, white, clumpy discharge
  • Vaginal and vulva itching and burning
  • Redness and swelling
  • Pain when urinating or during sex

Yeast thrive off high estrogen levels, blood sugar spikes, antibiotics, douching, poor hygiene, sexual transmission and more. Treatment involves anti-fungal creams or oral medications to kill the excess yeast overgrowth.

While unpleasant, yeast infections are easily treatable in healthy women. But can repeated occurrences affect your ability to conceive? Let’s explore potential links between yeast and fertility problems.

How Could Yeast Infections Affect Fertility?

There are a few theorized ways recurrent yeast infections might indirectly impact your conception abilities:

  • Inflammation – Chronic inflammation from frequent yeast could potentially damage reproductive tissues like ovaries and fallopian tubes. However, there is little quality research demonstrating this effect.
  • Cervical mucus changes – Candida may alter cervical mucus properties so it becomes hostile to sperm migration rather than slippery and sperm-friendly at ovulation. However, this hasn’t been definitively proven.
  • pH disruption – Vaginal pH balance is important for conception. Yeast-fighting treatments and ongoing infections may disrupt optimal pH for sperm motility and survival.
  • Sexual frequency – Painful yeast infections and their treatment course may make couples abstain from sex during the fertile window, missing chances to conceive that cycle.
  • Hormonal effects – Estrogen promotes yeast overgrowth. Hormonal conditions like PCOS could predispose women to chronic yeast issues that interfere with ovulation.
  • Fallopian tube damage – Very severe infections may potentially impact the fallopian tubes, but this is considered extremely rare.

The consensus is that yeast infections on their own are unlikely to directly cause infertility or permanent reproductive damage in otherwise healthy women. Let’s look at the evidence.

What Does the Research Show?

There is limited quality clinical research investigating infertility and yeast infections specifically. However, here is what we know:

  • No studies clearly show yeast alters fertility lab markers like FSH, estrogen or antral follicle count.
  • Claims that yeast infections scar fallopian tubes are not supported and lack evidence.
  • Research has not found yeast impacts semen parameters in men or cervical mucus in most women.
  • Studies have not proven yeast overgrowth worsens endometriosis or causes reproductive harm.
  • For women with fertility issues, yeast infections occur at similar frequencies as the general population.

While yeast may indirectly impact the odds of conception through sexual abstinence during infections or pH changes, overall the consensus is that yeast alone does not cause infertility in otherwise healthy women. More research is warranted.

Tips for Preventing Yeast Infections

To avoid excessive yeast infections when trying to conceive:

  • Wear cotton underwear and avoid tight clothes to allow ventilation
  • Avoid douching which can disrupt vaginal pH
  • Don’t use deodorant tampons or scented products
  • Limit sugar intake and follow a low glycemic diet
  • Take probiotics to support healthy vaginal bacteria
  • Treat yeast promptly when it occurs and finish the full course

See your doctor if you experience chronic, recurring yeast that persists despite treatment. Get evaluated for any underlying medical conditions that could be contributing.

The Takeaway

Based on current evidence, there is no definitive link between isolated yeast infections and infertility. While yeast may indirectly interfere with conception chances through timing, inflammation or pH changes, overall yeast does not permanently damage fertility in healthy women. Keep yeast under control through preventive habits and prompt treatment when it occurs. But don’t fret that occasional yeast will make you infertile. Focus on following an overall fertility friendly diet, lifestyle and proper preconception medical care for the greatest odds of conception success!

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