Do you suspect you have a yeast infection after hysterectomy?
Is there redness and irritation around the entrance of the vagina?
Maybe you feel a burning sensation when you are urinating?
Or is the white discharge making you suspect that something is wrong down there?
Most women are well familiar with these annoying symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection. Yeast infections are unpleasant and can even be painful especially when you are having sex.
Let’s first see which factors lead to vaginal yeast infections after hysterectomy surgery.
Causes of yeast infection after hysterectomy
Are yeast infections more common after hysterectomy?
Well, there are several reasons a woman is more likely to develop a yeast infection after surgery.
One of the main reasons is the use of antibiotics during and after the operation. Usually, all women having an abdominal or vaginal hysterectomy get antibiotics to reduce the chance of an infection. Unfortunately, antibiotics can also destroy the normal bacteria in the vagina, giving the rapid growing yeast a chance to take over.
Another reason for yeast infections after hysterectomy is due to the decreased blood flow to the ovaries. This affects the normal estrogen production by the ovaries. Lower estrogen levels can make the vaginal tissues quite dry and you become much more prone to developing a yeast infection.
Last, after a hysterectomy, your immune system may be weakened and your body may lack its natural defenses against bacteria and yeast infections.
Under normal circumstances, taking OTC anti-fungal medication like Monistat is enough to treat a vaginal yeast infection. Though, I would recommend you not to use any medication that you need to insert into the vagina in the postoperative period. Ask your doctor, he will be able to prescribe you the right anti-fungal medication that you can take through the mouth.
No matter what, if you have symptoms like smelly discharge and irritation post-op, you better make an appointment with your surgeon. He can verify you are healing well from the operation and see if you really have a yeast infection and not a bacterial infection. The moment you find out the source of the problem, then, it is not difficult to treat.
There are more than 20 different species in the Candida family that normally live in our intestines, mucous membranes, and our skin. Though, usually, the cause of the problem is a fungus named Candida albicans.
6 Good practices to avoid and treat a yeast infection after hysterectomy:
1. Take care of hygiene:
If you are suffering from repeated vaginal yeast infections, take strict care of hygiene. A moist, warm and cramped environment is ideal for the growth of Candida. Be conscious of the clothes that you wear. Do not wear tight synthetic clothes, leggings or tights, and opt for loose, cotton clothing. Change wet bikini bottoms immediately for dry ones after you have swum. Always wash underwear in very hot water, or, as my doctor suggested, press the crotch with your steam iron to kill any lingering microorganisms.
2. Avoid harsh treatments:
Harsh medicines or treatments irritate the vagina and disrupt the vaginal flora, making you susceptible to yeast infection. Avoid douching, strong medicines, vaginal sprays, and deodorants and opt for mild unscented products.
3. Take a probiotic supplement:
Choose natural ways to solve a yeast infection after hysterectomy.
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that normally live in your body. These good bacteria keep a check on bad bacteria and help them to maintain a normal internal environment.
Lactobacillus tablets nourish your body with good bacteria and keep other unwanted flora in the body under control. You may find that some doctors will give you a prescription for probiotics when you need to take antibiotics.
4. Minimize sugar intake:
Taking care of your diet can reduce the symptoms of vaginal yeast infections. Eating less sugar or sugary foods can help, as yeasts grow rapidly on sugars. Add fresh fruits and plenty of veggies to your diet. Also avoid products made of refined flour, which is converted into sugar by your body.
5. Take care of hormonal imbalance:
If you take hormone replacement after hysterectomy, be aware of the fact that it can cause repeated yeast infections. Increased estrogen in the vagina will simply fuel Candida growth because estrogen regulates glycogen levels in the vagina.
Women with type 2 diabetes are also at an increased risk of vaginal candidiasis. To prevent repeated yeast infections, keeping blood sugar levels under control is very important.
6. Try natural home remedies:
There are multiple natural home remedies for a yeast infection after hysterectomy. Potent antifungals are wild oregano oil, coconut oil, and tea tree oil. Another natural way to treat a yeast infection naturally is to restore the normal pH of the vagina.
To achieve this, you can use boric acid, hydrogen peroxide, and distilled white vinegar.
- Tea tree oil and oil of oregano need to be diluted and used with care as they can damage the tissue of the vagina. If you don’t feel confident using a homemade solution, then you can also use ready-made tea tree oil suppositories. Some of these remedies may sting or cause vaginal irritation. So, don’t start experimenting without asking your healthcare provider first.
- If you prefer treatment with coconut oil you can use it by soaking a tampon in the oil and inserting it into the vagina. Again, you can also get coconut capsules that will resolve slowly after you insert them.
- Boric acid is an inexpensive way to create an inhospitable acidic environment for yeasts and bacteria. You can do this with your own homemade boric acid capsules. Simply fill gelatin empty capsules size 0 completely with boric acid powder. Insert one capsule into your vagina for the length of two weeks. The best time is before you go to sleep at night.
- You can also douche with mixing equal parts of hydrogen peroxide 3% (H2O2), distilled white vinegar and water. Hydrogen peroxide is amazing stuff that will help to keep your vagina healthy. Not only does it keep it free of bacteria and yeast but has also numerous other benefits.
A yeast infection after hysterectomy can be due to a hormone imbalance, an unhealthy diet or a course of antibiotics. It’s also possible your partner is giving it to you. No matter what, you need to fix these issues, to be able to successfully stop recurring infections.