Can monsoons lead to a vaginal infection?

The monsoon is the most anticipated season of all, but its beauty comes with a host of diseases and fungal infections, especially for women. “As the weather continues to be humid and wet during periods of rain, it is perfect for the growth of many microorganisms. Vaginal infections can become common during monsoons and outgoing monsoons, especially vaginal candidiasis if the “Intimate hygiene is not maintained. makes you feel uncomfortable causing intense irritation, discharge and itching, but also affects your fertility potential.” says Anagha Chhatrapati, Gynecology Consultant at Global Hospital, Parel, Mumbai.

“The yeast also called Candida albicans is present as a commensal in the vagina and the female genital tract. Whenever the immunity wanes due to immunosuppression, diabetes or even sexual activity, it can disrupt the vaginal wall and cause infections.The infection is usually characterized by abundant and curious white secretions associated with intense itching in the perineum.

It also affects the vagina, vulva, and inner thighs. In a mild infection, there will be minimal vaginal discharge associated with itching. In severe cases, there may be profuse white discharge with excoriation and bleeding due to epithelial damage. Secondary bacterial infections can lead to foul odors. This can lead to painful intercourse and burning urination. During the monsoon, due to humidity and weather conditions, one is more prone to vaginal infections, especially candidiasis,” adds Anagha.

What are some of the precautions you would suggest we take during monsoons to avoid having to deal with this?

• Use cotton and loose underwear

• Do not wear wet clothes

• Change if clothes are wet

• Take care of immunity. Include probiotics like curds or supplements and plenty of vitamin C in the diet.

• Avoid indulging in a diet high in refined carbohydrates.

• The treatment of vaginitis always concerns mixed infections. Generally, for a mild infection, a local vaginal pessary or suppository containing antibiotics and antifungals for 7 nights is sufficient. Avoid class during menstruation. In case of sexual intercourse, wash the private part with water and then insert the pessary. Keep it overnight. Simultaneous treatment of sexual partners is essential to avoid recurrences. In severe cases, give oral antibiotics and antifungals. Treat the underlying cause like strict sugar control.

Does lingerie have anything to do with the development of such infections?

Generally, clothes will not cause infections directly, but they can lead to skin irritations and rashes, especially synthetic and tight ones without ventilation. This makes a person prone to catching an infection. Better to avoid wearing the same.

What other factors can cause such an infection?

• Diabetes leads to increased sugar in bodily secretions, making it a breeding ground for yeast infections.

• Maintaining a strict glycemic index is of utmost importance.

• Stress can impair the immune response, and physical stress like recovering from a fever or illness can cause the body to catch these opportunistic infections

• Antibiotics given for the treatment of other illnesses can kill the protective vaginal lactobacilli. This alters the vaginal pH, leading to candidiasis

• Sexual activity with an infected partner and oral sex can lead to fungal infections

• Pregnancy can make a woman prone to vaginitis

• Immunosuppression due to HIV AIDS, cancer chemotherapy or steroid treatment leads to recurrent vaginal candidiasis

• Excessive hygiene practices such as douching and washing with a harsh soapy solution can kill the protective lactobacilli and disrupt the vaginal mucosa, leading to serious infection.

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