Vaginal yeast infections often occur before or after a person’s period due to hormonal changes around menstruation.

Vaginal yeast infections are a common condition that Candida, a type of fungus, causes. Though there are a variety of potential reasons for vaginal yeast infections, it is not unusual for them to happen around the time of a person’s periods.

Keep reading for more information on yeast infections that occur before the menstrual cycle, their causes, symptoms, and how to treat and prevent them.

a woman looking sad as she has a Yeast infection before her periodShare on Pinterest
Hormonal changes may cause a yeast infection before a period.

A yeast infection occurs when levels of yeast and bacteria that are naturally present in the vagina become unbalanced. An overgrowth of fungus can cause a vaginal yeast infection.

Hormonal fluctuations before the menstrual cycle can trigger changes in the bacteria in the vagina. These changes can lead to a yeast infection before a period.

Some other factors that raise the risk of yeast infections include:

  • pregnancy
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • HIV
  • taking steroids
  • taking antibiotics
  • using birth control pills and other types of birth control

Additionally, wearing tight underwear that does not allow the skin to breathe may lead to vaginal yeast infections.

Occasionally, people may not have any noticeable signs or symptoms of a yeast infection. As a result, they may be unaware they have one.

More often, the common signs and symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection include:

  • redness, itchiness, or burning in and around the vagina
  • pain during sex
  • unusual vaginal discharge that is thick, white, and odorless
  • swelling of the vagina in severe cases
  • pain during urination

Vaginal yeast infections respond well to medical treatment and some home remedies.

Medical treatment

In most cases, a person can treat a yeast infection at home with over the counter (OTC) treatments. Some medical options include:

  • antifungal medication a person inserts into the vagina daily for several days to 1 week
  • antifungal ointments or creams
  • a single dose of antifungal medication (fluconazole)

For severe or recurring cases of vaginal yeast infections, a doctor may prescribe oral medication, vaginal cream, or a strong suppository.

During treatment, a person should not engage in vaginal sexual activity. This will help prevent the infection from getting worse.

Home remedies

In addition to medication, a person may consider home remedies that could aid in the treatment process.

Learn more about different home remedies for yeast infections here.

A popular home remedy involves using probiotic supplements. However, according to a 2019 study, there is not enough quality evidence to fully support the effectiveness of probiotics

Home remedies may not work or be safe. A person should talk to a doctor before using any home remedies to treat a yeast infection.

In some cases, a person may not be able to prevent a yeast infection from occurring. These infections are most common in warm, damp areas of the body, such as the vagina.

Although they are not proven to be effective, some general prevention tips include:

  • avoiding vaginal douches
  • changing out of a wet bathing suit or sweaty, tight-fitting pants or underwear after a workout
  • wearing breathable, loose fitting clothes
  • avoiding antibiotics unless a doctor prescribes them
  • using a gentle soap to clean the genitals
  • changing pads or tampons regularly
  • wiping from front to back
  • eating Greek yogurt for the probiotics it contains

Some people may develop recurring yeast infections in their lifetime. If a person gets a yeast infection around their menstruation each month, they should talk to their doctor.

A doctor can prescribe medication to take before a person’s period to help prevent a yeast infection.

Though there are several OTC treatments for vaginal yeast infections, a person should see their doctor for a diagnosis. This is because other conditions can cause similar symptoms.

Treatments for a yeast infection will not help other conditions, such as sexually transmitted infections.

A person should also see their doctor if:

  • they have severe pain
  • OTC products are not effective
  • they have redness, swelling, or itchiness around the vagina that is hard to ignore
  • they experience pain during sex

Vaginal yeast infections before periods are a common occurrence. Changes in hormones can increase the risk of a person developing a yeast infection before menstruation.

People can take steps to reduce the risk of vaginal yeast infections and prevent them from recurring.

Anyone with recurring or severe vaginal yeast infections before their periods should speak to a doctor. A doctor can diagnose the condition correctly and prescribe effective treatment.