Yeast Infections and PCOS: Understanding the Connection and Treatment Strategies 

Nishi Kashyap
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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yeast infections and pcos

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and yeast infection are conditions that affect the human body. 

They cause major discomfort in everyday life. 

PCOS is a hormonal disorder in which a woman produces excessive male hormones. 

A range of symptoms, like irregular menstrual cycles, hormonal imbalances, and the growth of cysts in the ovary, defines it.

Women with PCOS are more likely to experience recurring yeast infections. This condition is medically known as vaginal candidiasis.

Yeast infections can lead to itching and irritation in the vaginal area. 

That is why it is crucial to identify the root cause behind it.

This article will explore the reason behind the recurrence of yeast infections in women with PCOS. It will also provide treatment options for both conditions.

Understanding yeast infections and PCOS

A clear understanding of PCOS and yeast infections is required to understand their connection.

Here, we have explained each of these one by one.

Yeast infection

Yeast infectionsSource: Science_Photo_library
Microscopic view of yeast infections

A vaginal yeast infection, also known as vaginal candidiasis, is a fungal infection.

It leads to discomfort, discharge, and intense itching in the vagina and vulva. 

This is a common condition affecting up to 75% of women at some point in their lives, with many experiencing recurrent episodes.

Yeast infection symptoms may range from mild to severe. It includes thick, white vaginal discharge, itching in the vagina, swelling of the vulva, and vaginal pain.

PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder. It causes irregular or infrequent menstrual periods. 

Some women with PCOS may experience long periods, while others may have very few or none. 

Additionally, individuals with PCOS often have elevated levels of a hormone called androgen in their bodies.

Can PCOS cause fungal infections

Women with PCOS are more likely to have vaginitis than healthy women, which causes itching in the genital part. 

Vaginitis refers to inflammation or infection of the vagina.

It can be caused by various factors, including bacterial, fungal, or viral infections. 

Women with PCOS are more prone to yeast infections due to several factors. These include insulin resistance, dietary choices, medications, and lack of sleep or stress.

Insulin resistance

Insulin resistance is a common symptom of PCOS in women, which results in higher levels of insulin produced. 

As a result, elevated blood sugar levels can create an ideal environment for yeast growth. 

Craving for sugars and carbohydrates often occurs associated with insulin resistance. This further encourages yeast growth.

Recommended Article:
You can read our article on Low Carb Diet Plan for PCOS: Managing Symptoms and Promoting Health, which will help regulate PCOS women’s blood sugar levels.

Medications

Hormonal birth control methods can have negative effects on the body.

Changes in Estrogen and Progesterone caused by hormonal birth control can contribute to yeast overgrowth and lead to yeast infections.

Metformin is one of the medications used to treat PCOS, and it may disrupt the balance of good bacteria in the gut.

This imbalance can promote yeast growth, increasing the risk of infections.

Warning:
You should talk to your doctor about your concerns to know if there is a link between your hormone medications and yeast infections. This can be helpful for further analysis and treatment.

Lack of sleep or stress

Women with PCOS may have sleep issues and tend to react to stress more strongly.

In turn, increased stress can lead to increased levels of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone.

When stress does not go away, it can make your blood sugar levels high.

Blood sugar levels that are too high when combined with a weakened immune system may encourage yeast overgrowth.

There is a correlation between PCOS and an increased occurrence of yeast infections.

A study published by The National Library of Medicine explores the relationship between the vaginal microbiome and different clinical symptoms of PCOS.

The vaginal microbiome is the group of microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses, that resides in the vagina.

Researchers examined the vaginal microbiome of 42 PCOS patients and 24 healthy people.

This study found that bacterial vaginitis and yeast infection were the most prevalent factors affecting the vaginal microbiome in PCOS patients. 

Treatment for yeast infection

Tea tree oilSource: pixelshot
Tea tree oil

The most effective treatment for yeast infections is prescribed antifungal medications.

Antifungal medications are available in many forms, like oral medications, creams, and ointments.

Clotrimazole, Butoconazole, Fluconazole, and Brexafemme are a few antifungal drugs.

Probiotics are also helpful in preventing yeast infections as they can support the natural bacteria in our body.

Applying a thin layer of coconut oil to the affected area can help eliminate yeast and relieve irritated skin from yeast infections.

One research shows that adding tea tree oil to Ketoconazole (an antifungal drug) enhances the overall effectiveness of the formulation against the infection.

Treatment for PCOS

Various treatment methods are available for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

Healthy lifestyle changes help manage hormonal imbalances caused by PCOS. It includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, proper sleep, and weight loss.

Metformin is a drug that helps women with PCOS to have better insulin sensitivity, and Clomiphene supports regular ovulation.

Other treatments for ovulation induction in PCOS patients involve Gonadotropins and Laparoscopic Ovarian Drilling.

Fact
Laparoscopic Ovarian Drilling is a surgical process for treating PCOS to help with ovulation.

Birth control pills and Spironolactone can help in decreasing the production of androgen that causes acne and excess hair growth.

Conclusion

Women with PCOS are more likely to have yeast infections.

Fungal infections can be caused in individuals with PCOS due to several factors. Factors like insulin resistance, lack of sleep, and certain medications.

Some treatment options for yeast infections are antifungal medications and probiotics under a doctor’s prescription.

PCOS can be managed with certain drugs such as Metformin and Clomiphene. Healthy lifestyle changes can also control it, including a balanced diet and exercise.

Remember, taking doctor consultations before opting for any medication is crucial.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do people with PCOS get more yeast infections?

Women with PCOS are more likely to have yeast infections. Yeast overgrowth can be affected by hormonal irregularities and other factors, including insulin levels and specific PCOS-related drugs.

Does PCOS cause extreme itching?

Extreme itching is not a direct result of PCOS. However, hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS can lead to dryness and changes in the vaginal environment, possibly contributing to itching.

Can yeast infection affect the uterus?

Yeast infections typically affect the vaginal area, not the uterus. However, a severe or recurrent yeast infection may result in problems that could damage the reproductive organs if left untreated. 

Can drinking a lot of water flush out a yeast infection?

Drinking water is not a direct cure for treating yeast infections. However, drinking adequate water daily is considered good and promotes proper bodily functions.

Citations:
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