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Can tampons cause thrush?

If you're prone to getting thrush, you might be wondering if your tampons could be to blame. The short answer is yes, tampons can cause thrush - but it's not the tampon itself that's the problem. Instead, it's the way tampons can disrupt your vagina's delicate balance of bacteria and yeast that can lead to an overgrowth of yeast and those dreaded thrush symptoms.

In this blog, we'll dive deeper into the relationship between tampons and thrush, exploring common triggers, symptoms, and ways to prevent this irritating infection.

Common thrush triggers

Thrush is a common yeast infection caused by an overgrowth of the Candida albicans fungus. This fungus is naturally present in the vagina, but certain factors can disrupt the balance and allow it to grow out of control. Some common triggers include:

  • Antibiotics, which can kill off the "good" bacteria that keep yeast in check
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy, menstruation, or from birth control pills
  • Diabetes, which can cause increased sugar in the mucus membranes
  • A weakened immune system

While tampons alone don't cause thrush, they can contribute to yeast overgrowth by altering the vaginal environment. Tampons absorb menstrual blood, but they can also absorb the vagina's natural moisture, leading to dryness and irritation.

Tampons and changes in vaginal mucus

During your period, the vagina's pH level becomes less acidic, making it easier for yeast to thrive. Tampons can exacerbate this by further altering the vagina's delicate microbiome. Some people may also be sensitive to the chemicals and materials used in certain tampons, which can lead to irritation and increase the risk of infection.

Additionally, wearing a tampon for too long or using one with a higher absorbency than needed can contribute to an overgrowth of yeast. It's important to change your tampon every 4-8 hours and use the lowest absorbency necessary for your flow.

How to avoid thrush

If you're prone to getting thrush, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk:

  • Choose organic cotton tampons free from harsh chemicals and dyes, like DAME's organic cotton tampons
  • Change your tampon frequently and use the lowest absorbency needed
  • Consider using a menstrual cup or reusable pads instead of tampons
  • Wear breathable cotton underwear
  • Take a probiotic supplement 

Your clothing choices can also play a role in preventing thrush. Tight, restrictive clothing can trap moisture and create a warm, damp environment where yeast thrives. Opt for loose, breathable cotton underwear and avoid spending prolonged periods in wet swimwear or sweaty workout gear.

Finally, supporting your overall health can help keep thrush at bay. Eating a balanced diet low in sugar and refined carbs can help prevent yeast overgrowth, while taking a probiotic supplement can help maintain a healthy balance of vaginal flora. By taking a holistic approach to your health and period care, you can reduce your risk of pesky yeast infections and enjoy a more comfortable, thrush-free menstrual cycle. 

Common thrush symptoms

If you do develop thrush, common symptoms include:

  • Itching and irritation in the vagina and vulva
  • A burning sensation, especially during intercourse or while urinating
  • Redness and swelling of the vulva
  • Vaginal pain and soreness
  • Vaginal rash
  • Thick, white, odor-free vaginal discharge with a cottage cheese appearance
  • Watery vaginal discharge

If you suspect you have thrush, it's best to see your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Antifungal medications are typically prescribed to clear the infection. However, if you're certain you have thrush and have experienced it before, you can also try over-the-counter antifungal creams, ointments, or suppositories to alleviate symptoms and clear the infection.

Popular over-the-counter options include clotrimazole (Canesten), miconazole (Monistat), and fluconazole (Diflucan). These medications are available in various forms, such as creams, ointments, suppositories, or oral tablets. Be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging carefully and complete the full course of treatment, even if your symptoms improve.

Flush away the thrush

So, while tampons themselves don't cause thrush, they can certainly contribute to yeast overgrowth for some. 

By choosing organic cotton tampons, changing them regularly, and taking steps to support a healthy vaginal environment, you can reduce your risk of pesky yeast infections. Check out DAME's organic cotton tampons for a sustainable, thrush-friendly period care option.

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