Common Yeast Infection Med May Increase Pregnancy Complication Risk

January 25th 2016
Allison Gilchrist, Associate Editor
Allison Gilchrist, Associate Editor

Retail clinicians should be watchful when prescribing oral medications for pregnant women with yeast infections.

Retail clinicians should be watchful when prescribing oral medications for pregnant women with yeast infections.

About 75% of adult women will experience a yeast infection at some point in their lives, and 1 in 10 pregnant women will develop a yeast infection during pregnancy, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Yeast infections are more common during pregnancy because of the hormonal changes in the woman’s body. Vaginal secretions contain more sugar and cause an imbalance, which helps infection-causing bacteria grow.

Although yeast infections are easily treated with azole antifungals, new study results show that a certain member of this drug class poses risks for pregnancy complications.

The study published inJAMAinvestigated the association between oral fluconazole use during pregnancy and the risk of spontaneous abortion and stillbirth.

The study authors determined that 4.43% of the 3315 pregnant women exposed to oral fluconazole between their 7thand 22ndweek of gestation experienced a miscarriage, compared with about 4.25% of women who were not exposed to the azole antifungal in pregnancy.

The researchers found no increased incidence of stillbirth within the exposed cohort.

Because the use of oral fluconazole in pregnancy “was associated with a statistically significant increased risk of spontaneous abortion compared with risk among unexposed women,” the study authors advised health care providers to be cautious when prescribing the oral form of the drug.

Retail clinicians can instead promote the use of topical azole antifungal creams and suppositories, given that neither alternative has been associated with greater risk for pregnancy complications.

In addition, the American Pregnancy Association advises clinicians to stress the following recommendations to female patients in order to help them avoid yeast infections in the first place:

  • Wear loose underwear made of breathable material, such as cotton.
  • Avoid using colored or perfumed feminine hygiene sprays and products.
  • Regularly consume yogurt withLactobacillus acidophilus.
  • Limit sugar intake.
  • Shower immediately after swimming and change out of damp workout clothing as soon as possible.

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