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Doctors, and perhaps you too, have noticed that women tend to get more yeast infections (vaginal candidiasis) during or after their periods. I personally can certainly attest to how unpleasant the combined bleeding and itchy, burning, yeasty feeling is – but why does this happen?
Yeast infections – the growth of a common fungus Candida albicans – are caused by a variety of different factors that range from emotional stress or diet choices to medications or certain soaps you use. Because Candida is just one of many small microorganisms (along with bacteria) that naturally grows in a healthy body, a change in the vagina’s pH (level of acidity) is one major cause of yeast infections.
Normally, your vagina maintains a pretty high acidic level between 3.5 and 4.5 on a 14 point pH scale. Just for a frame of reference, this range is comparable to the acidity level of grapefruit, soda or acid rain. This allows the body to “keep a balance between healthy and unhealthy bacteria, fungi and viruses in that area” (www.earthtym.net). If the vagina becomes too alkaline (basic), fungi like Candida are able to grow and thrive.
Unfortunately for us, the pH level of blood is much more basic – around 7.4 on the pH scale. (As a side note, so is semen.) Thus, during menstruation, the vagina’s environment is prone to changes in pH and thus to yeast infections as well. Often, tampon use exacerbates the problem, as they only retain the fluids that cause pH to increase for prolonged periods of time.
However, RepHresh, a manufacturer of feminine health products and tools, believes they have discovered an new way to prevent yeast infections from developing as a result of menstruation. And the solution is something many women use every month anyway.
This feminine product is called RepHresh Brilliant and it went on the market in 2010. With two active ingredients: citric acid and L-lactide, the tampons have not yet been shown to have any dangerous side effects.
According to their website, “after insertion, the pH tampon provides a rapid reduction of pH to within the normal range.