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Could Missing a Pill Cause Yeast Infections

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,

 

I've been on Ortho-Novum for over a year and have never missed a pill. Last night, however, I discovered that I had missed a pill, so I took the missed one on time with that night's. I've noticed some yeast-infection-like itchiness in my area the past two days, could missing a pill cause yeast infections?

Signed: Could Missing a Pill Cause Yeast Infections

Dear Could Missing a Pill Cause Yeast Infections,

 

Oral Contraceptives (birth-control pills) have their maximal effects when taken daily at the same time each day. In today’s hectic world it can be hard for young women to remember to take their pill. It can be helpful to get into a routine by taking it in the morning before you start your day or right before you go to bed.  It is usually more difficult if you are taking the pills at some point in the afternoon because you may be busy or forget to bring them with you.

 

To answer your question, forgetting to take one pill would not likely cause a yeast infection.  However, it can have other effects such as pregnancy and irregular periods (meaning you may bleed before your scheduled period or your period may come a bit later than usual). 

 

Candida Albicans is the organism that causes yeast infections.  Candida Albicans exists in the vagina under normal circumstances, but there can be an abnormal overgrowth of Candida which will then lead to a yeast infection.  Common causes of overgrowth of Candida in the vagina include the recent use of antibiotics (for example, a woman may take an antibiotic to treat a different infection, and the antibiotic will kill her body's good bacteria that normally keep the yeast in balance and as a result, the yeast overgrows and causes a vaginal infection), wearing tight nylon underwear (causes excessive moisture), douching, pregnancy and diabetes.  The use of oral contraceptives can slightly increase the risk of getting a yeast infection, but missing one dose will likely not cause it to happen.  The best way to prevent another yeast infection from occurring is to:


1. Avoid nylon underwear (wear cotton underwear)
2. Avoid douching or using feminine hygiene sprays, tampons or sanitary pads that contain perfume, and taking bubble baths.
3. Avoid staying in wet underwear or wet bathing suits.

 

Whether or not it is a yeast infection it is important to see a doctor especially if this is the first time experiencing these symptoms. There are over the counter products to treat yeast infections but unless you know your body well it is best to seek medical advice.

 

There are other vaginal infections besides Candida (yeast) infections such as infections from bacterial or protozoa.  When there is a bacterial infection there is vaginal discharge accompanied with a strong “fishy” odor.  A protozoal infection is from a parasite and also causes vaginal discharge.  Therefore since a lot of these vaginal infections have very similar symptoms and different treatments, it is very important to first know what type of infection is present.  The symptoms of a yeast infection can also be the symptoms of other vaginal infections, and treating yourself for a yeast infection when you really have another infection may make the problem worse.

 

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health in Morristown 973-971-6475 or the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health in Summit at 908-522-5757 for an appointment.

 

 

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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