Yeast Infection After Period: Causes and Treatments

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You may get a yeast infection after your period because of common hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle. These hormonal changes can impact the microbiome of the vagina and create an environment where Candida, a yeast found in the vagina, can overgrow.

While not everyone will get a yeast infection after their period, certain factors can make some more susceptible than others. Still, roughly 75% of women will experience at least one yeast infection at some point in their lives, while 50% of all women will experience more than one.

This article explains the symptoms of a yeast infection after your period, why it happens, and how it's diagnosed. It offers some treatment and prevention ideas, including a few home remedies.

Symptoms of a Post-Menstrual Yeast Infection: A woman shops for medication at a store

Verywell / Sydney Saporito

Causes of Yeast Infections After Your Period

Yeast infections after a period can occur because hormone fluctuations can upset the balance of yeast and bacteria in the vagina. When hormones begin to rise and fall, particularly estrogen, it could kill the bacteria that live in the vagina, which keep yeast in the vagina in check.

Without bacteria counteracting the growth of yeast, the yeast responsible for most cases of yeast infection—Candida—can overgrow. This leads to a vaginal yeast infection, also known as vaginal candidiasis.

Progesterone, another hormone that is released during the menstrual cycle, helps increase the effectiveness of cells that destroy Candida. This constant cycling of hormones is what leads to the changes in the levels of good and bad bacteria and yeast within the vagina.

Risk Factors

Some people are more likely to develop yeast infections after their period. Contributing factors can include:

  • Antibiotics use: Antibiotics are designed to destroy bacteria that are causing an illness. However, they can often kill off good bacteria in the process as well. This can lead to an overgrowth of Candida and a yeast infection.
  • A weak immune system: A weakened immune system makes it harder to fight off any infection. People with a weak immune system often have to take medications that can lead to an imbalance in bacteria and increase the risk of a yeast infection.
  • Uncontrolled diabetes: If people with diabetes don’t control their condition, they can experience spikes in blood sugar levels. When blood glucose is high, yeast can thrive because it feeds off of sugar. This can increase the chances of yeast multiplying out of control.
  • High levels of stress: High levels of stress can have negative effects on overall health, especially immune function. When the immune system becomes weakened by stress, the risk of Candida overgrowth increases.
  • Recurrent yeast infections: People who have recurrent yeast infections are more likely to experience one following a period. This could be due to poor hygiene practices or a weakened immune system.


Not everyone who has a yeast infection will experience symptoms. The most common symptoms of a yeast infection include:

  • Itching in the vagina and vulva
  • A thick, white discharge that has the same appearance as cottage cheese
  • Swelling and redness of both the vagina and the vulva
  • Burning during urination

Another symptom of a yeast infection is light bleeding. It can be difficult to determine if the bleeding is the end of your period or caused by a yeast infection.

If you have light bleeding and other symptoms of a yeast infection, see your healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment.

Yeast Infection or Something Else?

A foul vaginal odor and gray discharge likely indicate that a condition other than a yeast infection is behind your symptoms.


Your healthcare provider will ask you about the symptoms you are experiencing. If they suspect that your symptoms are related to a yeast infection, they will then perform a pelvic exam.

This gives them an opportunity to look inside the vagina and cervix to check for symptoms like swelling or redness. They may also take a sample of cells or discharge and send it to a lab to have it tested to confirm the diagnosis.


Treatment varies depending on which type of yeast is causing your infection. The most common type of yeast, Candida albicans, is the culprit behind 85% to 90% of all yeast infections. The first-line treatment for people who have a first-time or non-recurrent infection is antifungal medications.

They can be administered in different ways:  

  • Intravaginal imidazoles: This type of antifungal medication is given in the form of a vaginal suppository so the imidazole medication is introduced directly into the vagina.
  • Oral fluconazole: This antifungal medication is given orally.

There are also a few over-the-counter medications that can be used to treat a yeast infection, including Monistat (miconazole), Vagistat (tioconazole), and Canesten (clotrimazole).

For those with recurrent yeast infections—four or more in one year—treatment options may be different and may include:

  • Fluconazole: This oral medication is taken by mouth once every three days over the course of 10 to 14 days.
  • Vaginal medications: These intravaginal medications are used over the course of 10 to 14 days.

After this initial treatment, a maintenance treatment plan will be in place for at least six months. It may include oral or vaginal medications.  

Yeast infections rarely go away on their own, and in some cases can prove quite serious if not treated. Be sure to see a healthcare provider about your symptoms.

If you’re using antifungal suppositories, you should not use diaphragms and condoms for birth control. The chemicals in the treatments can weaken the latex of condoms and lower the efficacy of these birth control methods. Use alternative birth control during this time if needed.

Home Remedies for Yeast Infection

Home remedies may help you to avoid a yeast infection after your period. Eating plain yogurt, for example, can introduce probiotics into your body and limit the risk of a new yeast infection.

Some herbal remedies, such as tea tree oil and oil of oregano, have proven antifungal properties. In one study, oil of oregano proved even more effective than prescription medication.Other home remedies include foods like garlic, coconut oil, and apple cider vinegar.

There's less evidence for vitamin and supplement use when treating or preventing a vaginal yeast infection, though vitamin C has shown promise in curbing Candida infection.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

While home remedies may help, you should call your healthcare provider if you have vaginal yeast infection symptoms that persist for more than a week. Keep in mind that your symptoms may be due to another condition, such as a sexually transmitted infection, that needs to be diagnosed and treated by a professional.


Although yeast infections are easily treated, they can still be a hassle to deal with and an unpleasant experience.

The good news is that there are some lifestyle changes you can make to lower your chances of getting a yeast infection after your period.

  • Change pads and tampons often: Excessive moisture can increase the risk of developing a yeast infection, so changing your pads and tampons frequently can help keep your vagina as dry as possible.
  • Avoid scented products: Many feminine products on the market come with light scents. They can potentially aggravate the vaginal area and increase the risk of developing a yeast infection.
  • Avoid douching: Douching used to be thought of as a good way to clean the vagina, but it can actually upset the balance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina and lead to a yeast infection or other vaginal infections.
  • Wear breathable underwear and change out of sweaty clothes or a wet bathing suit immediately: Since yeast thrives in moist areas, wearing breathable underwear such as those made of cotton to keep the vaginal area dry and changing out of wet clothes as soon as possible can help lower the risk of developing a yeast infection.
14 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Angelica Bottaro
Angelica Bottaro is a professional freelance writer with over 5 years of experience. She has been educated in both psychology and journalism, and her dual education has given her the research and writing skills needed to deliver sound and engaging content in the health space.