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The Link Between Estriol and Yeast

Can Silky Peach (or any estriol) increase yeast? Or change my natural scent? This is an interesting question. Silky Peach cream will not cause vulva/vaginas to smell, however, estrogen can alter the vaginal microbiome - specifically the levels of yeast.

What is a Yeast Infection?

A yeast infection is the overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina that alters the pH. Typically the acidic pH of the vagina helps keep the yeast cells at bay, but, if this balance gets thrown off, then yeast cell growth can proliferate and can result in a yeast infection.

Symtoms include:

  • Itching of the vagina
  • Redness and swelling of the vagina
  • Burning or irritation during sex
  • Vaginal discharge that can be thick and many times similar to cottage cheese consistency

The Scent of A Woman

Adding Silky Peach and the small dose of estriol can return a natural 'muskiness' to the vagina from increased wetness/lubrication. Some women do not like this smell, but it is 100% normal. Discharge can be creamy, watery, thin, clear or milky, and varies depending on where you are in your cycle, and during sex can often get thicker to help lubricate. The smell is often described as odorless or musky - when we did some digging, the general consensus on the smell of vaginas/discharge, the result was 'fresh sweat from being outside in the sun, with a slight tang,' if you wanted something to go on...

The Link between Yeast & Estrogen

There is a link between estrogen and yeast levels. Studies have shown that estrogen levels, when high, do not inhibit the growth or invasion of 'candida albicans' a.k.a. thrush - when the cells of thrush are grown in estrogen they are not recognized and killed efficiently by white blood cells. This means they are more likely to develop and cause yeast infections. Another reason that excess estrogen in the body plays such a big role in contributing to yeast infections is because estrogen controls levels of glycogen in the vagina. So, the more estrogen in the body that’s produced, the more it will feed yeast production and overgrowth.

This is specific to estrogen - other studies confirmed that higher estrogen levels or fluctuating estrogen are a contributing factor to yeast infections, but, researchers noted that this is estrogen alone. Using progesterone neither causes yeast infection nor helps protect against it.

Another two things that relate to estrogen that can also contribute to yeast infections are xeno-estrogens, which are environmental estrogens that can affect our overall estrogen levels. We have a blog all about xeno-estrogens and about how to recognize and minimize them. Another cause is excess weight - Since estrogen is partially made in our fat tissue (in addition to our ovaries), those of us who carry around more weight may be also unknowingly producing more estrogen.

So, estrogen can, for some women, increase yeast to a point that triggers a yeast infection. In this case, we recommend reducing or stopping, and if resuming, using less amount/less often. Boric acid capsules can also be great at increasing the acidic pH and increasing the good lactobacilli. Remember though, yeast infections, whilst they have a thick/heavy discharge, do not smell.

Estrogen is Not All to Blame!

Antibiotics: Antibiotics can also trigger yeast infections. Antibiotics kill all of the bacteria in your digestive tract, both the good and the bad. The balance between bacteria and yeast is tipped in yeast’s favor and boom, yeast overpopulation occurs. For many women, chronic urinary tract infections go hand in hand with chronic yeast infections since antibiotics are used to treat chronic UTI’s.

Stress: Stress and adrenal fatigue can also contribute to yeast infections. When you are under stress for a period of time, your body begins to shunt it’s production of making more progesterone to instead making more cortisol to help in dealing with all that stress. What happens then is that less progesterone in the body produced. Lower progesterone levels are then not able to balance the strong effects of estrogen in the body, and you are left with a state of estrogen dominance and the symptoms to go along with it. Yeast infections are one of the symptoms.

Sex (and other contaminants...): Semen, lube, lotions, creams, wet wipes, and even leaving leggings/tight synthetic fabrics close to the vulva for extended periods of time can all contribute to allowing bacteria and yeast, to develop and overgrow. Being mindful of your microbiome - and what goes in and around it - is key. We've covered that in more depth here!

Diet: A diet low in fiber and essential minerals can disrupt the process of estrogen being metabolized properly in the liver. Additionally, it contributes to estrogen not being properly and quickly eliminated from the body. When a woman has constipation, estrogen that is supposed to be removed in her bowel movement will ultimately be taken back up by the body and taken back into circulation throughout the body. Diets low in fiber, high in animal products, low in fresh vegetables and fruit all contribute towards excess estrogen in this way.

Lastly, people with diabetes (high blood sugar feeds the yeast) and lowered immune systems often experience disruption to the friendly bacteria-yeast balance which can cause more yeast infections to occur.

Top Tips on Kicking Yeast to the Curb

  1. Boric Acid Capsules > Used after sex or when you are worried about imbalance in bacteria, boric acid capsules can help keep the vagina acidic, and ensure that yeast does not overgrow.
  2. Healthy Diet > As mentioned, diets high in sugar and animal fats and low in veggies and fiber can create an environment in the gut that is conducive to yeast overgrowth. Sugar also feeds yeast. Additionally, heavy metals in the diet can contribute to adrenal fatigue from thyroid disruption.
  3. Limiting contaminants > reducing the amount of creams you are using, using natural lubes, and following our top five tops for vaginal health can all help keep the microbiome and the outer environment health.
  4. Balancing Hormones > as mentioned, estrogen dominance or limited progesterone can be contributing factors, so the best counter measure for that is ensuring that your hormones are balanced. If you are using Silky Peach, consider starting slow and allowing your body time to adjust to the estrogen, or keeping it balanced with Vibrant Third Progesterone. If you are unsure of your hormone levels, hormone testing is always a good idea.

What Does Cause Problems? (like scent changes...)

Bacterial vaginosis is a bacterial infection. It happens when the different kinds of healthy bacteria in your vagina get out of balance and grow too much. BV is often caused by gardnerella vaginalis, the most common type of bacteria in your vagina. It also occurs when bacteria get out of balance. This is not an STD, but is often triggered by many of the same issues as yeast infections. It has a discharge that is grayish and often smells very fishy. It is best treated by antibiotics.

Vaginitis is when your vulva or vagina becomes inflamed or irritated. This can happen when there’s a change in the normal chemical balance of your vagina, or if you have a reaction to irritating products. It is more a symptom of other issues.

Another thing that can cause strong, foul/fishy smelling discharge is some STD's - particularly trichomoniasis. Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasite. In women, trichomoniasis can cause a foul-smelling vaginal discharge, genital itching and painful urination.

If you have additional concerns, we always recommend talking to your doctor, but Silky Peach itself should never cause a strong 'bad' smell. If you want to know common side effects that might occur, you can check them out here!