Prevent premature births – identify vaginal infections early

Prevent premature births – identify vaginal infections early

Vaginal infections are the most common cause of preterm birth from the 24th week of pregnancy. They can migrate through the cervix and cervical canal into the amniotic sac and pass to the amniotic fluid and child. Bacteria, fungi or chlamydia usually cause these infections. Women who have had miscarriages or premature births in the past are particularly at risk.

Diagnosis of vaginal infection

The diagnosis of “vaginitis” often comes as a complete surprise to women because warning symptoms and symptoms of inflammation, such as itching, burning or increased discharge, do not always occur.

A disturbance in the acid-base ratio in the vagina always precedes a vaginal infection. As a rule, the pH value of the vaginal environment is so acidic that bacteria and germs are blocked. During pregnancy, however, the pH value of the vagina can change due to hormonal changes and then no longer perform its barrier function. If dangerous germs gain the upper hand in the vagina, this can be determined by a changed pH value.

 

Prevent vaginal inflammation

There are several things to consider to prevent vaginal infections, such as:

  • Hygiene
  • uvula
  • vaccination
  • Test glove for self-examination

Hygiene

On the one hand, when you go to the toilet, you should pay more attention to the fact that you have to clean from front to back after defecation in order not to introduce germs into the vagina. The use of non-irritating wet wipes can also be helpful here. In addition, after urinating, the genital region should be carefully dabbed dry. The creases that are easily accessible by hand can then be cleaned with a soap-free lotion.

Disposable washcloths and towels are generally better because the frequently used terry cloths mechanically irritate the skin too much and also clean poorly. They also offer germs an ideal breeding ground.

During pregnancy, there is a natural increase in discharge. However, one should refrain from using tampons because they dry out and can thus also contribute to environmental disturbances and irritation of the vaginal walls. Small, absorbent pads protect the laundry and can provide relief from the increasingly damp and warm environment. To normalize the vaginal environment, we recommend treating the vagina with vitamin C vaginal suppositories, which are entirely harmless and can be carried out over a long period.

 

uvula

The use of tampons dipped in yoghurt is not advisable because, compared to the use of vitamin C suppositories, the yoghurt bacteria only bring about a temporary change in the environment, as they die in the vagina after a few days.

vaccination

Vaccination, in which a vaccine made from inactivated germs from eight different strains of lactic acid bacteria is administered, offers innovative protection against vaginal infections. The inactive germs stimulate the formation of antibodies in the vaginal secretions, which fight the pathogens. For a successful 3-year protection, three vaccinations are carried out at intervals of two weeks for the primary immunization. A booster vaccination follows after a year.

Test glove for self-examination

Since a vaginal examination is usually only carried out once a month, even with regular and consistent prenatal care, the examination at home is worthwhile. An examination glove was developed with a test piece of paper attached to the index finger to facilitate examination and evaluation for pregnant women. After contact with the vaginal fluid, the colour of the test strip indicates whether the pH value is average or has changed.

One should not be irritated by a one-off discolouration. A one-time slip is no cause for concern. The test paper also reacts to semen or urine. If the test result is outside the normal range, the measurement should be repeated a few hours later. In case of persistent deviations, the doctor must be contacted. As a rule, 1-2 measurements per week at home are sufficient. In addition, the doctor should check the pH value during the check-up.

 

Coverage for vaginosis

Health insurance companies cover the cost of testing for chlamydia. A control swab for bacteria, on the other hand, is a private matter. The statutory health insurance companies only cover the costs if there is a strong suspicion of bacterial vaginosis. The costs for the biodegradable polyethene examination glove must be covered privately. They are around 25 EUR for 25 pieces.

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