What role do hormones play in vaginal infections?

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Patricia Geraghty, NP
Women's Health
Hormones do play a role in vaginal infections. Any decrease in estrogen leads to thinning of the vaginal tissue. The thin tissue is higher risk to become infected when exposed. This means postmenopausal women and breast feeding women, two groups with natural low levels of estrogen, are at increased risk. The hormonal fluctuations within a menstrual cycle do not seem to significantly alter the vaginal population of microbiotic organisms.
Hormones do play a part in vaginal infections. Hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle and in pregnancy can encourage the growth of yeast (Candida albicans) that cause vaginal infections. Also, a lack of estrogen after menopause can lead to conditions that encourage vaginal infections.

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