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Can Being On The Pill Cause Thrush And BV?

Does the pill cause thrush

Can Being On The Pill Cause Thrush And BV?

We asked a doctor how hormonal contraception affects your likelihood of vaginal infections

Daye Wave Divider

Illustrations by

Erin Rommel


28th October 2020

Vaginal infections are the worst. Whether it’s thrush, bacterial vaginosis (BV), or some other bacterial or fungal situation that’s making your vagina unhappy, we all have to with this unpleasant fact of life at some point or another. 

But, is it possible that women who are on hormonal contraception might be more susceptible to thrush and BV than others? And might these changes be driven by changes in the vaginal microbiome?

Probiotics strenghten your vaginal microbiome so it can fight off harmful bacteria. Daye's ProViotics can help you protect your vagina from infections such as thrush and BV by replenishing your vaginal flora with good bacteria.

What causes thrush and BV? 

To start with, a few background details. Thrush is generally caused by overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans, whereas BV is typically caused by overgrowth of bacteria called Gardnerella vaginalis, commonly found in the vagina. 

What causes thrush and BV

Both thrush and BV can get prompted by imbalances in healthy bacteria (lactobacilli) in the vaginal canal. However, they seem to be influenced in different ways by hormonal contraceptives

First, BV. Multiple studies find that women using combined oral contraceptive pills are less likely to be colonised by BV-associated bacteria than women using condoms (although others have found a slight increased risk). 

These differences are believed to be the result of pill-takers having increased colonisation by healthy strains of lactobacilli, which are protective from BV. 

One of the largest studies evaluating the impact of contraceptive methods on BV followed 3,077 women of reproductive age from gynecologic and family planning clinics for one year. At the end of the year, they found that those women who were on oral contraceptives or the hormonal injection or implant were significantly less likely to have BV than those who didn’t use hormonal contraception. 

Can being on the pill cause thrush and BV?

With thrush, or Candida, it seems like the picture is somewhat less rosy. This is because the oestrogen found in some forms of hormonal contraception (like the pill) can feed the yeast already present in your vagina and trigger it to overgrow, causing yeast infections. 

Although newer, low oestrogen formulations of the pill have lowered the risk of yeast infections relative to what it used to be, the general consensus is that the pill can increase some women’s risk of thrush. 

Regardless of whether you are on hormonal contraception, the best way to keep a healthy, happy vagina is to look after your vaginal microbiome.

You can do this by avoiding unnecessary antibiotics, practicing safe sex, and avoiding douching. The vaginal microbiome is your friend. Doing your best to keep it healthy will go a long way in fending off unpleasant vaginal infections, regardless of the contraception you choose.  

Daye tampons are manufactured in accordance with medical device standards, including ISO13485 and GMP. In order for a diagnosis to be confirmed, test results from the Diagnostic Tampon should be considered by a licensed healthcare provider alongside a patient's symptoms and medical history. Like every other diagnostic test, lab results are not sufficient for a diagnosis. Daye offers customers the option to connect with independent CQC-regulated healthcare providers virtually and in-person for a confirmed diagnosis. All prescriptions and treatments provided through the Daye platform are issued by third-party, independent pharmacists, who are also regulated under CQC and GPhC.