Menstruation and pregnancy It may be difficult for you to become pregnant if you are having irregular periods. It will be harder to monitor your menstrual cycle and to predict when ovulation (egg release) will occur. If you are trying to get pregnant, talk to your doctor about how you might manage irregular periods and your aim to get pregnant.
How is it treated?
A range of topical antifungal agents is available. Broad-spectrum anti-fungal creams or tablets (such as Canesten) are available from the chemist. You won’t need a prescription. Some people suggest live yoghurt containing lactobacillus acidophilus works although many health practitioners maintain the bacteria in commercial acidophilus yoghurt is ineffective.
For more serious thrush, antifungal drugs may be used. Fluconazole is often used to treat severe or recurring thrush but it (and other medications) can cause liver problems in people who have hepatitis C, although this is rare. If you have hepatitis C, it is extremely important to discuss treatment options thoroughly with your GP, and if possible, find an alternative treatment.
To help prevent vaginal thrush:
Note: Thrush is not considered a sexually transmissible infection, however, women can be re-infected by male partners during unprotected sex because thrush can be found under a man’s foreskin. This is not common but if you think this may be happening, speak to your doctor. For further information about thrush, see Melbourne’s Sexual Health Centre’s factsheet.
There are a number of things you can do to reduce loss of bone density and its effects. These include doing regular weight-bearing exercise (such as walking, running, or climbing stairs) and having a healthy diet, with plenty of calcium and vitamin D. Oily fish, liver, fortified spreads and cereals, and egg yolks are a good source of vitamin D, as is sunlight. Calcium can be found in milk and other dairy products, leafy green vegetables such as kale and broccoli, beans such as soy and baked beans, nuts, sesame seeds and many types of fish, such as salmon and sardines.
Some women with HIV may be advised to take vitamin D supplements. Some may also be advised to take calcium supplement tablets, particularly if your diet does not include many of the foods containing this nutrient. Taking too much of a supplement can be harmful so it is a good idea to talk to your GP or someone at your HIV clinic before you start. There is no clear evidence that vitamin D supplements help reduce the risk of bone loss in people with HIV but it does help your bones absorb calcium.
Remember — smoking and heavy drinking can increase your risk of osteoporosis. For more general information about osteoporosis, visit the Osteoporosis Australia website. For information about HIV and bone health, see Your Body Blueprint.