Anyone who has ever suffered itching and burning in between toes is no stranger to athlete’s foot. Something that the name may insinuate is a condition that athletes alone get, nothing could be further from the truth. It is such a common condition that, according to the Cleveland Clinic, 70 percent of the population will get athlete’s foot at some point in their lifetime. And for many women, the first time that they may get athlete’s foot is when they are pregnant. Leaving many wondering why pregnancy makes women more prone to athlete’s foot.
The problem with athlete’s foot is that it is an uncomfortable condition to have. And with a whole host of pregnancy symptoms that expecting women could be experiencing, athlete’s foot is the last thing that they want to add to the list. But because it is a contagious condition and mothers-to-be have weakened immune systems as a result of their pregnancies, they make perfect hosts for athlete’s foot.
Here is why pregnant women are more prone to athlete’s foot.
One day the feet are fine and the next, there is a burning, itching, and sometimes blistering happening between the toes. When this happens, athlete’s foot has struck.
According to the Mayo Clinic, athlete’s foot is considered a fungus. It is the same fungus that causes ringworm and jock itch to crop up.
The condition, per publication, is caused by coming into contact with someone else who has athlete’s foot. This can be from skin cells being left on towels, floors, or even in borrowed shoes. And as long as the person who is in contact with the fungus has a dark, moist place for it to grow, such as the feet, the fungus will thrive and athlete’s foot will form.
As a result of weight gain and water retention during pregnancy, feet can go from being a place to wear fashionable footwear to a landscape hospitable to fungus.
According to Westberkshire Foot Clinic, when the feet begin to swell, they rub in areas of the shoe that did not happen before pregnancy. When this happens, it can create a sweatier than normal atmosphere in the shoe. If women are wearing socks, most, if not all the moisture will be absorbed. But, if shoes do not fit with socks, then the feet go barefoot into the shoes. And this creates a perfect storm for athlete’s foot to form.
In just one or two times of wearing sockless shoes that cause the feet to sweat, it is enough to allow the athlete’s foot fungus to grow. Causing nothing but discomfort for pregnant women.
Further still, if pregnant women go to a gym to work out and shower at the gym, according to Atlanta Women’s Obstetrics & Gynecology PC, they are putting themselves at risk for exposure to athlete’s foot. As such, wearing shower shoes and properly drying toes is recommended to keep athlete’s foot from striking.
When athlete’s foot is diagnosed the normal course of treatment generally includes antifungal medication. But because this is not safe for pregnant women to use, other treatments need to be sought to fight off the fungus between the toes.
According to SkinCareGuide, pregnant women are advised to use foot soaks to clear their athlete’s foot. These soaks either include herbal oils or apple cider vinegar. Both of which help to soothe and treat the athlete’s foot so that it can begin to heal.
However, these soaks cannot treat the condition on their own. There are other things that pregnant women need to do to keep from contracting athlete’s foot in the first place.
According to Atlanta Women’s Obstetrics & Gynecology PCto keep athlete’s foot from happening, the preventative actions pregnant women can take include:
- Wearing loose shoes
- Drying between toes after bathing or swimming
- Wear socks to keep moisture away from feet
- Do not wear socks days in a row
By taking these steps, mothers-to-be can hopefully treat athlete’s foot in a hurry and keep it from coming back for the remainder of the pregnancy.
Source: Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, SkinCareGuide, Atlanta Women’s Obstetrics & Gynecology PC, Westberkshire Foot Clinic