Yeast Infection Disease, Symptoms, Causes And Treatment
A yeast infection, otherwise known as candidiasis, is a form of vaginitis and occurs in the vagina and vulva. It is a result of fungal infection that occurs when the balance between the bacteria within the vagina and the yeast cells inside the vagina is disrupted. Yeast infections can also affect men when an overgrowth of the fungus candida happens on the skin, and in these cases, the infection will occur on the penis.
Typically, yeast infections will be contracted by approximately 75% of women, most of whom will develop this infection at least twice over the course of their lives. In men, this condition is rare, but is more common in uncircumcised men.
Symptoms of Yeast Infection
Most yeast infections are relatively mild and share a handful of common symptoms. In mild to moderate vaginal infections, symptoms include:
- Irritation and itchiness of the vagina and vulva
- A burning sensation during sex
- A burning sensation during urination
- Vaginal swelling
- Vaginal soreness or pain
- A rash around the vagina and vulva
- Watery discharge
- Thick and white discharge that looks like cottage cheese
Common symptoms of yeast infections in men include:
- Irritation and itchiness on the penis
- A burning sensation on the penis
- Penile redness
- Thick and white substances in the folds of the penis
- Moistness in the folds of the penis
- White and shiny places on the penis
It is important to note that yeast infections can take on more complicated and potentially dangerous forms in certain situations, and it is also vital to know that yeast infections can also occur on other parts of the body, such as the mouth, skin, and blood.
More severe yeast infections can occur in those who are pregnant, those who have diabetes or HIV, those who are taking medications that may weaken the immune system, and those who have existing conditions that weaken the immune system. If you are one of these people and develop a yeast infection, you should seek medical advice immediately.
You should also see a doctor as soon as possible if this is your first yeast infection, or if you notice more serious symptoms like:
- Itching, swelling, redness, or rashes that are very severe, causing skin tears or sores
- If you have yeast infections more than four times annually
- If you experience other symptoms that are not typical yeast infection symptoms
Causes of Yeast Infection
A yeast infection is most commonly caused by a fungus known as candida, though other fungi can cause more complicated forms of the condition. The vagina – and the rest of the body – is host to a variety of different microorganisms, from bacteria to yeast cells, including candida. One of the forms of bacteria in the body is lactobacillus, which creates acid that stops too much yeast from growing over.
If something happens that disrupts the balance between this bacteria and candida, this can result in a yeast infection. This can be brought on by something that decreases the amount of this bacteria, or as a result of excessive moisture, and it can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Antibiotic usage
- Corticosteroid usage
- Hormonal imbalance
- Oral contraceptive usage
- Viginal douching
- Too-tight clothing
- Wearing and using dentures
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Conditions that weaken the immune system
- Oral-genital sexual contact
- Sexual contact with someone with a yeast infection
Treatment for Yeast Infections
Most yeast infections are simple and mild, so a doctor will likely prescribe a variety of medicine that you will take over the course of between one and three days. Treatment can come in the form of antifungal creams or ointments, suppositories, or even tablets, and they can be prescription-based or purchased over-the-counter. Those who have had yeast infections before can self-treat with OTC medicines such as butoconazole, clotrimazole, miconazole, or terconazole products.
In more severe infections, a doctor may prescribe a 14-day course of the aforementioned medicines, or you may have to take several doses of fluconazole or Diflucan – or possibly go on a long-term prescription of that product.
Those who have had yeast infections in the past may desire attempting more natural, at-home remedies. Coconut oil, garlic, tea tree oil cream, and plain yogurt have been known to help treat yeast infections. You should always speak to a medical professional before attempting an alternative treatment.