Yeast infection is caused by a fungus known as Candida and hence it is also called Candidiasis. The infection can develop on mouth, genitals, blood and on skin. This disease is known by different names based on the organs it infects. It produces symptoms like itching and burning sensation and often the yeast infection is contagious. It can be treated by antifungal drugs and topical creams.
Yeast is a type of fungus and yeast infection is caused by Candida. Human body contains some amount of yeast which does not create any symptoms. When it multiples in number (due to certain medical conditions) it can cause itching and pain. Fungus will thrive on moist dark areas like mouth, genitals, and armpits and between the thighs.
Oral candidiasis or thrush is the name given to yeast infection that develops in the mouth and throat. Vaginitis is the name given to yeast infection affecting vagina. Diaper rash is the name given to yeast infection that infects baby’s bottom area. When the yeast infection enters the blood it is known as invasive candidiasis.
Oral thrush has symptoms like redness, white spots on the mouth, sore throat, difficulty in eating and cracks on the lips. It occurs both in infants and aged people and more particular in individuals undergoing chemotherapy. Yeast infection on vagina can cause moderate to severe itching, redness on the vagina, whitish (cottage cheese) like discharge and pain during intercourse. Men also can get yeast infection producing symptoms like irritation and itchiness on the penis along with red rashes. They may feel like burning sensation on the tip of the penis.
Diaper rash is the type of yeast infection in babies that cause red patches on the skin and irritation. In severe cases, it causes fluid filled blisters on the buttocks which can cause flaky skin. Invasive yeast infection can produce symptoms like fever and chills when the fungus enters into the bloodstream. It can weaken the immunity making one prone to many infections.
Lowered immune system can cause yeast infection. Every person will have good and bad bacteria in his body. When he takes antibiotics for other diseases it may attack and destroy the “good bacteria” thereby multiplying bad bacteria inside the system. Certain drugs given for suppressing the immunity can also cause yeast infection. Hence increase in volumes of bad bacteria is the major cause for yeast infection.
Any trauma or injury can also cause yeast infection. Increased moisture on the genital areas can cause yeast infection. People undergoing chemotherapy for cancer or any similar methods are likely to get yeast infection on their mouth and throat. Old age and diabetes can increase the risk of getting this infection. Women who are taking prednisone and other cortisone drugs are more prone to get yeast infection than other women.
Who are at risk?
People who repeatedly use antibiotic medications, people with increased estrogen hormone, people with chronic diabetes and people with weakened immune system have high risk of getting yeast infection. Yeast infections do not belong to the category of sexually transmitted diseases but the Candida can enter into other person’s genitals through unsafe sex.
Yeast infection on the vagina will produce whitish discharge. To rule out other possibilities your doctor may collect sample tissue from the affected area for testing through the microscope for confirming the presence of fungus.
You can apply topical antifungal ointments for managing yeast infection on the vagina or penis. Creams that contain clotrimazole, miconazole and butoconazole are effective antifungal creams. Depending on the severity of symptoms, your doctor will also give oral pills for reducing itching and inflammation. For some women, vaginal tablets that contain lotrimin, or monistat, or terazol are given. Often, oral pills that contain fluconazole is given for quick results.
Short course vaginal treatment is often given for controlling uncomplicated type of yeast infection. All the above medications can be bought over the counter or through prescription from your doctor. To avoid the side effects of oral pills, it is better to use vaginal tablets and suppositories that have no side effects. You need to follow up with your doctor even after the symptoms are gone, since yeast infection can return within few weeks. For severe case of yeast infection, long term vaginal therapy is recommended along with oral medications like fluconazole.
Home Remedies :
Vaginal yeast infections can be treated easily at home. You can apply little yogurt on the vagina and leave it overnight. There will be no irritation and itchy feeling in the morning. For women with chronic yeast infection, using boric acid suppository is effective.
Keep the genital area moisture-free. Wear cotton undergarments and choose loose fitting underwear for air circulation. Do not remain on wet clothes for long. Practice safe sex and avoid having sex with multiple partners.