Most women experience a yeast infection at some point in their lives. For most women, the infections will first begin during puberty and will recur throughout the child-bearing years. The body is very delicately balanced and, when an event occurs in the body that upsets this balance, one of the results can be a yeast infection. Knowing about these infections and the steps you can take to remedy them will help you to recognize the onset of a yeast infection early and address the condition before it becomes a serious issue.
What is a yeast infection?
As mentioned previously, the body is delicately balanced. The vagina contains many types of bacteria including candida, or yeast, and Lactobacillus Acidophilus bacteria which keeps the yeast bacteria in check. The infections strike about 70% of women and a significantly lower percentage of men. However, it has also been shown that most children from birth to nine years old also experience a strain of this condition.
What causes it?
When the balance is upset by a change such as high estrogen levels, puberty, pregnancy, or even taking antibiotics, the result can be an increase in yeast which causes vaginitis, which is also known as candidiasis, or a yeast infection. Other causes of the infections are wearing tight clothing or pantyhose or wearing a damp bathing suit for an extended period of time. Uncontrolled diabetes mellitus raises blood sugar levels and can create a good environment for the infections to grow.
Symptoms of a yeast infection
The symptoms of a yeast infection vary among women. In most cases, a person will experience vaginal itching and burning during urination. In addition, some women experience a clumpy white discharge. Some women experience an odor that smells like “yeast” when they urinate or in the discharge.
Thrush in babies and children is most easily recognized by the white film that forms inside the mouth and throat.
When it occurs on the skin, intertrigo is most easily recognized by itching, cracking, painful red and inflamed skin that contains pus, or a shiny rash with scales or blisters on the edge in the folds of the skin.
Types of yeast infections
The most common strain is vaginal candidosis, however, there are other strains of this condition that can affect other parts of the body. In babies and young children, thrush is a common condition that often occurs when babies sleep with a bottle in their mouth. Other types of this infection include intertrigo, balanitis and moniliasis.
How to treat or cure a yeast infection
There are many treatments and remedies available for the condition. If the infection is severe or does not respond to over-the-counter or home remedies, it is important to see a healthcare professional so that other conditions that have the same symptoms can be ruled out. Home remedies normally focus on increasing the lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria in the body, which will naturally reduce the candida albicans. This bacteria is found in yogurt, which is often recommended for treatment of thrush in children.
Some steps that can be taken to reduce the possibility of developing the condition includes reducing stress, getting enough rest, reducing or eliminating the use of perfumed feminine hygiene sprays, eating a proper diet, wearing loose clothing and reducing the use of pantyhose or other tight underwear. If you develop this type of infection as a result of taking antibiotics, talking to your healthcare provider about alternative medication will be helpful. In addition, avoid wearing damp underwear, bathing suits, or pantyhose for extended periods of time.
When the condition doesn’t respond to treatments or remedies, oral medications are often provided that prevent all types of candida growth. These types of medications are often provided to men who get the infection. Men who are susceptible to the infections can get them through sexual intercourse with a carrier. Sexual relations can also be painful for a woman who has the infection, and refraining from sex will keep the area from being irritated.
By learning about yeast infections and how to prevent them, a person can avoid the discomfort and pain that often accompanies an untreated condition. It is important to be aware of the early warning signs of an infection so that you can be proactive in alleviating it. A candida test will help with this. When you have persistent, recurring infections it will be important to see a healthcare professional so that they can provide you with the most effective treatment in eliminating the yeast infection.