Let’s start with some scientific information about yeast infections.
According to Wikipedia, the genus Candida and the species Candida albicans were described in 1923 by the botanist Christine Marie Berkhout in her doctoral thesis at the University of Utrecht. Over time, the classification of genera and species has evolved.
There are about 150 species of candida. Most do not cause infections in humans. The most important is Candida albicans. Others include Candida tropicalis, Candida glabrata, Candida krusei, Candida parapsilosis, Candida dubliniensis, and Candida lusitaniae.
Although candida yeasts can usually be found in the body, their growth is normally limited. The human immune system and other microorganisms, including bacteria, prevent growth.
About a fifth of women have small amounts of yeast in the vagina, but do not have a noticeable yeast infection.
If the balance of different types of bacteria in the vagina is disturbed, it can allow candida yeast to overgrow.
Risk factors are:
- hormone imbalances
- The pregnancy
- oral contraceptives
- The yeast spread from the anus
- Glycerin-containing lubricants
- the food you eat
People are more likely to get a Candida yeast infection if their immune system is weakened. A yeast infection can, in extreme cases, enter the bloodstream and cause a systemic yeast infection.
Male genital candidiasis is much less common than in women. Causes include low immunity, taking antibiotics, diabetes, and having sex with an infected partner.
The symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection vary depending on the affected area.
When there is a vaginal infection, symptoms can include itching, burning, and pain along with discharge.
Male yeast infections can include patchy red sores on the genitals, with itching or a burning sensation. Candidiasis of the penis can also have a white or watery discharge, although this is not common. In fact, having no symptoms at all is common, and more serious symptoms may appear at a later time.
Physicians generally use microscopic examination and/or culture to diagnose fungal infections.
A scraping or swab is placed on a microscope slide. A 10% potassium hydroxide solution is applied. The solution leaves the candida cells intact while it dissolves the skin cells.
The swab is placed in culture medium and incubated to allow yeast, if present, to grow. The way they grow can allow a diagnosis of what is causing the disease.
Candida is most commonly treated with antifungal medications in the form of pills, creams, or suppositories in the case of vaginal candidiasis.
This is usually an effective treatment, but the nocturnal symptoms return in a few weeks or months.
To stop recurring yeast infections, it’s important to keep the body’s environment healthy, so yeast doesn’t grow. A holistic and natural approach is usually needed.
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