Unlike other infections that are normally caused by bacteria or virus, a yeast infection is the result of invasion of fungus, also referred as Candida albicans. Yeast is basically a fungus, that usually thrives naturally in warm, moist areas of the body such as the vagina, mouth and the groin. In women the most commonly affected area is the vagina whereas in men, the fungus often invades the penis.
Causes of Yeast Infection
This fungus, Candida albicans actually is present in our body and does not cause any harm. However, when its concentration increases beyond a normal range, it causes a wide range of health problems. Prolonged use of antibiotics, hormonal imbalance or uncontrolled diabetes, can make a person vulnerable to yeast infections. An impaired immune system, HIV infection and intake of chemotherapy drugs are some of the other factors responsible for causing yeast infection in the genital areas. At the time of pregnancy, the estrogen levels shoot up dramatically which may also lead to yeast overgrowth. People taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are also at increased risk of yeast infection.
Yeast Infection Side Effects...
Yeast infection, whether in men or women is annoying and can make a person quite uncomfortable. Fatigue, loss of energy and skin problems like acne or rashes are some of the most common symptoms of yeast infection.
When presence of yeast, exceeds beyond a certain limit, following are the bothersome side effects observed in women.
When the fungus affects the vagina, it becomes inflamed. Overgrowth of yeast is very irritating, as it causes extreme itching in the vaginal area. Scratching the vagina, only provides temporary relief. However, excessive scratching, must be avoided as it can irritate the skin and worsen itching. Also, vaginal yeast infection can give a hard time while urinating. In short, a painful urination is commonly associated with this type of fungal infection. Typically, a woman experiences a burning sensation during urination. This is because, urine is acidic in nature and hence when it comes in contact with the inflamed skin of the vulva, it triggers an unusual prickly sensation. The intensity of the pain may vary from person to person, but in most cases, it is tolerable. Sex may no longer be a pleasure for women diagnosed with yeast infection, as it leads to a painful intercourse. Burning sensation in the vagina during intercourse is a common complaint in women affected with vaginal yeast infection. Smelly urine that is accompanied by a change in color is the most common symptom of overgrowth of yeast in the body. Whitish vaginal discharge is also commonly associated with yeast infection in women.
Male yeast infection generally affects the penis and in most cases, it is the result of unprotected sex with an infected partner. During the course of infection, the head of the penis is found to be red. A penile yeast infection makes the skin of the penis itchy and sore. Blisters may also appear on the head of the penis. Like women, the affected men have a white discharge that produces a distinct odor. Yeast infection in men can also bring prostate problems which may require a visit to the doctor.
Yeast Infection in the Intestine
When yeast grows in excess in the intestine, it can cause digestive issues such as constipation, bloating and diarrhea. Intestinal yeast infection is common in men and occurs in very small percentage in women.
When the mouth is the affected area due to yeast infection, it can be a nasty experience. A mouth yeast infection, also referred as oral thrush causes the formation of white sores that can be clearly seen in the mouth. Licking the sores with tongue can worsen the infection. Improper oral care during yeast infection, can cause these white sores to bleed profusely.
Treatment for yeast infection depends upon which part of the body is affected. In case of mouth yeast infection, avoiding hot liquids, sugary foods and using saltwater to wash the mouth, can certainly help to reduce the pain. Antifungal ointments like miconazole (Monistat) as well as oral medications such as fluconazole (Diflucan) are commonly used to treat vaginal and penile yeast infections. Application of these creams on the affected part of the skin, twice daily, can help to relieve symptoms of yeast infection. Apart from creams, do not forget to have a cup of homemade yogurt daily as it helps to effectively manage the symptoms of yeast infection.
Antifungal medicines taken orally can also help to treat penile or yeast infections. However, usage of oral antifungal agents has its own drawbacks. For instance, taking these antifungal agents orally can make a person feel nauseating and this may be followed abdominal discomfort and headache. Generally, oral treatment is recommended to treat recurring yeast infection. Also, pregnant women suffering from yeast infections are advised to avoid use of oral medicines.