What is Yeast Infection?
Yeast infection or fungal infection is generally caused by the attack of Candida albicans, originating from Candida family. In medical terms it is known as Candidiasis or thrush.
The affect of this infection can range from very mild level, like oral thrush or vaginitis, to very severe life-threatening disease. The severe level of Candida infection are seen in highly potential life-threatening disease like cancer and AIDS.
The symptoms of mild level medical complications include infections on the skin, inflammation or oral thrush that are easily visible.
The infection is caused due to attack and multiplication of yeast or fungi on the surface of the skin. The infectious pathogens grow rapidly in moist and warm locations and is much more superficial on the skin’s surface in the form of inflammation, thrush or nappy rashes in small babies. Highly risky places in the body that can get affected includes underarms, in between bulky areas like on the stomach or back. Other places include under the breast in ladies, nailbed, between fingers, and in mouth and diaper areas in small babies.
Yeast infection spread very quickly in these moist areas and penetrate deeply in the skin, if some openings like some cuts or wounds are there on the affected region. In women, the yeast infections are generally found on the surface of the vagina, known as vaginal infection. The infection is said to have taken life of around 75% of its total cases, to whom proper treatment is not given on time.
Recurrence of this infection indicates presence of life-threatening disease like cancer and AIDS.
Symptoms of Yeast Infection
The signs and symptoms of yeast infection are different and can be distinguished depending on the location of the body it is affecting.
In Women: Genital region of the women is the most affected region of yeast infections. Yeast infections are considered as second most important reason that can cause vaginal infections. The symptoms include secretion of milky color, a little viscous vaginal discharge from the vagina, itchiness, burning sensation during urination, and pain during sexual intercourse.
In men: Men with yeast infections tend to have redness around the head of the penis, soreness can occur on foreskin also, itchiness in the penis, and can have burning sensation during urination.
Occurrence of symptoms is not at all compulsory in mild condition, sometimes symptoms are seen to coming out in very severe stage.
In infants and adults: Yeast infections generally happen in the moist places of the body. In babies, yeast infections usually occur in the diaper area in the form of nappy rashes. Nappy rashes are red in color and cause little itchiness in the affected region. Other than this, candidal infections affect in the form of oral candidiasis, called thrush. Oral infection is found to be forming a thick, white patch on top of the tongue, palate, or any other place inside the mouth. It is like a white plaque covering on the tongue. It can be removed by using cotton-tipped stick that can strip out the plaque from the tongue.
Thrush in the mouth causes pain in eating something. So, it is advised to take liquid diet during this period to erase chances of weakness and dehydration.
In addition to this, fever and abdominal pain can happen due to yeast infections.
Causes of Yeast Infection
Multiplication of Candida yeasts: Candida are found in the body upto a specific percentage normally, alongwith microorganisms like bacteria. But increase in the percentage of it due to rapid multiplication, indicates start of ths yeast infection.
Vaginal Infection: It is mainly found in the vagina of women all around the world. Although, it can indicate some symptoms or not, but the causes behind this are quite clear. The causes include usage of allergic soap or application of douching process done to keep vagina clean. Vaginal discharge in itself have some acidic level maintained because of the presence of good bacteria. Now, when the percentage of yeast growing their incrases rapidly, it leads to the initialization of the yeast infections.
Special conditions like pregnancy: During this period cleanilessness due to heavy vaginal discharge causes attack of yeast infection.
Birth contraceptive pill: Intake of birth contraceptive pills causes hormonal changes in the body, further acting as a initiator of vaginal infections.
Sexual intercourse: Improper cleaning of the genital region after doing anal sex or vaginal sex causes this infection to happen.
Diabetes: If a person is diabetic then, the chances of getting this infection is very much.
Intake of antibiotics and steroids: Intake of antibiotics and steroids kills the good bacteria present in the body. And, thus helps in the overgrowth of yeast or other microorganisms
Transfer of infection: The infection can transfer from female body to male body after sexual intercourse.
Weak immune system: People who are taking treatment for cancer, AIDS, or other candidal infections consumes lot of antibiotics and steroids, this weakens their immunity system. Weak immune system make them more prone of getting candidal infections.
Deep penetration: The yeasts penetrate in the body deeply through some cuts or by injecting unsterilzed needle in the body of a person.
Hormonal replacement therapy and infertility treatment: Women who are undergoing for hormonal replacement therapy and infertility treatment are on edge of getting yeast infections.
Wearing tight synthetic underwear: Wearing tight clothes or synthetic underwear can be considered as one cause of this infection. The tight wear can also cause infection in the surrondings of vagina or vulva.
Diagnosis of Yeast Infection
1. Yeast infections can be detected by doing microscopic examination and culturing of infected skin.
2. Microscopic examination include light microscopy in which a little swab of affected skin is taken to confirm the presence of Candida cells in it.
3. Culturing of affected skin is done. The morphology and color of the cell colonies indicate the prssence of bacteria and yeasts in it.
Treatment of Yeast Infection
Candida can affect any part of the body including mouth and intestine. Intake of antibiotics are not considered to be very suitable as it kills both good and bad bacteria or other microorganisms that can obstruct the growth of yeast in the affected region.
To be very specific, antifungual drugs, like clotrimazole, topical nystatin, fluconazole, and topical ketoconazole, belonging to the family of antimycotics, are given to better cure the infection. Fluconazole is very effective in treating vaginal infection in women but in other location it is not found to be very effective. Other than this, breastfeeding thrush can be treated by using gentian violet, but is has to be given in small quantity to reduce the chances of mouth and throat ulcerations in the baby. Recurrence of the infections after taking medications require new medication to be prescribed.
In babies, to treat nappy rashes several antifungal creams are prescribed. In addition, it is recommended to provide proper air to the diaper area and is advised to keep it free (without diaper) for sometime so that it become dry.
It is recommended people with infection should avoid excess amount of sugar intake in their diet. Because sugar has some properties that help in the overgrowth of yeasts population in the infection. As said earlier, people with diabetes are more prone to catch the infection. So they should keep proper check on their sugar level to prevent themselves from the infection.
Vaginal yeast infection can be treated by applying antifungal therapy. The therapy is useful for the infections that are recurrent in nature or that can further result in other infection like vulvo-vaginal candidiasis. The antifungal therapy consists two components such as polyenes and imdazole derivatives.
To treat mild vaginal infection, Nystatin vaginal suppositories are inserted in the vagina for almost seven day to recover from it completely.
Prevention of Yeast Infection
Yeast infection generally happens to women in their genital region, hence it is advised to them to keep their genital region clean all the time. And, right selection of underwear is very much required. Diapers of babies should be changed on time, with out making excess amount of liquid accumulating in it. Older people are suggested to keep check on their diabetes.