A yeast infection is usually seen as an infection of the skin or genital area which is caused by a tiny organism, a single-celled fungus, called Candida albicans.
Fungal infections – also known as yeast infections – caused by Candida albicans are usually associated with redness, irritation, rashes and itching in the vaginal or penile area.
Video on yeast infection by Dr Mercola
However, yeast infections may develop in any area of the body, especially if they are warm and moist (think armpits, skin folds, groin, and so on).
Fungal infection is not a sexually transmitted infection, though an infection of Candida in the vagina or on the penis can be passed between sexual partners.
Besides the skin, fungal infections can also affect the mouth, when it is known as thrush, and occasionally they may invade the whole body in which case the infection is known as “systemic”. These are serious infections which require medical attention: fortunately they are comparatively rare.
In the common-or-garden yeast infections that we all suffer from time to time (and which can be cured by programs like Linda Allen’s Yeast Infection No More), the irritation can be a mild or very intense sensation, sometimes so bad that a person is desperate for a solution.
The possible treatments include both home remedies for yeast infection and medical prescriptions for antifungal agents.
Symptoms of vaginal yeast infection
There are other conditions besides a yeast infection that can cause the following symptoms. However, if you have only been with one sexual partner, and have no other illnesses, the following symptoms are the usual signs of Candida:
- itching in the area of the vagina and vulva
- a sense of burning or soreness
- pain during sexual intercourse or when you urinate
- vaginal discharge — however, this may not always be present, but if it is present with a yeast infection it will usually have little or no odor and it will look white and thick in appearance and texture. However, just to prove that nothing is certain when it comes to conditions like this, it’s worth taking note of what one woman said in the patient forums on the web: “The discharge was unlike what I had read about in previous years. Mine was not thick, like cottage cheese. It was thin, white, pasty with a yeast-like odor (mild). Within a few days, the itching started and got so bad that I was inflamed everywhere, and a light staining of blood appeared on my underwear. It did not burn when I urinated, however, itching and discomfort followed urination 100% of the time. It lasted more than 1 week.”
- you may also have pain in the area of the vulva.
In about 5% of women, recurrent yeast infections may occur — perhaps four or more times in a year, and when these are not related to the use of antibiotics, it’s certainly a good idea to see a qualified medical practitioner.
To establish a diagnosis of yeast infection with a hundred percent certainty, a doctor will take a specimen from the affected area and send it to a laboratory for cultivation. This is the quickest and most effective way to establish a diagnosis, although most women who are familiar with their own body will be aware when they have a yeast infection, since it’s a common feminine problem.
If you wish to use a home remedy for yeast infection, try Yeast Infection No More by Linda Allen. This is a great way of taking responsibility for your own well-being.
Yeast infection is the result of the activity of any of the 150 or so species of Candida fungus, though Candida albicans is most common. A yeast infection can also be known as candidiasis or candidosis.
Candidiasis covers both superficial infections, for example oral thrush and vaginal yeast infection, and also whole body infections, which are potentially serious diseases referred to as candidemia – however, these are typically are seen only in immunocompromised men and women, for example cancer or AIDS patients.
The more minor yeast infections produced by Candida albicans which lead to localised soreness and inflammation are common in a large segment of the population.
Although usually attributable to the presence of opportunistic Candida fungi, the term candidiasis covers some diverse syndromes that vary in their causes and outcomes.
Candidiasis is generally a quite localized infection of the skin, including possibly the genitalia. Generally speaking, repeated infection of the genitals will require some fundamental changes to lifestyle and diet, which means using a holistic program such as the home remedies for yeast infection described in Yeast Infection No More.
C. albicans is a very common cause of vaginitis, and can additionally develop on a man’s genitals. Indications of a yeast infection on a man’s genitalia include red patches close to the tip of the foreskin, scaling skin, and serious itchiness. Candidiasis of the penis can produce a white colored pus-like discharge. Using a proven yeast infection home remedy can result in minimal problems like itching and soreness.
In yeast infections of the penis, the precipitating factors include sex with an infected woman: in the western world, approximately three fourths of females are affected by vaginal yeast infections at some point in their lives.
(Infections of Candida in the mouth or vagina are often called “thrush”: orally, this is normally only a problem in infants, and is quite normal.)
Signs and symptoms of candidiasis may vary according to the area of the body infected. An infection of the vulva may trigger extreme irritation and soreness. Yet in a recent scientific paper it was revealed that only one third of women who were self-administering some kind of medication for a yeast infection actually had a yeast infection!
A variety of natural yeast infection home remedies have been suggested as treatment for Candida, including yoghurt, garlic, and natural essential oils like tea tree. You can read about them in any good review of Yeast Infection No More by Linda Allen – a program of yeast infection home remedy which comes highly recommended.
Are Yeast Infections Natural?
Yeast cells are found on human skin at all times, so they occur naturally in every part of the body including the vagina, penis and mouth.
Generally, they are held in check by the immune system of the body, the natural bacterial flora of the body and the homeostatic pH control of the body.
All these factors keep the yeast cells from overgrowing. In practice, therefore, up to half of all women without any signs of a vaginal infection will be host to yeast cells in their vaginas.
But of course, things go wrong. And that may give the yeast cells an opportunity to flourish, growing out of control so that the symptoms of the yeast infection will become all-too-obvious.
In women, such infections of the vagina appear as inflammation and itching, plus white or creamy vaginal discharge. The labia and clitoris may also be infected.
The male genitals are also prone to yeast infections; these can be transmitted during sex with an infected partner or again, when the natural environment of the body is disturbed in some way.
Male yeast infections are marked by reddening and itching of the glans, redness and irritation on or under the foreskin, and soreness on the skin of the penile shaft, scrotum or whole groin area. Redness, irritation and itching may spread so that the skin begins to flake and peel.
“Jock Itch” is a classic sign of a yeast infection, and again can affect both sexes: it appears usually as a red or pink rash with irritation and itching.
It can spread to the inner thighs, the genitals, including the scrotum and penis, the vaginal opening and labia in women, and even the anus. The causes of yeast infections include tight underwear, excessive moisture or sweating, lack of hygiene, allergy problems, and bacterial growth.
An infection of the vagina is probably the most common form of a yeast infection in women. It can be caused by overgrowth of yeast which already present in the vagina when a woman takes antibiotics or other immunosuppressive drugs.
It’s also possible for these infections develop after some kind of injury to the inside of the vagina, perhaps during sexual activity (such as a small scratch which may not even be noticed at the time), when a woman is taking chemotherapy, or a cortisone-based medication such as prednisone, if she has diabetes mellitus, if she is pregnant, or if she’s taking oral contraceptives.
Vaginal douches have also been implicated in causing yeast infections because they disturb the natural acidity of the vagina, which normally keeps Candida under control. It’s important to note that infections with Candida albicans are quite natural and occur in almost all women at some point in their life.
They are not sexually transmitted infections since Candida is present in the natural environment of a healthy vagina; in addition, yeast infections can develop in women who are totally celibate.
This means there need be no shame associated with the development of a yeast infection, and it’s important to get effective treatment of some kind as soon as possible.
You can see a basic level video about yeast infections here.