Yeast Infections: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
What is a Yeast Infection?
Yeast infections are quite common in women. They occur due to candida or candida albicans overgrowth. Yeast infections occur mostly in the vagina, and according to estimates, as many as 75% of all women suffer from this condition at least once in their lives. And there are many who have frequent candida outbreaks.
Table of Contents:
- Causes of Yeast Infection
- Signs and Symptoms
- Reoccurring Infections
- What to do if infection starts
Causes of Yeast Infection
Though the infection occurs mainly in the vagina, other parts, such as the mouth may be affected. For yeast infection to occur, the area must be moist and warm such as the mouth and the vagina. Yeast organisms such as candida are normally present in the body and they are usually beneficial. Only when there is an overproduction does the yeast cause an infection. Yeast is actually living on and inside the body and can flare up at any time. Yeast infections on the skin are commonly referred to as intertrigo. There are many names for many different yeast infections on the body.
The weight factor
Approximately 65% of the people living in the USA today are overweight and obsese. Weight is a growing concern with many diseases but can also be a contributing factor in yeast infections in the folds of the skin. Since yeast grows in warm, moist areas in humans, extra weight provides the ideal home for yeast to grow. The areas between the folds of extra skin often become very sweaty and yeast overgrowth may occur causing an inflamed, itchy area to appear on the body. These areas are very common on the abdomen and stomach areas as that is where most extra weight seems to be carried.
Diabetes and other Causes
Diabetes, combined with obesity makes a person much more susceptible to a yeast infection on the skin. The infections will usually be inflamed areas and may have blisters. They will show up under the arms, breasts and where there is extra weight as well as heat and moisture build-up. Friction, which is known to cause chaffing of the skin, may also cause a yeast infection to occur.
Tight clothes can cause a vaginal yeast infection but may also be responsible for other causes of skin yeast infections. Firstly, tight clothes and synthetic materials affect the oxygen supply to the skin. Skin needs to be able to breathe in order to keep bacteria from building up. Material which does not allow the body to breath may cause excessive sweating, especially in those who are overweight. Sweating is the body's way of cooling off (when there is too much heat) and too much heat is what yeast bacteria need to grow. If an outfit is tight enough, it may even cause chaffing to occur under the arms, or in the legs, causing small raw wound areas in which bacteria from yeast can enter. Wearing loose, comfortable clothes made of natural material such as cotton, as well as maintaining a healthy body weight, will decrease the likelihood of a yeast infection of the skin.
Signs & Symptoms of Yeast Infection
Yeast fungi are always on the body and are usually harmless. Skin yeast infections (Candidiasis) can occur in the genitals, the mouth, the anus and even on the skin. In most cases, yeast infections will appear as a white cottage cheese substance in the infected area. The area can also be red and inflamed.
Yeast infections on the skin will usually occur in the actual skin folds where it is moist and warm. This atmosphere allows yeast to multiply, eventually causing an infection. People who are obese may notice they have a skin yeast infection in areas where skin folds overlap. The areas where people are most prone to getting skin yeast infections are under the arms or in the navel. The groin of both men and women, as well as under the breasts, are also frequent places for skin yeast infections to grow. Yeast will more easily penetrate the skin in these areas if there is an open wound or cut.
What does a skin yeast infection look like?
Yeast infections in the skin are not unlike those in the genitals. In an area where a skin yeast infection has formed, the area may be very tender and red as it is inflamed. A person may notice blisters which are small in size or that their skin is dry and flaky. These blisters and rash are symptoms commonly seen in males with a penile yeast infection.
Do yeast infections on the skin smell?
People may be concerned about a possible smell from a yeast infection. This is sometimes a possibility in the genital area while in some cases, you may detect a slight cheese scent from a yeast infection on the skin. If a person knows what yeast smells like, then this may be a good sign that there is a yeast infection and not just normal body odors. Yeast infections are made worse when people sweat and it is very common for the infection to become more noticeable to a person when they become larger or obese. Yeast needs heat and moisture from the body to grow and sweating provides this environment.
Yeast Infection Treatment
To avoid yeast infection, you should not wear synthetic-fiber underwear or panties. Do not keep your vagina wet for a long time. Change wet clothes as soon as possible.The yeast infection should be treated as soon as it is detected. It can enter into the bloodstream leading to sore joints, chest pain and sinus problems. Some of the home remedies of yeast infection are given below.
Although this post is mostly about how to avoid or treat UTIs in women, men can also suffer from these infections especially as they get older. Usually a UTI is caused by bacteria that can also live in the digestive tract, in the vagina, or around the urethra (which is at the entrance to the urinary tract). Most often these bacteria enter the urethra and travel to the bladder and kidneys. While many people have systems in place that are able to remove the bacteria, some are much more prone to infection than others. The infection can be anywhere in the urinary tract which includes all the organs that collect, store and release urine: kidneys, ureters, bladder, prostate (in men) and urethra.
The Importance of Drinking Water:
- The kidneys collect wastes and extra water from the blood to make urine.
- The ureters carry the urine from the kidneys to the bladder.
- The bladder stores the urine, expelling it when full.
- The prostrate adds fluid to semen and
- The urethra carries the urine out of the bladder when urinating.
How to Treat Recurring Yeast Infections
Here are some general tips as well as some tried and tested home remedies:
- Drink plenty of pure, filtered water every day.
- Eat a healthy diet low in sugar, starches and processed or refined foods. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and avoid or reduce caffeine and alcoholic beverages.
- Take a daily probiotic.
- Avoid synthetic underwear and clothing, tight pants, skinny jeans, tights or leggings.
- Always urinate when you feel the need – no holding in.
- Wipe clean from front to back to prevent bacteria from entering your urethra.
- Take showers instead of baths while avoiding hot tubs and jacuzzis and if you do have a bath, then steer clear of bubble baths and any other perfumed bath and soap products.
- Clean your genital area prior to sexual intercourse and again afterwards. Also urinate after sexual intercourse.
- Avoid using feminine hygiene sprays, which may irritate your urethra.
- Use only white fragrant free toilet paper, baby wipes, a clean wet cloth or a bidet when cleaning after urinating.
What to do if an Infection Starts?
- Don't be in a hurry to start a course of antibiotics unless absolutely necessary as there are other ways to treat a UTI. Here are 6 suggestions:
- D-mannose is a popular treatment which is available from a health shop or can be ordered online and should be commenced at the very first sign of a UTI. D-Mannose is not a drug but a naturally occurring sugar which is even produced in our bodies. D-mannose helps to nourish your healthy flora because it doesn’t affect “friendly” bacteria. It is best to take D-Mannose in about 1-3 oz of water, stir well and give it time to go through your system. After about 20 to 30 minutes, you can drink water freely. It is safe, pleasant tasting and acts as a probiotic as well. The loose powder works out to be more economical than capsules.
- While treating a UTI avoid all sugars because of the risk of a yeast infection which loves to feed on any sugar, even from juice and fruits.
- Drinking fresh or frozen cranberry juice is another remedy but it must be completely natural with no added sugar. A small bowl of fresh or frozen cranberries, blueberries and other fruits makes an ideal breakfast or it is easy to make homemade unsweetened cranberry juice by placing a 12 oz bag of cranberries in a large saucepan with 4 cups of water. Boil until all the berries pop and pour through a strainer. If too bitter, add a drop or two of liquid Stevia natural sweetener.
- Another UTI remedy is to take 10 ml of colloidal silver daily while keeping the bladder well drained and drinking lots of water or you can use Olive Leaf Extract 4 times a day.
- For a really inexpensive solution, drink 3 x 6oz glasses of a clear, low sugar, carbonated beverage such as club soda or Perrier water about an hour apart or add 1 teaspoon of real and natural sea salt in a large glass of water, repeated again a couple of hours later.
- Finally, eating a pound of asparagus is a suggested remedy. It does not matter whether cooked or raw.
- With all these different tips and home remedies, there should be something to suit everyone who has a UTI.
De Seta F, et al. (2008). Antifungal mechanisms supporting boric acid therapy of Candida vaginitis.
jac.oxfordjournals.org/content/63/2/325.full.(Accessed, Feb 13, 2021)
womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/douching.html. (Accessed, Feb 13, 2021)
Hammer KA, et al. (2004). Antifungal effects of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil and its components on Candida albicans, Candida glabrata and Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
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