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Yeast Infection Glossary
Antibiotics - A natural or synthetic substance that destroys or inhibits bacteria, often used as medicine.
Antibodies - Specialized molecules (also called immunoglobulins) produced by B cells in response to a specific antigen. When an antibody attaches to an antigen, it generally destroys the antigen.
Antigen - A marker on the surface of the cell that identifies it as as part of a larger organism or as an independent organism. The marker can come from foreign materials such as bacteria or viruses and if it does, the immune system knows to attack and often knows what it's attacking.
Antifungal medications - Medicines that destroy or inhibit the growth of fungal microorganisms.
Azole antifungals - A specific class of antifungal medications that interfere with the fungal life cycle. Most medications in this class have an -azole suffix.
B cells - White blood cells produced in the bone marrow that are crucial to the immune defenses. These cells provide the source for antibodies.
Bacterial vaginosis - Irritation, inflammation and infection of the vagina caused by invasion by and proliferation of bacteria. Often confused with yeast infections.
Candidemia - A deadly disease produced by yeast organisms in the blood.
Candidiasis - Infection of the skin or external mucous membranes by any species of Candida yeasts. Candida albicans is the most common, but the Candida family has over forty members.
Cell - The smallest unit of life; the basic living unit that makes up tissues, organs, blood and bone in all animals and plants.
Corticosteroids - Any of several different hormones made by the surface (cortex) of the adrenal gland or made synthetically for use as a medication. Widely used to treat inflammatory illnesses
Diabetes mellitus - A chronic metabolic disorder marked by elevated blood sugar levels.
Disease - A state in which a function or part of the body is no longer in a healthy condition. Can result from an infection, an internal problem, aging or rapid change that the body can't adjust to.
DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) - a complicated molecule found in the cell nucleus that contains genetic information. DNA contains all of the genetic information any organism needs to reproduce.
Epidemic - A disease outbreak that affects a large portion of a population in any given region at the same time.
Genes - The basic unit of heredity from one generation to the next. Each gene occupies a specific location on a chromosome.
Genome - A complete set of chromosomes involving all of the genetic information in a cell.
Glucose - A simple sugar that is the end result of carbohydrate digestion. It doesn't matter what the carbohydrate was to begin with, the body will turn it into glucose.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) - The virus transmitted through bodily fluids that causes AIDS.
Herpes simplex - Human DNA viruses that produce latent infections and cause repeated ulcerations on the skin, genitals or other mucous membranes. Genital herpes can be confused with yeast infections.
Hormone replacement therapy - Treatment with synthetically produced hormones to replace falling levels of natural hormones.
Immune response - reaction of the innate and adaptive immune systems to invaders such as microbes.
Immune system - A complicated, multi-layered network of specialized cells, tissues, and organs that defends the body against attacks by pathogens (disease causing substances or organisms).
Immunity - Protection from infections and diseases.
Immunization - Any process that induces adaptive immune remembrance, recognition and response against infection by a microbe.
Infection - A state in which disease-causing microbes have invaded and multiplied more than the immune system can handle.
Infectious diseases - Any disease caused by microbes. They can often be passed to or among humans, animals or cross species by several methods including through air, across surfaces and through touch.
Inflammation - A first line innate immune system process that provides a physical barrier to disease-causing microbes. Inflammation is often seen at the site of an injury or trauma. Signs include redness, swelling, pain, and heat.
Menopause - The period of bodily transition in women that marks the end of menstrual activity and fertility.
Microorganisms - Microscopic organisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. If it's alive and it's too small to see without a microscope, it's a microorganism.
Microscopic - Too small to be seen with the naked eye, requires magnification or a microscope to see.
Molecules - The smallest physical units of a chemical compound, as opposed to an element, that still keep the chemical properties of that substance; molecules are the building blocks of every cell and everything else in the body besides. Some examples are proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication - A medication that is not a steroid, but still has painkilling, anti-fever and anti-inflammatory properties.
Ovulation - The periodic maturation and release of an ovum from the ovary and all the hormonal changes that accompany this process.
Pandemics - Diseases that affect a large portion of the population in multiple different regions around the world in more or less the same time frame.
Parasites - Plants or animals that live, grow and thrive inside, on or at the expense of another living thing.
Pathogens - Anything that causes disease.
Perianal area - The area of skin found between the genitals and the anus
Protein - Complex nitrogen compounds that are synthesized by all living things for weapons and tissue creation and repair.
Recurrent Vulvovaginal Candidiasis - Female genital yeast infections that occur more than four times in any given year.
SED rate - The rate of sedimentation of red blood cells out of the blood. Often used as a monitoring test for inflammation within the body. The higher the inflammation, the faster red blood cells will fall out of the blood.
Sexually transmitted disease - Any disease that can be transmitted through sexual contact.
Starch - Complex sugars (carbohydrates) composed of glucose that are staples in the human diet. The main provider of energy to the body under normal circumstances.
Sugar - A sweet tasting simple carbohydrate including fructose, glocse, lactose, maltose, sucrose and xylose.
T cells - White blood cells (also known as T lymphocytes) that fight off invaders directly or closely direct the immune defense.
Tissues - Groups of similar cells joined to perform the same, similar or interrelated functions.
Toxins - Agents produced by plants and bacteria that are damaging to human cells.
Trichomonas - A form of bacteria that often invades the female genitals causing burning, redness and itching. Often confused with a yeast infection
Vaccines - Substances that contain parts of antigens from an infectious organism that stimulate an immune response without giving an active infection. This allows the adaptive immune system to remember the appropriate responses if it recognizes the infectious organism.
Vagina - The tube of muscle and membrane that forms a passage between the uterus and the outside of the body.
Vulva - The portion of the female gentials surrounding the vaginal opening on the outside of the body. Includs the labia majora, the labia minora, the clitoris and the vaginal opening itself.
Vulvovaginal area - The entirety of the female genitalia, both inside and outside the body.
Yeast - Unicellular fungi that can reproduce by single celled or multicellular budding. They feed on and ferment carbohydrates.
Yeast Infection - Infection with a proliferating yeast, usually one that's started to reproduce in a multicellular invasive fashion.
References used in this Yeast Infection Glossary
Taber's Medical Encyclopedia
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