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CANDIDA - THRUSH - YEAST INFECTION - VAGINITIS
What they are, their Appearance, Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.
Some common questions on yeast infection:
WHO Gets Yeast Infections?
A yeast infection is one of those infections that makes every woman and female teenager grimace with discomfort and embarrassment.
Millions of women around the world are diagnosed with yeast infection every year and half of all women will get yeast infection in their lifetime.
Once you have yeast infection it will normally make many things unpleasant, including those night time pleasures.
Although yeast infection is more prevalent among women and teenage girls, it can also infect men, children and babies.
Yeast infection is also known by the common terms thrush, candida and vaginitis.
What does an ACTIVE yeast infection look like?
Above is a photo picture of the yeast infection fungus, candida. Photo courtesy of Y. Tambe.
Going on all the branching that can be seen in this microscope image, this yeast infestation is quite active.
Yeast infection, in it's inactive state, would not show up with this tendricle appearance.
WHAT IS yeast infection?
Yeast Infection is a fungus that normally exists on the skin in small numbers and generally causes no problems. Everyone has yeast infection fungi on their skin and mucous membranes (special skin areas often involved in food digestion and elimination - such as in the mouth, the anus, vagina, penis, etc.)
The yeast becomes an infection when the fungus breeds up. That is, when the fungi - the individual reproducing units - reproduce much faster than they die off.
What CAUSES a Yeast infection?
There are many causes of yeast infection. Essentially though, it's something that happens to the body that allows the normal yeast infection to take over.
What PARTS OF THE BODY can Suffer a Yeast Infection?
Areas of the body most likely infected by Candida: The yeast infection symptoms mainly appear on the mucous membranes.
The mucous membranes are the membranes which secrete or produce mucous and normally line the passageways of the body which connect to the outside world - the mouth, throat (the pharnyx, the esophagus), intestines, the urinary bladder, anus, vagina and penis - they can all suffer from a yeast infection.
It can also occur in the navel, on the breasts, the armpits, around the mouth, around the male or female genitalia, or within any fold of skin that doesn't see the light of day all that often.
Yeast infection symptoms can also occur on the skin, on the finger or toe nails, or on the bottom.
Yeast infection can also enter the blood stream and infect the organs of the body. When the yeast infection does this, you are said to have a "systemic yeast infection".
How does a yeast infection progess or develop?
The yeast infection starts when the fungus finds an environment with good conditions and not a lot of competition. At that point it changes from a relatively harmless unicellular organism into an invasive multicellular organism and starts reproducing as fast as it can, wherever it can.
Yeast Infection will affect any area where conditions are good for it, but will fail to affect areas that aren't susceptible or that it can't get to.
In other words, you can have vaginal candidiasis without getting oral candidiasis along with it, and vice versa. So it may be safe to kiss, but not have intercourse and vice versa.
Yeast Infection Fast Facts
Yeast infections are one of the most common infections most members of the human race will ever suffer from.
Yeast infections are caused by a member of the Candida family of yeasts.
Yeasts are everywhere in our environment, and Candida microorganisms are found in the intestines of over 80% of the human race.
This little fungus will probably be with us for some time to come.
The medical term for yeast infections is candidiasis, and it can affect a lot more than most people realize.
While the vast majority of yeast infections today are vulvovaginal infections in women, candidiasis can occur in plenty of places on and in the body.
Yeast infections can also affect any human being, from newborn infant to senior citizen.
Yeast infections doesn't care about male and female, either.
Yeast infections can be sexually transmitted, but it certainly doesn't require sexual contact in order to spread.
Yeast infections likes oxygen, and so is easily transmitted by either direct skin to skin contact or on infected cloth such as towels or clothing.
In addition, not all candidiasis infections have terribly obvious symptoms, especially in the early stages of infection.
Members of a family can keep trading the same candidiasis infection back and forth without knowing it unless proper precautions are taken.
Yeast Infection Symptoms
General Yeast Infection Symptoms
The symptoms of a yeast infection are fairly unique.
Somewhere on the body develops either white plaques, or starts emitting a white, cheesy or curd-like discharge.
In addition, you'll usually experience yeast infection symptoms of serious itching, burning, redness and inflammation on and around the infected site.
If the yeast infection is on exterior skin, the usual symptoms also include red, patchy sores with a distinct border that also itch and burn like mad.
Specifically, what are the SYMPTOMS Of Yeast Infection?
A... The Symptoms of a yeast infection of the vagina and vulva include:
a... A discharge from the area which is either whitish or yellowish in color.
b... Inflammation of the area - swelling, redness.
c... Squishy, whitish stuff may adhere to the vagina walls aka lining.
d... There may be a nasty smell from the vagina.
More Yeast infection symptoms in female genitalia
As previously stated, the vast majority of yeast infection cases occur in female genitalia.
In this case, the white, curd-like discharge is usually quite pronounced and often gives off a distinct yeast-like smell.
Vaginal yeast infections also often itch quite badly and can seriously impact the quality of life.
If a woman is susceptible to them, they often pop up every so often during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, or while taking oral contraceptives.
B... The Symptoms of a yeast infection of the penis include:
(Yeast infection in of men, male yeast infection)
a... Occasionally a discharge will be noticed from the tip.
b... Irritation of the penis head.
c... Redness of the penis head.
d... Pain in the penis head.
C... Yeast Infection Symptoms in the Mouth and Throat:
a... Whitish or whitish blue patches in the mouth or on the tongue.
b... Tongue may have inflammation - swollen and red.
c... Probably be difficult or painful to swallow.
d... Will probably itch.
e... Cracks around the corners of the mouth are common in oral yeast infection
D... Yeast Infection Symptoms in Babies ( Diaper Rash) :
a... Bottom and or groin area may appear red.
b... Sores, pimples or pustules ( pus filled tiny areas ).
c... Area may be painful.
d... Area may feel rough or cracked.
e... In extreme cases the area may be swollen.
E... Yeast Infection Symptoms of the finger and toe nails:
4... In later stages, pus.
5... Large and grotesque nail growth pattern may develop.
6... Yeast infection of the nails and skin may also makes the nail beds and surrounding area itch quite badly.
F... Yeast Infection Symptoms Accompanying Systemic Infection
The yeast infection symptoms vary widely and depend on which organs have been infected.
For example, if the eye were infected with a yeast infection through the blood stream, then eye pain and blurriness may be common symptoms.
If the heart suffers a yeast infection, then the valves may become damaged and heart murmurs noticed.
Systemic yeast infection has a high fatality rate, even in hospital.
Yeast Infection symptoms can be misdiagnosed.
For instance, many women diagnose themselves as having a yeast infection when what they really have is bacterial vaginosis.
In other words, it's the vaginal bacteria that are getting overgrown, not the fungi.
This condition requires treatment with antibiotics, whereas antibiotics will only make a yeast infection worse.
This is why all of the over-the-counter medications on the market today for vaginal yeast infections tell you to go to a doctor for diagnosis if you think you're experiencing your first yeast infection.
Once you've experienced your first confirmed yeast infection, you'll be able to tell the difference easily. Until then, it's important to get the right treatment for the particular condition.
Yeast Infection symptoms may not be present.
It is fairly common for someone with candidiasis to have no symptoms at all for quite some time.
Symptoms will usually come with a vengeance later, and such people are still contagious for the entire time.
This is why it's important that sexual partners get treated at the same time, even if one has no symptoms.
Anyone with a case of candidiasis on external skin is less likely to have obvious symptoms, which is often how this miserable merry-go-round starts.
Special Properties of Yeast Infection
Oral or mouth yeast infections
Oral or mouth yeast infections, commonly known as thrush, is the classic baby problem that causes whitish plaques to appear in the mouth.
These plaques generally look like they're above the skin, but if you try and wipe them away the tissue underneath starts to bleed.
Many people with oral yeast infection will also have an anal yeast infection as well, indicating possible intestinal travel or intestinal infection.
Yeast Infections In Babies
A similar progression is most often seen in babies who suffer anal candidiasis as a secondary effect of diaper rash.
In addition, if a newborn has oral candidiasis (thrush), Mom should get treated at the same time if she is breastfeeding. Candidiasis can live, thrive and keep reinfecting the baby from Mom's nipple.
If they don't both get treated, they could keep passing the infection back and forth to each other without being aware of it.
Throat Yeast Infections
If candidiasis occurs within the throat, such as the pharnyx or the esophagus, the white plaques or white discharge may not be visible.
Serious Complications of Yeast Infection: Candidemia
Under normal circumstances, yeast infections stay confined to the location it's currently infecting and wherever it's carried to by touch.
If you get oral candidiasis, you can give yourself genital candidiasis by flossing your teeth and then touching the genital area without washing your hands in between.
It can also migrate between your mouth and anywhere else your gastrointestinal tract connects to. However, it does not normally travel to new places in your body through the bloodstream. If it does, it changes from the simple yeast infection, candidiasis, to candidemia and becomes a serious health problem.
Symptoms of candidemia include flu-like symptoms, pain, mental disorders, chronic fatigue, fever, chills, and are generally severe enough to put you in a hospital.
There are a number of risk factors for candidemia that include the repeated use of powerful broad-spectrum antibiotics, dialysis, diabetes, use of a central venous catheter, multiple abdominal surgeries, severe burns, HIV/AIDS infection, and the use of immunosuppressant medications like those prescribed for organ transplant and cancer patients.
The number of candidemia patients today is on the rise because more and more people have suppressed immune systems.
The question arises, why do we have more immune-suppressed patients today than we used to? Is there something wrong with our medical knowledge?
The answer is no. People who suffered from cancer or needed an organ transplant used to just die of their original problem without getting the chance to develop secondary infections. Today we can treat cancer, we can transplant organs, we can treat severe burn victims. Because these people are actually surviving their original condition, we're just finding out what else can go wrong.
Yeast Infection Treatment and Cure
Once you've confirmed that you have a yeast infection, treatment is usually fairly simple.
Barton Publishing I also found publishes an ebook called the Yeast Infection Remedy and they tell you how to cure a yeast infection in less than half a day - 12 hours to cure - and you start feeling the symptom relief in three - 3 - minutes. I don't know of anything that can do that, but this company expends a lot of resources searching for easy to make home remedies and then copyrights the work. Anyway, it comes with a full 1 year money back no questions asked guarantee.
A doctor will either prescribe an antifungal medication or recommend one of the over-the-counter preparations. There are quite a few antifungals out there, and they come in mouthwash, cream and tablet form in order to kill the infection wherever it is.
While you might be able to defeat a case of candidiasis without these medications, you run the risk of turning it into a recurring infection, which then becomes a lot harder to treat.
There are a lot of home remedies out there on the Internet today and I've taken a good long look at most of them. Do not, I repeat do not put things on or in your genitalia that weren't designed to go there. This includes yogurt and vinegar. Neither will do any good and may even contribute to a pleasant environment for the Candida organism. Eat the yogurt and use the vinegar as an ingredient in your salad.
Yogurt is often used to try and restore the body's internal fauna and flora to a normal balance. There haven't been many studies done on its effectiveness but many people report good results from it. Look for yogurt that specifically states it has live cultures of acidophilus in it, any other kind is useless. In addition, if you suffer from high cholesterol or diabetes, think carefully before adding a large quantity of yogurt to your diet.
Vinegar may be useful to treat candidiasis on external skin because it serves to dry the skin out. Dry skin equals a less than pleasant environment for Candida.
Any astringent, such as rubbing alcohol or witch hazel extract, will have a similar effect, but vinegar is often more readily available.
Tea tree oil is another often recommended home remedy for external candidiasis, and we've had good results with it in my house. It's been shown to have significant antimicrobial action against Candida in scientific studies.
However, tea tree should never be used internally as it will seriously irritate any mucus membrane it comes in contact with. The right dosage for external use is five drops of tea tree oil in two tablespoons of a carrier oil such as apricot or almond.
The mix should be made up right before application because it won't stay medicinally active for very long.
Furthermore, any essential oil, even if stored properly, will lose its effectiveness after a year.
Please take a look at the yeast infection treatment and prevention page for full details on curing candidiasis.
This is the old medical home treatment for yeast infection of the vagina that Loni thinks is quite off.
An old medical home remedy for yeast infection of the vagina - vaginitis - from around the 1950's, relied on injecting live cultured yogurt into the vagina to increase the friendly bacteria. About 5 to 10 ml (2 teaspoonfuls) yogurt is injected by syringe, NOT by the needle - leave the needle off the syringe.
Modern doctors appear to be unaware of this old strategy and tend to consider it an additional health risk, in that other germs could be introduced. One medical specialist was mortified by this yeast infection home remedy.
However, our very elderly female doctor had suggested, when recurrent yeast infections kept happening, to use the yoghurt - it seemed to work very well and the doctor thought it a much safer alternative to constant use of medications.
Ms. X and I both trusted this doctor and she had a great scope and breadth of knowledge and practical down to earth experience. She was the sort of doctor who had sucked the junk out of peoples lungs using long tubes and her own mouth, rather than give up on them and let them die. We need more doctors like that. That's my feeling anyway.
OTHER NAMES Your Doctor or Mother may use for Yeast Infection
When the yeast infection occurs on or in the vagina and or vulva, the yeast infection is called "vaginitis", "monilia" or "moniliasis" or "yeast infection".
When the yeast infection occurs in the mouth or throat it is referred to as "thrush".
When the infection is on the bottom - of a baby invariably - it is called "diaper rash".
When the yeast infection is in the finger or toe nails, it is called "candidal onychomycosis" and when the yeast infection is causing pus in or near the nail, it is called "candidal paronychia".
"Candidiasis" simply means a yeast infection. Candidiasis is also known as "candidosis" or "moniliasis".
Yeast Infection Conclusion
While yeast infections may be among the most common health conditions in the world, they're simple to diagnose and to treat.
With a bit of education and attention, you should be infection free and getting on with life in no time.
REFERENCES USED FOR THIS PAGE FOR CANDIDA - THRUSH - YEAST INFECTION - VAGINITIS
Taber's Medical Encyclopedia
Walsh TJ, Dixon DM (1996). "Deep Mycoses", in Baron S et al eds.: Baron's Medical Microbiology , 4th ed., Univ of Texas Medical Branch.
Pappas PG (2006). "Invasive candidiasis". Infect. Dis. Clin. North Am. 20 (3): 485–506.
Odds FC (1987). "Candida infections: an overview". Crit. Rev. Microbiol. 15 (1): 1–5.
Hammer K, Carson C, Riley T (1998). "In-vitro activity of essential oils, in particular Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil and tea tree oil products, against Candida spp". J Antimicrob Chemother 42 (5): 591–5.
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Good luck from: Loni (Researcher and writer ) Donald (Editor and web master).
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