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Myth vs. Fact About Yeast Infections
Introduction to Myth vs. Fact About Yeast Infections
Most of these places want you to buy their product or their book, and are trying to create a sense of panic and pain so you'll be more inclined to purchase their product.
Others are honestly mistaken having read too many psuedoscience papers.
Either way, we've gone and found the most prevalent myths and mistaken beliefs about yeast infections today to puncture them for you.
By really understanding yeast infections, where they come from and what symptoms they cause, you can banish them from your life.
Common Yeast Infection Myths
Myth Number 1: You can have a subclinical systemic yeast infection.
No, you can't have a subclinical systemic yeast infection.
A systemic yeast infection is what happens when yeast organisms start infesting your bloodstream. If they do this at all, you are guaranteed to have the symptoms of massive systemic yeast infection.
Instead, yeast infections may keep recurring because of an underlying condition of some kind.
Yeast organisms are pervasive throughout our environment and in fact they are often found as part of normal, healthy gut flora. If the yeasts don't have the right conditions to go into their invasive form, then you don't have a yeast infection.
Instead of trying to treat a systemic yeast infection that doesn't exist, you should try finding out what underlying condition is creating the chinks in your body's armor that's repeatedly letting yeast in.
Myth Number 2: There is a special diet to fix yeast infections.
The yeast that causes yeast infections is not the same as the yeast used in making wine, bread and beer. The two kinds of yeasts are from completely different families.
Furthermore, Candida yeasts are in your intestines, mouth, genitalia and on your skin all the time.
If you suffered from an intestinal yeast infection, you'd require immediate hospital attention.
However, Candida is a family of yeast, and yeast feeds on sugars both simple and complex. Simple sugars taste sweet, while complex sugars make up the starches in our diet. In addition, alcohol is a form of complex sugar upon which yeast can feed. Cutting back on all of these things in your daily diet can keep from feeding yeast infections.
Yeasts also compete in the intestines with naturally occuring bacteria. If those bacteria are out of balance, it can make yeast infections more likely. Acidophilus capsules, liquids or yogurt with live cultures can all help get these good bacteria back in balance.
Other than those two caveats, there are no special dietary rules that apply to yeast infections other than to get a decent, balanced diet.
A sufficient amount of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and a limited amount of protein and fat serve as the building blocks for a healthy diet.
If a diet you found works for you, then by all means use it.
Many people benefit from a disciplined regimen to cut back on the simple and complex sugars pervasive throughout modern diets.
However, remember that if you improve your diet, this will not be for a limited time but rather should serve as an integral part of your lifestyle from now on. Therefore, don't start a diet you loathe eating.
Myth Number 3: Only women get yeast infections.
Wrong. Men can get genital yeast infections too.
They're not as common because male anatomy doesn't tend to create the kind of dark, warm, moist spaces that Candida yeasts love to grow in.
Less common doesn't equal never happens, however.
If a man gets a genital yeast infection, it will generally appear as a rash on or around the tip of the penis, along with discomfort while urinating and perhaps a whitish, curd like discharge.
The smell of yeast may or may not be apparent.
Sexual partners can pass yeast infections back and forth to each other, even without symptoms, so it's important that both get treated.
Myth Number 4: Kids don't get yeast infections.
This particular myth comes from the perception that yeast infections are transmitted sexually and require a sexually mature adult to have.
Kids get yeast infections all the time, from oral to skin to genital for various reasons.
A child can develop a yeast infection because of poor diapering practices, irritants in laundry detergent, a course of common childhood antibiotics, chronic overstimulation and stress, or any number of other reasons.
Myth Number 5: Genital yeast infections can only be passed through sexual contact.
While yeast infections can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact, that's not the only method by which they're traded among humans.
Candida yeasts can survive on fingers or cloth that's come into contact with the infection for quite some time.
If people share towels or toothbrushes, the invasive Candida organisms can easily jump from one person to another.
Myth Number 6: Genital yeast infections in children are proof of child abuse.
One genital yeast infection in a child is certainly not proof of child abuse.
Genital yeast infections are rather easy to get, and children can give themselves one just through natural curiosity or contract one because of harsh soap.
Repeated childhood genital yeast infections should be investigated carefully by a professional to find out why it keeps happening.
Does the child have a natural bodily imbalance? Is there some unknown irritant in the child's environment? Is it due to medication the child is taking?
If the parents neglect the child's diapering due to ignorance, this isn't child abuse and is easily corrected with education.
If the neglect is due to willful apathy, then intervention on the child's behalf may be in order.
If the yeast infection is due to actual sexual abuse, then other signs and symptoms will occur at the same time, such as tearing and bleeding.
Any suspicion of child abuse should be investigated by trained professionals, but an isolated yeast infection in no way means child abuse.
Myth Number 7: Yeast infections aren't dangerous.
Normal yeast infections are not an emergency room worthy health problem. They can normally be taken care of at home and, once you know what you're dealing with, often don't even require a doctor's visit or prescription.
However, if yeast infections keep happening and the immune system is damaged by stress, disease, medication or poor lifestyle, then yeast infections can become deadly.
Your immune system keeps most yeast infections from becoming a problem.
However, Candida is an opportunistic organism and will grow wherever it can get away with. If your body allows the Candida to infect your blood, a simple yeast infection suddenly turns into a life-threatening problem.
Treat all yeast infections promptly and properly.
If they keep happening, put in the investigative time to find out why and correct it.
Myth Number 8: Yeast infections are easy to self-diagnose.
If you've never had a yeast infection before, they're not as easy to recognize as you might think.
Many women mistake bacterial vaginosis for a yeast infection because the symptoms are so similar.
A skin yeast infection is easily mistaken for an allergic reaction of some kind.
If you've never had a yeast infection before and you think you may, go to a doctor to get it confirmed.
The doctor will take a swab of the infected area, put a drop of dye on it, and look through a microscope to find the distinctive branching pattern that invasive Candida produces.
Once you've had your first yeast infection and are quite familiar with your symptoms, then it's usually ok to self diagnose and self treat.
There are dozens of over the counter topical creams and suppositories suitable for use on skin or genitals.
The only yeast infection you'll still have to go to the doctor for is oral or nail yeast infections, because oral medication is required.
Oral antifungals can cause liver damage, so they're only available by prescription.
Myth Number 9: Thrush and yeast infections are two separate infections.
Nope, thrush is a yeast infection of the mouth.
They're called different things because once upon a time we didn't know what caused infections and named them by body part affected, but we know now that the same organism causes them.
Candida yeasts will grow on any mucous membrane that provides them with a space to grow, lack of competition, a neutral to slightly acidic environment and the sugars they feed on. Mouths, genitalia, and sometimes even skin can easily provide this.
Myth Number 10: Yeast infections don't affect the skin.
You've probably figured out that this is an error by now, but just to say it again, yeast infections can affect the skin easily.
The reason people still believe this one is because the symptoms are so different.
When a yeast infection affects one of the body's mucous membranes, there's generally a distinctive whitish plaque or discharge.
However, the skin doesn't produce nearly as much moisture as a mucous membrane, so the symptoms are quite different.
Hopefully this has shed some light on the most prevalent myths, where they come from and the truth behind them.
By getting involved with and taking responsibility for your own health care, you have a much better chance of living a long, healthy and happy life.
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