Yeast Infection Treatment Guide

Yeast infections vary by type but you'll find that they are fungal infections caused by the candida  species of fungus and are responsible for an assortment of infections that vary in severity, body location and the particular strain of candida. The most common yeast infection that most people are familiar with is the vaginal yeast infection commonly called vaginitis.

This infection is usually caused by the fungus candida albicans and is called thrush. Women are usually affected by this type of fungus more than men. Yeast is generally present on normal human skin and also in areas where there is moisture like the mouth and the vagina. In fact it is common knowledge that between 20% to 50% of women who are healthy carry yeast in the vaginal area. Some factors that contribute to yeast infections in women are pregnancy, the use of antibiotics, use of contraceptives and diabetes.

Candida and Antibiotics

Candida is normally present in our intestinal walls and other places in the body. They exist symbiotically with other flora that act as a counter balance to the yeast. However if you introduce an antibiotic into the system to treat a respiratory infection, that suppresses some of this counterbalancing flora (bacteria) and the candida begins to dominate and invade other tissue. Taking an antibiotic in treatment of yeast infection is even more counterproductive because this can lead to a suppressed immune system.

A suppressed immune systems will result in candida multiplying to an unhealthy level especially women taking cortisone related medications or undergoing chemotherapy. Most infections from candida are treatable and their symptoms are somewhat mild to uncomfortable which include redness, itching, discomfort, burning during urination, pain during intercourse and perhaps a mild form of diarrhea. Yeast infections are uncomfortable, irritating and at times embarrassing for women.

What Kind Of Yeast Infection is Candida?

Candida is really a type of mold beginning from the colon however it doesn't necessarily become a yeast infection till the Candida has grown to the point where it begins to invade other parts of the body. Candida like any other mold needs food and it feeds off of what you eat especially refined starches, alcohol and sugars.

Suppression of the immune system by antibiotics will aggravate this situation so its best to avoid antibiotics and keep away from refined sugars and starches. Candida typically starts as a fairly localized infection whether its part of the skin, in an oral cavity like the esophagus, the vagina or penis, the bladder and the gastrointestinal tract. Its best to get yeast infection treatment early while it is still localized otherwise it begins to spread and can develop into a systemic candida infections if it is allowed to get into the bloodstream. See picture below of Candida albicans chlamydospores

Candida albicans
Candida albicans

Over the Counter Yeast Infection Treatment

Some of the ways to get treatment for yeast infection of the vagina is to use an over the counter yeast infection treatment cream that one inserts into the vagina with an applicator.These are anti fungal creams that that work by killing the yeast infection in a topical way. Some of the common antifungal creams and yeast infection treatments found at drug stores include Monistat , Vagisil, Femstat and others. They are typically applied at bed time because they have a tendency to leak out if you use it during the day. When you're lying horizontally in bed it can stay put and do its work. There are also anti itch creams used for the opening of the vulva so that you don't scratch the area and disrupt the antifungal cream placed inside. Obviously sexual activity is a no no when using this type of treatment.

Diagnosing Yeast Infections

Treatment for yeast infections may not work on other conditions that often exhibit similar symptoms to candida like bacterial vaginosis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. In this case it is best to consult your doctor early in the process of finding the best yeast infection treatment so that he/she may conduct a proper diagnosis and rule out some of the other afflictions before deciding on a course of action. Diagnosis is usually made by scraping or swabbing the infected area and examining it under a microscope as it reacts to different chemicals. The other other method is to incubate the swabbed material in a culture medium and then examine the developed yeast or bacterial colony under a microscope for the tell tale signs that point to the identity of the culture.

Antifungal Creams

Anti fungal drugs may be prescribed at this point although most can be had over the counter. Clotrimazole, nystatin, and terconazole commonly known as Lotrimin,Mycostatin, and Terazol respectively. These are available as both topical creams an vaginal tablets. Fluconazole comes in oral tablet form known as Difulcan and is usually a bit more effective for vaginal yeast infection treatment than the topical creams and vaginal suppositories although headache, abdominal pain and nausea may be some of the side effects experienced from taking this oral medication.

A male yeast infection treatment follows a similar format in terms of topical treatments. Swelling and tenderness in the affected area accompanied by a cheesy smell are the usual symptoms. Since the candida strain responsible for the outbreak in women will be the same for men then a penile yeast infection treatment could be started with an over the counter yeast infection treatment for men like Monistat.

What is A Yeast Infection

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