Yeast Infection Types & Treatments
Yeast infection takes place when the yeast that naturally live in your vagina multiply and become out of control. Yeast infection result in itchiness, redness, and burning sensation that can feel really uncomfortable. Apart from these symptoms, cottage-cheese like, odorless discharge also appears. Yeast infection occurs when the balance of good bacteria is compromised due to uncontrolled diabetes, use of antibiotics or corticosteroids, or because of higher-than-normal estrogen levels.
Types of Yeast Infections
Yeast infections or Candidiasis are a result of overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans. Normally found on some areas of the human body, the number of Candida albicans is kept in check by the immune system. However, there are times when the body’s ability to ward off or control harmful organisms is weak, and that is a perfect time for Candida to attack the system.
There are several types of candida infections, and each has its own level of severity. While some are mild and totally ignorable, some candida growths are very severe and can be life-threatening, too. Here are the general types of Candida infections:
- Oral Yeast – this type of yeast infection is also called oral thrush. This is caused by the invasion of Candida albicans on the mouth and throat area. The infection looks like white patches that spread on the tongue, the inside of the cheeks, gums, the roof of the mouth, and lips. If the case is severe, a more painful set of patches similar to mouth ulcers appear. Oral yeast infection could spread down the esophagus, resulting in esophageal thrush.
- Skin Yeast – this type of yeast infection occurs when a sudden increase of Candida albicans happens on a specific area of the skin. Since yeast loves moist areas, skin yeast infection commonly takes place in the groin and underarms, inner thighs, buttocks, and areas under the breasts. Open wounds are also susceptible to yeast infection. Obese people are more susceptible to skin yeasts because they generally have more skin folds, which are prone to moisture buildup.
- Vaginal Yeast – one of the most common types of yeast infection in women is the vaginal candidiasis. This is caused by yeast overgrowth in the genital area, resulting to pain, itching and cottage cheese-like discharge. This condition is caused by hormonal changes, weakened immune system, diabetes, pregnancy, and intake of birth control pills and antibiotics. It is also caused by a sudden change on the area’s pH balance, or when the balance of Candida albicans and lactobacilli is disturbed.
- Systemic Candidiasis – this happens when the yeast infection enters the bloodstream. This condition is mostly observed in HIV/AIDS and cancer patients. If left untreated, systemic candidiasis may cause death.
Although yeast infections, save for the systemic candidiasis, are all easy to treat, a specific cure is yet to be established. It is said that prevention is better than cure; and it is true when it comes to Candidiasis. Prevention is still the most ideal way to beat the condition. Arm yourself with a strong immune system by eating right, drinking plenty of water and eliminating stress, and you will surely become yeast-free for life.
Yeast Infection Treatments
Oral Antifungals. Those who have chronic yeast infections are usually prescribed with oral antifungals like fluconazole.
Probiotics. Although eating yogurt is not yet proven to effectively treat vaginal yeast, inserting probiotic tablets into the vagina helps. Typically, gynecologists prescribe using probiotic tablets intravaginally for 7 nights and boosting the effect by doing it every 3 nights for 3 weeks.
Tea tree oil. Tea tree essential oil has proven antifungal properties but is yet to be proven as treatment for vaginal yeast. However, many women swore about using a tampon soaked in tea tree oil as relief from yeast infection. Just be cautious; some women are sensitive to tea tree oil and if you feel uncomfortable while doing this remedy, discontinue using it at once.
Progestin-only contraceptives. Contraceptives that are estrogen-based may cause a spike in yeast levels. Non-estrogen pills, IUDs, and other birth control methods may be used in replacement for estrogen-based pills. Also, it is advisable to use a water-based lubricant because friction upsets the vaginal wall, which may result in yeast infection.
Apart from these treatments and remedies, your doctor may also prescribe vaginal creams and stronger vaginal suppositories, especially in more sever cases. Moreover, keep your vaginal area dry and wear clean cotton panties; or do not wear any underwear at all if possible. Avoid wearing tight jeans and change into dry clothes after swimming or hitting the gym.