Causes of Yeast Infection
A yeast infection is one of the most common genital infections occurring in an estimated 75% of women. The condition can occur at any age, and 40-45% of those who develop it once are likely to develop it multiple times later on in life.
Characterized by itching of the vaginal area, yeast infections can also manifest as redness, swelling, and even tearing, blistering, and bleeding in advanced cases.
Understanding how yeast infections happen in the first place can provide insight on
(1) treating an existing case, or (2) preventing a yeast infection from happening all together.
Because the different factors that can cause yeast infections are fairly common, it’s imperative that women maintain awareness in order to avoid developing the condition.
How Does a Yeast Infection Happen?
First off, it’s imperative to understand how the infection occurs in the first place. The basics of yeast infection pathogenesis will tell you that the agent that causes the condition in the first place is already present in the human body.
Candida albicans is a pathogenic yeast that’s present in the gut as a member of the intestinal flora.
In healthy adult humans, candida albicans will not proliferate on areas outside of the human body. However, because it is an opportunistic fungal microorganism, it will thrive and flourish whenever possible.
Fortunately, another microorganism called lactobacillus ensures that candida albicans does not proliferate beyond what the body can handle.
In some instances however, when the numbers of lactobacillus are reduced, candida albicans may proliferate, and thus seep out into areas of the body where it can survive.
In this case, the vagina proves to be an ideal environment because it has everything the fungi needs in order to survive.
While yeast infections can happen in men, their unique anatomy makes it difficult for the fungi to thrive outside the body.
For that reason, women are the most likely target for this type of condition.
What Causes Yeast Infections?
Given the general outline of how these infections occur, we can assume that yeast infections are caused by any conditions that reduce the number of lactobacillus or increase the amount of yeast in the body.
These may include:
• The use of antibiotics which kill off bacteria: Being that lactobacillus is a bacterial organism, colonies can be reduced by the intake of certain antibiotic medications.
• Conditions that change the natural balance of these key elements, such as hormonal imbalances and pregnancy.
• Poorly managed diabetes: A spike in sugar encourages yeast to grow, allowing it to thrive in areas like the vagina.
• HIV: Because our bodies also rely on certain immune defenses to keep candida albicans in check, diseases that suppress the immune response can cause it to flourish.
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Is Yeast Infection Contagious?
Technically speaking, yeast infections can be contagious. But because of the unique and often uncommon conditions they require in order to be passed on through human contact, it’s rare that a person might develop a yeast infection by coming into contact with someone who already has it.
Even in cases of maximal contact – such as sexual intercourse – it’s unlikely for a man to become infected even if the woman has a full blow infection. That’s because candida albicans requires particularly damp and moist environments in order to survive, which a man’s genital region may not fulfill. In rare instances when a man might become infected, it’s likely because he was immunocompromised.
What are the Symptoms of Yeast Infections?
Manifestations of yeast infections can differ between men and women, and the extent of the infection may also play a role in the condition’s presentation.
For women, these are some of the most common identifying symptoms:
• Itching and irritation
• Burning sensation during urination and sexual intercourse
• Pain and soreness
In more advanced cases, otherwise called complicated infections, individuals may also observe the following symptoms:
• Tearing of the skin
In men, yeast infections may look like whitish bumps or spots on the penis. Redness, dryness, and peeling of the skin may also be observed. Similarly, men may also experience itching, burning, and irritation.
Learn More About Yeast Infection
Conditions concerning the genital region can be a touchy subject. Most individuals would choose to treat the condition themselves out of apprehension of having their private area examined and observed. In cases of a suspected yeast infection, it’s vital to seek medical care and attention to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.
Fortunately, services like Plushcare can provide efficient and effective medical advice with trusted medical professionals through online consultations.
Book an online consultation with a medical doctor at Plushcare today to find out more about your case, and receive prompt, reliable, and appropriate medical advice to help you restore comfort and achieve relief.