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Yeast Infection

General Information

Candida Yeast Infection organism

Yeast infections are also called Candidiasis and are generally caused by a fungus called Candida albicans.

There is no direct evidence that yeast infections are passed through sexual intercourse. However, almost half of all healthy, sexually active women and one-third of all pregnant women tested had Candida albicans present. This indicates that sexual activity may contribute to the growth of Candida albicans.

Certain types of yeast may be present in harmless amounts in the:

  • bowels
  • digestive tract
  • mouth
  • skin
  • vagina

Under certain conditions, an overgrowth of yeast can occur. Yeast infections or fungal growths usually develop in a moist environment, such as:

  • finger and toe nails
  • folds of skin
  • genitals
  • webs of fingers and toes

Symptoms

Candida albicans In Women:

Symptoms may vary from very mild to severe and include:

  • burning of the vagina
  • burning when urinating
  • discomfort during or after sexual intercourse
  • odor (not unpleasant)
  • irritation of the vagina
  • itching and burning of the female genitals (vulva)
  • itching of the vagina
  • painful urination
  • painful intercourse
  • vulva redness and swelling

Vaginal discharge is not always present and may be minimal, but when present may be:

  • cottage-cheese-like in nature
  • a thick, whitish-gray discharge
  • watery to thick in consistency

Women who have chronic or recurring yeast infections may need to be treated with vaginal creams for extended periods of time

In Men

Men may not experience any symptoms of the infection. If symptoms are present they may include:

  • burning sensation during intercourse
  • burning sensation of the penis
  • symptoms after intercourse if condoms not used
  • transient rash

Other Types of Yeast or Fungal Infections

Balanitis

Balanitis is an irritating infection of the penis. Balanitis symptoms include:

  • red patches and blisters at the end of the penis and around the foreskin
  • severe itching and pain

Moniliasis

Moniliasis is a painful vaginal yeast infection which may occur during:

  • antibiotic treatment
  • pregnancy

Symptoms of Moniliasis:

  • excessive thick, white discharge
  • pain during intercourse
  • redness and swelling of the vulva
  • vaginal itching and irritation

Intertrigo

Intertrigo is a skin irritation caused by friction between moist adjacent surfaces, and often accompanied by bacterial or fungal infection.

Symptoms of Intertrigo:

Skin Symptoms

  • burning
  • cracking
  • itching
  • moistness
  • painful, red inflamed skin containing pus
  • peeling on the hands, particularly between the fingers and swollen nail folds above the cuticle
  • shiny, pink rash with a scaly or blistered edge in the folds of the skin

Oral Thrush

Oral Thrush is a painless infection of the mouth and throat which can often recur. It can affect all ages but is most common in:

  • babies
  • the elderly
  • young children

Symptoms of Oral Thrush:

  • painless white patches in the mouth or throat

Systemic yeast Infections

Systemic yeast infections can occur in persons with:

  • AIDS
  • ailments or drug treatments that suppress the immune system
  • diabetes

Esophageal Thrush (a complication of AIDS)

  • painful swallowing
  • white patches in the mouth and throat

Transmission

The source of chronic candida yeast overgrowth is usually the gastrointestinal tract.

The vagina or urethra can pick up the infection through sexual contact, although sexual contact with an infected partner does not usually spread the fungus.

Yeast overgrowth usually occurs as the result of:

In women

  • fatigue
  • high stress
  • hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle
  • increased warmth and moisture in the vaginal area
  • menopause
  • not drying the outer vaginal area thoroughly after bathing
  • oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
  • perfumed feminine hygiene sprays
  • poor diet
  • poorly ventilated clothing and underwear
  • poor personal hygiene
  • pregnancy
  • some pharmaceutical prescriptions
  • tight-fitting clothing or pantyhose
  • use of antibiotics, in particular, ‘broad spectrum’ antibiotics
  • vaginal intercourse with inadequate lubrication
  • wearing a damp bathing suit or pantyhose for an extended time

Other Factors

  • douches wash away healthy secretions and normal bacteria and dry the surface of the vagina
  • steroid medicines, such as Prednisone
  • sweating
  • topical anti-microbial agents
  • uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, which raises blood sugar levels making a good environment for yeast to grow

Candida may be transmitted between people by sexual contact.

In Men

Men also get yeast infections caused by:

  • condoms with nonoxynol-9 added to the lubricant which may contribute to anal yeast infection
  • direct contact
  • unprotected sex

and can also be caused from:

  • diabetes (men with diabetes are more susceptible to yeast infections due to elevated sugar in the urine)
  • prolonged antibiotic use

Help Factors

  • Abstain from vaginal intercourse until you are infection-free.
  • Keep sex devices clean.
  • Wash your hands or change your gloves in between touching sexual organs.

Diagnosis

Method of Diagnosing Yeast Infections:

Laboratory Tests

To correctly diagnose a yeast infection a culture is needed. An examination of vaginal secretions is looked at under a microscope for evidence of:

  • common skin changes of the vulva and vagina
  • yeast forms

Research

A rapid simple test for yeast infection is being developed

Conditions Commonly Confused as Yeast Infection

Treatment

Various anti-fungal vaginal medications are available to treat yeast infection in the form of:

  • anti-fungal creams
  • anti-fungal suppositories
  • anti-fungal tablets

These include:

  • Butoconazole
  • Clotrimazole (Mycelex-7)
  • Diflucan
  • Femmesil™ Cream (Fast-Acting Treatment for Yeast Infection)
  • Gyne-Lotrimi
  • Miconazole
  • Monista
  • Nizoral
  • Nystatint
  • Pau D’arco
  • Sporanox
  • Terazol
  • Tioconazole
  • Vagistat
  • Vitaklenz

Do not use any products without seeing a doctor or health professional if you:

  • are a female under the age of 12
  • are not sure that your problem is a yeast infection
  • are nursing a baby
  • are pregnant
  • are sensitive/allergic to any of the ingredients in Mycelex-7 or to any other Mycelex product
  • have never had a yeast infection before

Caution

Mycelex-7:

  • and all other medications should be kept away from children.
  • Is for vaginal use and not for use in the eyes or mouth.

Note

  • If your symptoms persist after 7 days or return within 2 months see your doctor or health practitioner.
  • Products containing antihistamines or topical anaesthetics mask the symptoms and do not treat the underlying problem.
  • Rarely is a yeast infection confined to the vagina, so just treating the vaginal yeast infection often does not prevent recurrent infections.

See your doctor or health professional immediately if any of the following symptoms occur:

  • back pain
  • fever
  • foul-smelling discharge
  • lower abdomen pain
  • shoulder pain

Natural Treatment

Dietary changes are essential in the treatment of yeast infection.

Dietary Recommendations for Acute Candida

Diet is a very important contributing factor in chronic Candida infections. It is very important to treat the digestive tract as this area can re-infect the vagina if left untreated.

Whole Foods Diet

Include:

  • fresh vegetables and fruits
  • fish and poultry
  • flaxseed (Linseed)
  • whole grains
  • organically raised foods where possible.
  • other essential fatty acids, such as olive oil and nuts
  • plenty of fresh water
  • 1 tablespoon Psyllium seed husk fiber and/or 6 to 8 tablespoons flax seed meal and/or ¼ cup Oat bran daily
  • Pau D’arco
  • Vitaklenz

Avoid:

  • alcohol
  • animal fats
  • caffeine
  • dairy products
  • fast foods
  • hydrogenated oils and margarine
  • processed foods
  • junk foods
  • sugar
  • white flour products

Suppository Treatment

Boric acid suppositories:

  • 600mg Boric Acid suppositories inserted vaginally every night before bed for 3-5 nights.

External Treatment

  • Warm sitz baths infused with several drops Tea Tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia).

Vaginal douching with tea infusion of one or both of the following dried herbs:

  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
  • Oregon Grape Root (Mahonia aqjuifolium)

Other Natural Treatments

Boric Acid/Borax

Boric Acid/Borax kills severe or persistent yeast infections.

Method

  • Fill 00 capsules with Boric Acid to use as vaginal suppositories.
  • Insert 2 capsules filled with Boric Acid into the vagina every night for a week.

Caution

Boric Acid may cause:

  • large amounts of vaginal discharge,
  • superficial burning and discomfort for the first few days.

Note

  • Discontinue use if the burning is severe.

Cranberries

Cranberries are often used in treating urinary tract infections.

  • They are a rich source of Vitamin C.
  • They contain substances that inhibit microbes from clinging to the walls of the urinary tract.
  • They lower the pH of urine which helps to combat yeast infections

Garlic

Garlic contains natural anti-fungal substances that kill off yeast.

Method

  • Wrap an unpeeled clove of garlic in gauze or cheesecloth. Tie the ends with unwaxed dental floss, leaving a length of string to use to pull it out afterwards.
  • Leave it in for several hours at a time.
  • Use nightly until symptoms cease.

Note

  • Care should be taken not to cut the clove of garlic as the juice may sting and cause irritation.
  • Garlic capsules may be used instead.

Caution

  • This may not work on stubborn infections.
  • Occasionally people are allergic to garlic.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide is produced naturally by bacteria in your vagina and kills the yeast.

If you wish to increase Hydrogen Peroxide:

Method

  • Mix 1 teaspoon of ordinary 3% hydrogen peroxide from your market or pharmacy with 1 cup of water. Use as a douche once a day until symptoms cease.

Pau D’arco

Pau D’Arco is a rainforest remedy made from the inner bark of a South American tree. Indigenous South American tribes have traditionally drunk tea made from the shredded inner bark to boost their immunity. In 1882, one of Pau D’Arco’s constituents was isolated and identified as lapachol, an antimicrobial and potentially tumour-fighting chemical. Besides lapachol, Pau D’Arco contains at least 20 other active ingredients. Modern scientific evidence shows that extracts of Pau D’Arco can protect against a wide range of bacterial and fungal organisms, including Candida albicans. The herb is also useful for treating athlete’s foot and fungal nail infections. Pau D’Arco is not recommended during pregnancy.

Method

  • For adults: take two capsules with a meal three times daily.
  • Five capsules are equivalent to two cups of Taheebo tea.
  • For children age 6-12 years: take one capsule with a meal twice daily.

Caution

  • Always read the label and follow the directions.
  • If symptoms persist, consult your health care practitioner.

More information on Pau D’arco.

Potassium Sorbate

Potassium sorbate is a potent fungicide. It is used in preserving foods and brewing beer to stop the growth of the yeast at the correct time.

Method

  • Make a 3% solution by adding 8 gm (about 1 tablespoon) potassium sorbate to a cup of water.
  • Dip a cotton tampon in the solution, inserting it at bedtime and removing it in the morning.
  • Continue treatment for a few days until the symptoms cease.

To relieve vulva itching

Method

  • Make a paste of Slippery Elm powder and a little water and apply as needed.
  • Soak a cotton pad in Aloe vera juice and apply as needed.

Teatree Oil

Teatree Oil is widely used for yeast infections.

Method

  • Soak a tampon with a lubricant, such as KY jelly or Olive Oil, and add a few drops of pure Tea Tree Oil and insert.

Caution

  • Teatree oil can sting if it comes in contact with the vulva.

Vitaklenz

The double action of the powerful Vitaklenz formula assists in the elimination of parasites as well as Candida and Yeast infestations.

Vitaklenz is the result of thousands of years of accumulated knowledge from traditional medicines around the world that have successfully treated parasites and yeast infestations in humans.

The 12 active herbal ingredients in Vitaklenz are well known for their anti-parasitic, anti-candida and cleansing effects on the human system.

Yoghurt

Yoghurt contains Lactobacillus acidophilus, a bacterium found in healthy vaginas, which kills yeast by producing hydrogen peroxide.

Method

  • Apply directly to the vulva and into the vagina 1-2 times a day until after symptoms clear up.

Prevention

Yeast Infection Prevention

Physical Hygiene

  • Abstain from sexual activity during treatment.
  • Always wipe from front to back after bowel movements.
  • Change underwear and workout clothes immediately after exercising.
  • Change tampons and sanitary pads often.
  • Dry the vaginal area thoroughly after showers or baths.
  • Get plenty of rest to help the body fight infections.
  • Practice good hygiene by regularly washing the inside folds of the vulva where germs breed.
  • Shower after swimming in a pool to remove the chlorine from your skin.
  • Use unscented tampons or sanitary pads.
  • Wear all-cotton underpants and pantyhose with cotton crotches.

Dietary

  • Eat well, including food products, such as yoghurt containing live cultures of lactobacillus acidophilus.
  • Limit your intake of sugar and foods containing sugar as it promotes the growth of yeast.
  • Try to keep blood sugars under control if you have diabetes.

Risk Factors

Avoid using:

  • bath oils
  • bubble baths
  • deodorant soaps
  • feminine hygiene sprays
  • perfumed soaps

The growth of yeast colonies increases if using broad-spectrum antibiotics, such as:

  • Amoxicillin
  • Ampicillin
  • Bactrim
  • Ceclor
  • Keflex
  • Septra

The following may be made less effective if they come in contact with Mycelex-7

  • condoms
  • diaphragms
  • vaginal spermicides

Prognosis

When one partner is severely infected and continuous re-infections occur, the problem can become troublesome and chronic.

If a fungal infection has taken hold in the body, it can become a recurrent problem that is more difficult to treat with conventional anti-fungal agents. This can turn a simple infection into a chronic, tenacious condition that can seriously affect your immune system and overall health.

Other Factors

  • Repeated use of over-the-counter and prescription medications can create imbalances in the healthy vagina allowing for resistant strains of Candida fungus or bacteria to take hold.

Recurring vaginal yeast infections may indicate a serious or underlying medical problem including:

  • Diabetes
  • HIV
  • Immune system disorders

Note

See your doctor or health professional immediately if vaginal yeast infections:

  • do not clear up easily with proper treatment
  • recur (recurrence within a 2 month period)

or the following symptoms are experienced:

  • abnormal genital irritation
  • discharge
  • pain
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