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Yeast infections - types, causes, prevention, traditional remedies

What is a yeast infection?

Yeast infection or fungal infection is also known as candidiasis. Yeast infections generally develop in moist environments such as the webs of fingers and toes, nails, genitals, and folds of skin.

What are the different types of yeast infections?

  • Oral thrush - This is a painless infection of the mouth and throat. It is often recurring and generally affects babies, young children and the elderly. However it can affect people of all ages.
  • Moniliasis is a painful vaginal yeast infection experienced by many women. This is especially common during pregnancy or during treatment with antibiotics.
  • Balanitis is a yeast infection of the penis
  • Systemic yeast infections can occur in cases of diabetes, AIDS or other illnesses that suppress the immune system.

    Some medical practitioners also recognize a condition called Chronic yeast infection or chronic candidiasis. This may affect the ganstrointestinal, nervous, endocrine and immune systems. Treatment is focussed on removing pre-disposing factors such as medications, foods with high sugar or yeast content, high carbohydrate vegetables and dairy products.

    What causes yeast infections?

    Candida albicans is a fungal organism that thrives in the mouth, gastrointestinal tract and skin. We have healthy bacteria that counteract this yeast. However when our immune system gets compromised by illness, stress or antibiotics.

    Yeast infections are common among people whose hands are often in water, children who suck their fingers, people whose clothing retains body moisture. Diaper rash known as candidal dermatitis is due to yeast growth in the folds of a baby's skin.

    Diabetics are particularly susceptible to yeast infections because of the high levels of sugar in their blood and urine and low resistance to infections.

  • What are the symptoms of yeast infections?

  • Oral thrush shows symptoms such as painless white patches in the mouth or throat that may come off when you eat or brush your teeth
  • Esophageal thrush is indicated by white patches in the mouth and throat sometimes with painful swallowing
  • Skin peeling on the hands between the fingers and swollen nail folds above the cuticle. These can be painful, red and contain pus
  • Intertrigo is a shiny pink rash which itches and burns and has a scaly edge in the folds of the skin
  • Moniliasis or vaginal yeast infection shows symptoms of vaginal itching, irritation, a red and swollen vulva, unusually thick white discharge and pain during intercourse
  • Balanitis occurs as red patches and blisters at the end of the penis and around the foreskin sometimes accompanied by severe itching and pain

    How are yeast infections diagnosed and treated?

    For oral thrush, the doctor will examine the white patches and may take a sample for testing. For vaginal yeast infections, pelvic exams and a vaginal wet smear may be done. If a systemic yeast infection is suspected, a blood, stool or tissue sample will be tested for fungus.

    Oral thrush is conventionally treated with an antifungal medication such as clotrimazole or ketoconazole. Babies with oral thrush are given nystatin with a dropper. Skin and nail infections are treated with clotrimazole. For vaginal yeast infections, an intravaginal cream containing miconazole or clotrimazole may be prescribed. If you are diagnosed with a systemic yeast infection then you may be given intravenous doses of amphotericin or flucytosine.

    Lichen sclerosis or cancer of the vulva is indicated if the skin of the vulva has grown thick and developed white patches, An abnormal discharge, bleeding and/or firm lesion on any part of the vagina may indicate vaginal cancer. In such cases you should immediately see a doctor.

    How can yeast infections be prevented and what are some traditional remedies?

    • Turmeric or neem paste applied to skin infections can clear them up. Paste is made by mixing a little water with turmeric or neem powder obtained loose or from capsules.
    • Garlic paste can also be applied directly to the skin infection
    • Yogurt that is plain and non-sweetened may also be effective in fungal infections.
    • Tea Tree Oil may be used on athlete's foot, ringworm and yeast infection. Tea tree oil should be diluted with water before application, as pure tea tree oil can cause skin irritation.
      Read more: Homeopathic Remedies for Fungal Infections | eHow.com https://www.ehow.com/facts_5016643_homeopathic-remedies-fungal-infections.html#ixzz118ONk3Bq
    • For vaginal yeast infections a garlic clove can be inserted and then removed after a few hours. Yogurt can also be directly applied in the vagina. Sometimes however yogurt can cause further problems as this contains live bacteria.
    • Consume turmeric, garlic and yogurt
    • Cut down on sugary foods
    • Do not use soaps or lotions that contain perfumes and can irritate the skin.
    • Wear rubber gloves if you have to perform tasks that keep your hands in water
    • Wear cotton or silk underclothes
    • Sit in a warm bath in which salt has been added.
    • For rashes in children over 2 years old, a salve containing calendula will be soothing
    • You can try herbal blends that applied topically can provide soothing relief. V-gel from Himalaya Herbals contains 9 herbs that are combined in an ayurvedic formula that helps to soothe itchiness, restores pH balance, stops and prevents infection and relieves dryness.
    You may also be interested in the following articles:

  • Vaginal infection - causes, symptoms, remedies

  • More information on V-gel, V-gel action, herbs in V-gel

  • Turmeric benefits in MRSA and boils

  • Neem health benefits, uses and research studies


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