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Yeast Infection

Yeast Infection, Sad Woman With Hand to Her FaceWhat is a Yeast Infection?

A yeast infection, also referred to as candidiasis or a thrush, is a common fungal infection caused by an overgrowth of the Candida (yeast) species in certain areas of the body such as the mouth, vagina, digestive tract, lungs, liver or skin. These types of infections typically occur when there is an alteration of bacteria which are responsible for controlling and limiting yeast production. This variation may be triggered by the use of oral contraceptives (due to an increase in estrogen levels), antibiotics, corticosteroids (steroids), and cancer treatments, specifically chemotherapy. Other causes of a yeast infection may include pregnancy, human immunodeficiency virus, hormonal therapies, or diabetes.

Vaginal yeast infections may produce the following symptoms:

  • itchiness, swelling or soreness of the vagina
  • pain or discomfort during intercourse or a burning sensation while urinating
  • abnormal discharge that may be white in color, the consistency of cottage cheese, and odorless

Signs of an oral or skin yeast infection include:

  • difficulty or painful swallowing
  • feeling as if food is lodged in your throat
  • fever (temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher)
  • the presence of whitish raised bumps or lesions in the mouth or esophagus
  • rash or redness in the folds of skin which produce blisters and a yellow or white discharge
  • changes in the appearance of skin (white discoloration and softening known as maceration)
Candida infections of the lungs may cause:
  • a fever or high body temperature
  • fast breathing, trouble breathing or hoarseness
  • chest pain
  • pneumonia

How is a Yeast Infection Treated?

Generally, the body will stabilize the yeast naturally. However, persons with a yeast infection should be sure to practice proper hygiene, particularly cleaning and washing the mouth and vagina effectively. Yeast infections may be treated through over-the-counter products such as suppositories, fungal creams to apply to the area, or antifungal medications. Persistent or recurring yeast infections should be examined by a healthcare professional to determine the cause and prevent further imbalances.