Common Yeast Infections: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Common Yeast Infections: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Common Yeast Infections: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Yeast infections (candidiasis) can appear in different areas of the body. In fact, yeasts live everywhere in the world, and yeast spores float in the air all around us. The scientific name for yeast is Candida albicans which is a fungus. While yeasts live naturally in the body, a candida infection occurs when the immune system cannot control their growth.

Common Yeast Infections

Mouth

Oral thrush is the name for yeast infections in the mouth. The white patches or lesions on the tongue and inside the cheeks easily identify thrush. Also, there is a feeling that the mouth is coated with something or feels cottony. Thrush can spread to other areas of the mouth including the back of the throat.

Thrush occurs in more common to babies and older adults because their immune system is either not fully developed or weaker. It can also happen in other people who take certain medicines or have compromised immune systems because of medical conditions, such as cancer or HIV/AIDS. Antibiotics and loose dentures can also cause oral thrush.

Preventing Thrush – Prevention of oral thrush begins with keeping the mouth clean by brushing the teeth and tongue at least twice a day. Also, reduce eating sugary foods because yeast feeds on sugar and minimize or avoid alcohol consumption.

Healing Thrush – While prescriptions are available for thrush, many people like to try natural methods. A Brazilian study showed that one of the benefits of cinnamon was that it could prevent thrush. Other natural suggestions for thrush that can also help prevent it include:

  • Unsweetened cranberry juice

  • Probiotic foods such as kefir, live-cultured yogurt, fermented vegetables, kimchi, etc.

  • Oil of oregano is a supplement that is known to have antifungal properties.

  • Raw garlic also has antifungal properties.

  • Milk thistle supports the liver that processes medications that can cause thrush.

  • Pau d'arco tea may help to kill candida overgrowth because of its antifungal properties.


Vaginal

Normally, the vagina has a healthy level of bacteria and yeasts. However, yeast infection occurs when Candida albicans grows because of certain conditions or medications. There is a range of symptoms depending on the severity of the infection and can vary from person to person. The main symptoms a yeast infection is itching and burning in the vulva and vagina. Urinating and intercourse can make the symptoms feel worse. Other symptoms include irritation, rash, and a white or watery vaginal discharge.

Yeast or candida overgrowth can be caused by:

  • Antibiotics

  • Pregnancy

  • Stress and lack of sleep

  • Poor diet, especially one that consists of lots of food with sugar

  • Hormone therapy or oral contraceptives

  • Hormonal imbalances such as times near menstrual cycles

  • Impaired immune system


Healing Vaginal Yeast Infections – Vaginal yeast infections are easily treated, but untreated candida infections can worsen symptoms. The typical go to treatment for yeast infections is over-the-counter medicines. One of the most common natural remedies is live-cultured plain yogurt taken orally and inserted into the vagina. Boric acid suppositories are also considered an effective treatment, but not for children or pregnant women.

Preventing Vaginal Yeast Infections – While they're not always preventable, some steps can be taken to avoid them:

  • Switch to cotton or breathable underwear, especially if you have recurring yeast infections.

  • Changing the type of birth control pill may also help prevent infections.

  • Do not use scented feminine products like sprays, bubble baths products, and tampons.

  • Reduce or avoid bathing in hot baths or using hot tubs.

  • Do not use douches.

  • Eat a balanced diet that includes probiotics such as live-cultured yogurt. Probiotics also come in supplements.


Yeast infections are common medical conditions albeit they are very uncomfortable. However, medications and other remedies usually improve symptoms very quickly. Always, seek the advice of your healthcare practitioner to confirm a diagnosis.

References

Ruggeri, Christine, CHHC. 18+ Natural Ways to Heal Oral Thrush (December 5, 2015). Retrieved from https://draxe.com/oral-thrush/.

Johnson, Shannon. Medically reviewed by Ernst, Holly, PA-C. Vaginal Yeast Infection (May 9, 2018). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/vaginal-yeast-infection#prevention.

Levy, Jillian, CHHC. How to Get Rid of a Vaginal Yeast Infection for Good (February 19, 2018). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/oral-thrush/symptoms-causes/syc-20353533

Miller, Korin. The Only Yeast Infection Treatments Worth Trying–and the Ones to Avoid (October 4, 2018). Retrieved from https://www.prevention.com/health/a20510840/yeast-infection-treatments

Oral Thrush. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/oral-thrush/symptoms-causes/syc-20353533

Yeast infection (vaginal). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/yeast-infection/symptoms-causes/syc-20378999

Yeast Infections. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/yeastinfections.html.

 

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