What Is a Yeast Infection?

Women taking birth control pills are at a higher risk for developing yeast infections.
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  • Written By: C. Ausbrooks
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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A yeast infection, also known as candidiasis, is an infection caused by microscopic fungi or yeast, known as Candida. These fungi live on the entire surface of the human body, but in some cases become so numerous that they can cause an infection. The infection typically occurs in moist, warm areas of the body, including the mouth or genitals. The most common types of yeast infections are found in the vagina, mouth, and throat.

Vaginal yeast infections develop when the environment of the vagina changes in some way, and the yeast already present is multiplied enough to cause infection. Some of the most frequent causes of a vaginal yeast infection include using antibiotics or steroids, pregnancy, menstruation, and certain types of birth control. Wearing clothing that is too tight for long periods of time, or even an injury to the vagina may also cause a yeast infection in some women. Symptoms of vaginal yeast infection include burning, soreness, itching, pain during intercourse or urination, and thick, white, odorless vaginal discharge.

Yeast infections in the mouth and throat, also known as thrush, are most frequent amongst infants and the elderly. Thrush causes a buildup of thick, white plaque on the tongue, which sometimes resembles milk curds. In some cases, the tongue may appear red without the white patches. This type of yeast infection is painful, and causes difficultly eating and swallowing.

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In adults, yeast infections can also occur around dentures, under the breasts or in other folds of skin, and in the nailbeds. These infections are usually not serious, and can be cleared up easily with treatment. Treatment for a yeast infection will vary depending on the type and severity of the infection.

Vaginal yeast infections can be treated with over the counter medications found in drug stores and pharmacies. If the infection lasts for more than one week, or does not improve, it may be necessary to see a doctor for prescription medication. Thrush requires a trip to the doctor, and a prescription anti-fungal mouthwash. Adults with thrush also have the option of taking anti-fungal lozenges or pills to get rid of the infection. For yeast infections that affect the skin or nailbed, creams and lotions prescribed by a doctor are used.

If the proper treatment is administered, most yeast infections can be cleared without any further complications. Most vaginal, oral, and skin infections are resolved within two weeks. If the patient has a weakened immune system due to disease, the yeast infection may return again or become difficult to treat.

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anon31786
Post 2

I would recommend seeing a Gynecologist if you are concerned you might have some type of yeast infection. Urine tests are accurate for some things, but a Pap Smear may be required for more in depth analysis, particularly if it's related to your reproductive system.

As for your toenails, that wouldn't be related, but it sounds like a fungal infection. See a regular doctor or a podiatrist for more information on treatment options - and to get a definite diagnosis.

C.Ausbrooks

anon31730
Post 1

Does this sound like some form of fungal infection?

My toe nails are going an odd weird colour like a yellowish, they are all messed up or anything. I get discharge but so do most women, and I get discomfort in my lower abdomen a lot. I have had urine tests done before but nothing seems to come up. I've also always wondered if maybe I have a weak immune system or maybe diabetes? As a few people in my family have this disease.

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