Yeast Infection Causes

What is a yeast infection?
A yeast infection happens when there is an overgrowth of a fungus called Candida Albicans. There are millions of micro organisms that live on and in our bodies, some are not good for us, some work for us and some are just harmless. Candida Albicans, when at low numbers are completely harmless. They are kept at low numbers by the good bacteria also living there, one of the micro organisms that work for us. But there are triggers or events that can lead to the destruction of those good bacteria at which point the fungus seizes the opportunity to multiply and grow, leading to a yeast infection. This article is going to look more closely at those triggers or root causes that lead to the overgrowth and a yeast infection.

1. Hormones
When hormones are fluctuating the natural balance of the body is affected which gives the fungus an opportunity to grow. This is a trigger women suffer with more than men as they have a lot of hormonal times! Pregnancy, menstruation, menopause are all times when more hormones are released into a woman’s body. Birth control pills can also go into this cause as they too change the natural levels of hormones in your body. If a woman is undergoing HRT this can be a yeast infection cause as it can lead to an imbalance in the body of the hormones progesterone and estrogen which has a negative impact on the levels of good bacteria in the body.

2. Prolonged antibiotic or steroid use
Antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria. When you are ill it may be due to some ‘bad’ bacteria in which case you can go on antibiotics to kill them. But the problem is antibiotics cannot tell the difference between the good bacteria in your body and the bad ones, so they kill them all. As soon as those good bacteria or lactobacilli levels go down the fungus can overgrow.

3. A weak immune system
If your immune system has been compromised already and is weak from cancer treatment or an existing illness like AIDS then this puts you more at risk as your body is unable to maintain control and fight off the infection.

4. Stress
Stress can cause all sorts of physical ailments such as skin problems, digestive problems, memory loss and allergies. The body has a physical reaction to stress as it releases a chemical called cortisol. This chemical acts to break down tissues in order that proteins, sugars and nutrients are released to muscles and organs so they are properly fed when stressed. Cortisol unfortunately has a tendency to kill some of the good bacteria. To keep some balance the body then also releases Dhea and all of this can weaken the immune system and means there is more sugar in your system. This means the natural balance is upset and can create an opportunity for the fungus to multiply as it feeds on sugar.

5. Diabetes
If you are a diabetic but do not look after yourself properly and do not have control over your blood sugar levels then you will be more likely to get a yeast infection. Uncontrolled diabetes is a yeast infection cause because it means high blood sugar levels and the yeast loves sugar! Quite often diabetics suffer from recurring or chronic yeast infections for this very reason. Sometimes a person discovers they are diabetic because they have recurring infections which a doctor identifies the cause being the uncontrolled sugar levels.

6. Sexual intercourse
If the woman’s vagina is too dry during sex and there is some damage caused to the vaginal membranes this can leave the area more open to a yeast infection. Also yeast infections can be passed on during unprotected sex and so if your partner has it you may get it. Unprotected sex with a female partner who has a vaginal yeast infection is one of the main causes of male penile yeast infections.

7. Diet
A poor diet high in junk, refined and processed foods can put you more at risk. AS part of the treatment or as a preventative measure make changes to your diet. For example cut out white flour, white rice and so on, cut out sugars and yeasty foods. Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables especially leafy greens, and drink plenty of water. Getting lots of minerals and vitamins will keep your immune system healthy and strong.

8. Hygiene
Having excellent hygiene is important but there are some things that can trigger an infection. Douching is not something a woman should do anymore, it upsets the natural balance of the vagina. Scented products such as tampons and pads and sprays should not be used on the vagina either and use gentle non scented soaps. Make sure to dry properly too. If you leave the area wet or damp it is creating the perfect environment for the yeast to grow in.

9. Tight clothing and synthetic materials
Tight clothing is a yeast infection cause because it can make you over sweat and with no air able to get there it keeps the are warm and moist, perfect for an infection to breed. Synthetic materials tend to not allow the skin to breathe, cotton or other natural fibres are much better.

10. Other birth control methods
If you are using a device that can cause inflammation or irritation when you insert it this can lead to a yeast infection. Also some condoms have a lubricant or spermicide that is a yeast infection cause so choose carefully.

It is important that when you are diagnosed with a yeast infection even as you start treatment, whether medicated or natural, that you identify the yeast infection cause. Though some of these causes are hard to prevent, there are some things you can do in all situations to minimize the risk.

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