There are two main types of yeast infection, an internal yeast infection which affects mainly the intestines but can become systemic and the mouth and throat and an external yeast infection, which means any form of the infection outside of the body. Genital yeast infection, and skin yeast infections for example. The reason they are categorized is for treatment. An external yeast infection is treated with creams usually, and an internal with pills.
A yeast infection is caused by the fungus called Candida Albicans. Candida Albicans live in places on your body that are warm and moist but are kept at safe small numbers by good bacteria. When the good bacteria are killed or if a person’s immune system is weak an imbalance occurs and the fungus overgrows. That is when a yeast infection happens.
The most common cause of an external yeast infection is the prolonged use of antibiotics. Antibiotics kill all bacteria good and bad. Over use of antibiotics is becoming such a problem in the western world that there are now concerns over infections becoming resistant to them. Other causes include hormonal changes such as in pregnancy and menstruation, poor diet and use of skin products that contain chemicals. Symptoms are redness, itching, rashes, soreness, white, yellowy or greenish patches, burning and pain.
Preventing an external yeast infection
- Avoid tight clothing – it makes you sweaty creating an ideal breeding ground.
- Wear breathable materials like cotton.
- Wash with a gentle soap and make sure you dry off properly particularly in areas that are prone to yeast infections such as under folds of skin and the genitals.
- Eat a healthy diet rich in green leafy vegetables.
- Sleep well.
- Manage stress.
- Change out of wet clothing as soon as possible.
Diagnosing an external yeast infection
A doctor will do a physical exam and observe your symptoms when you visit and may take a scraping or swab to examine it under a microscope.
Treating an external yeast infection
There are over the counter creams and ointments to choose from that are effective at dealing with the symptoms for some people. There are also natural remedies that should be considered that are simple and effective to use such as plain live yogurt, raw garlic, apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil. The key is along with whichever treatment you choose for your external yeast infection, you also need to identify what caused it and deal with that problem. For example if you have a poor diet, even if you treat your infection with a cream, you will get another infection because you didn’t change what caused it in the first place.