Unless you live in a cave or without human interaction, you are probably familiar with the term, ‘yeast infection’. But do you know exactly what a yeast infection is? The actual medical term for a yeast infection, which is also known as thrush, is Candidiasis. Candidiasis is a fungal infection having to do with any of the Candida variety, which is basically any of the yeast-like imperfect fungi of the genus Candida. While every living person has some type of yeast organisms living in them, the yeast doesn’t normally overgrow due to microorganisms that occur naturally in the body.
In people who are able to develop an immune response following exposure to an antigen, Candidiasis can most often be found only in unprotected and moist areas of the body. These places can include the mouth, the vagina and around the folds of skin in a child who wears a diaper (also known as diaper rash.) Candidiasis is most frequently seen in the vagina as vaginal irritation or vaginitis.
Experiencing a vaginal yeast infection is not enjoyable in any way and, unfortunately, at least three quarters of all females will live through a yeast infection at some time during their lives. Almost all females have the Candida Albicans in their vaginas and they don’t normally cause any problems. When the balance in the vagina is not as balanced as it should be with the normal organisms, an individual can experience an overgrowth and it will result in the symptoms of a yeast infection.
The most frequently experienced symptoms of a yeast infection include extreme or mild itching of the vagina (may include the vulva), a discharge that is white or white-gray in color and a smell that is similar to active yeast as in baking bread or beer. A number of factors can increase the risk of developing a yeast infection including pregnancy, douches, certain antibiotics and diabetes mellitus.
The first time a woman suspects that she has a yeast infection should visit her doctor for an accurate diagnosis. A simple swab or scrape from the affected region with a solution of KOH is viewed on a slide under a microscope. Once a diagnosis of a yeast infection has been made, a doctor will most likely recommend a preferred treatment but there are many options available. Your doctor may write a prescription for a pill or you can simply go to the drug store and take advantage of one of the many over-the-counter remedies that are available.