What Is A Yeast Infection?
What Is A Yeast Infection?
We learned what yeast is. Now let's find out why it turns bad and causes these devastating yeast infections.
As we learned when discussing
the home remedy for nail fungus and the cold sore home remedy, the body normally hosts a variety of microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi. (Remember that yeast is a fungus). Some of these are useful to the body. Obviously, some are not!
The bad bacteria and yeast fungi are normally controlled by the good ones, or by other microorganisms. Alternatively, the bad fungi are kept in check because they usually don't have proper growing conditions. Trouble starts when something such as an illness, a change in environmental conditions, or some other cause upsets the delicate balance between good and bad fungi. Pregnancy, the use of oral contraceptives and some antibiotics, and diabetes mellitus can increase the risk of yeast infection.
Yeast infections occur when changes cause undesirable yeast fungi (or bacteria) to multiply rapidly. This rapid, uncontrolled growth of a yeast or bacterial colony on (or in) a person's body is called an infection. How rapidly can yeast fungus grow? If a number of yeast cells are left in a warm solution containing sugars, they will grow and multiply, and can double in population as fast as every 120 minutes.
How fast is doubling every 2 hours? If there was just one yeast cell in that warm sugar solution, in 24 hours there would be about 4,000 cells. In just 48 hours there could be as many as 17 million cells. If we assume that we already have a few million or even just a few thousand yeast cells on or in our bodies, you can see that the yeast infection will quickly grow out of control.
Yeast infections of the vagina are what most women think of when they hear the term "vaginitis." They are caused by one of the many species of fungus called Candida. Candida yeast normally lives in small numbers in the vagina as well as in the mouth and digestive tract of both men and women.
Vaginitis is a general term for an inflammation of the vagina. It is also called colpitis. The six most common types of vaginitis are:
- Candida or yeast vaginitis
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Trichomoniasis vaginitis
- Chlamydia vaginitis
- Viral vaginitis
- Noninfectious vaginitis
Yeast infections are also called Candida, Candidiasis, Candida albicans, C. albicans, vulvovaginal candidiasis, VVC, vaginitis, yeast infection - vagina, vaginal candidiasis, monilial vaginitis, thrush, crotch rot, and tinea versicolor.
are defined as an infection of the female genital tract by a yeast of the genus Candida (C. albicans) and characterized by vaginal discharge and vulvovaginitis; broadly : an infection (as thrush or tinea versicolor) caused by a yeast fungus.
Although each of these causes of vaginal yeast infection can have different symptoms, it is not always easy for a patient to figure out which type of vaginitis she has. Diagnosis can even be difficult for an experienced clinician. Part of the problem is that sometimes more than one type of vaginitis can be present at the same time. Often vaginitis is present without any symptoms at all.
Yeast infection symptoms - You wouldn't be here if you (or someone you care about) didn't have symptoms, right? Yeast infection symptoms include burning, itching, and an unusual, non-menstrual discharge. This discharge usually has a different color, texture, and odor than normal.
Yeast infections are often accompanied by a whitish or whitish-gray discharge, sometimes resembling cottage cheese. It may have a "yeasty" smell like beer or baking bread. The normal smell of a healthy vaginal discharge is a lactic acid smell, like cheese or yogurt, due to lactobacilli. These lactobacilli are "good" bacteria that can turn milk into cheese and yogurt. Remember that the dairy-related bacteria are the good ones - it will be important later in the section about home remedies for yeast infections.
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