The symptoms of Yeast Infection are redness, itching and discomfort around a very localized part of the skin or mucosal membranes. Areas often infected include the mouth, the pharynx or esophagus, the gastrointestinal tract, the urinary bladder, or the genitalia, the vagina or penis. In its worst state, patients experience severe itching, burning, soreness, irritation or a burning sensation, and a whitish or whitish-gray discharge. Both men and women can get infected and also children, mostly between the ages of three and nine, can be affected by chronic mouth yeast infections, normally seen around the mouth as white patches.
There are many causes of Yeast Infection including use of detergents or douches, internal disturbances (hormonal or physiological) which can disturb the normal vaginal flora of lactic acid bacteria. Pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives are risk factors, and also engaging in vaginal sex and anal sex without cleansing afterwards. Sex using lubricants containing glycerin has been reported as a cause but the case is unproved. Sex with a partner who has the disease is also a likely cause. Diabetes and the use of antibiotics are also linked to an increased incidence of yeast infections. A weakened or undeveloped immune system can lead to infection.
Diagnosis of a yeast infection can be done by either a microscopic examination or culturing. For identification by light microscopy, a sample of the troubled area is placed on a microscope slide. A single drop of 10% potassium hydroxide solution is then added to the material. As the chemical dissolves the skin cells, the Candida cells remain intact, allowing you to see the budding yeast cells. For the culturing method, a sterile swab is smeared over the infected skin area and streaked on a culture medium. The culture should be incubated at 37C for several days, in order to allow development of yeast or bacterial colonies.
Most infections of yeast infection are treatable. It is invariably treated with antimycotics such as nystatin, fluconazole, clotrimazole and ketoconazole. Anyone who has an allergic reaction to the azole group of medicines should avoid these as they have contradictory reactions with other medicines. In severe cases, usually in hospitalized patients, amphotericin B, caspofungin, or voriconazole is the usual remedy. Localised treatment can include vaginal suppositories or medicated douches. Gentian violet is a preparation that can be used but when taken in large quantities it can cause ulcers and has been linked to cancer. Chronic infections may be treatable with other anti-fungal drugs, but resistance to these may develop.
Yeast Infection was discovered by botanist Christine Marie Berkhout and first mentioned in 1923. Over the years, the classification of the species has evolved. The genus Candida includes about 150 different species, however, only a few are known to cause human infections. Some alternative medicine proponents postulate the existence of ‘systemic candidiasis’ or yeast allergy. The view was widely promoted by Dr. William Crook who hypothesized that a variety of common symptoms such as fatigue, PMS, asthma, sexual dysfunction, digestive and urinary problems, multiple sclerosis, and muscle pain, could be caused by subclinical infections of Yeast Infection.