While a yeast infection is a very common condition, it is often mis-diagnosed or not recognized. The infection is caused by an overgrowth of the Candida species of yeast (a type of fungus) in our body and results in a wide range of disparate symptoms, some of which can be quite subtle.
They call it the ‘hidden fungus’ for a reason
Of course if a women is suffering from a case of vaginal yeast infection, a man has visible male yeast infection symptoms, or a baby has a severe diaper rash, Candida is usually correctly identified as the cause and treatment is started (see treatment options below and in the sidebar). But more chronic and seemingly unrelated symptoms such as joint pain, headaches, skin rashes, fatigue, general malaise, itchy ears, bloating, depression, and digestive problems are not always associated with a yeast infection.
The other complication is the difficulty in identifying what causes yeast infection as there are many potential triggers:
- It is commonly accepted that prolonged use of antibiotics is a risk factor. This is because antibiotics negatively affect the natural balance of microorganisms in the gut and elsewhere on the body – between “beneficial” bacterial species (e.g. lactobacillus or bifidobacteria) and harmful bacteria, Candida causing yeasts and parasites. If this balance is lost, a yeast outbreak can occur.
- Diets high in simple sugars have been associated with yeast infection outbreaks. Diabetics are particularly susceptible if blood sugar levels remain elevated.
- Hormonal changes are thought to upset the natural balance of flora in the gut and/or alter biochemical conditions in localized parts of the body. Pregnancy, menstruation, menopause and birth control pills can all contribute to getting a yeast infection.
- Topical infections such as vaginal thrush for example can be caught through direct contact with an infected surface, clothing or from a sexual partner. Certain chemicals and perfumes used in soaps and washes can aggravate the condition.
- Like all fungal organisms, Candida yeast species grow most quickly in protected, dark and moist environments so wearing tight-fitting clothing (especially underwear when it comes to genital yeast infections) made from non-ventilating synthetic materials is considered a risk factor.
- Other potential risk factors include a weakened immune system due to steroid use, stress, HIV/AIDS and certain cancer treatments.
How to get rid of yeast infection
- The first step is to identify any risk factors and take measure to address them. Don’t take antibiotics, steroids or hormones, unless there is a compelling medical necessity of course.
- Second, for localized infections such as penile and vaginal yeast infections consider using a topical antifungal cream such as Monistat. Homeopathic options also exist to help relieve some of the negative symptoms. See this Yeastrol review for more details.
- For chronic and recurrent infections follow a Candida diet (also known as a yeast free diet) designed to reduce sugars and refined carbohydrates and eliminate yeasts and molds. Much of the guidance can be found summarized in this step by step program
- Fourth, begin a course of probiotics to repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria, a process thought to help get rid of yeast infection. Read these Threelac reviews for a probiotic designed to combat Candida and help get rid of yeast infection.
- Fifth consider taking antifungal supplements such as Oil of Oregano, Caprylic acid, Undecyclenic acid, Isatis tinctoria, Berberine, and emphasizing foods with known antifungal qualities such as raw garlic and live natural yogurts. This guidance is laid out in more detail in the yeast infection no more book.
- Sixth increase fiber intake by taking a soluble fiber supplement such as Psylliun seed. Fiber is thought to improve the absorptive capacity of the gastrointestinal tract and may assist in binding yeast toxins.
- Seventh, reduce stress as much as possible.
- Eighth, get more information about yeast infection treatment
In very severe case and resistant yeast strains, sufferers may need to turn to prescription medications, taken orally following advice from their doctor. Unfortunately as some systemic drugs have been associated with liver damage and can interact negatively with other medications, their use is often considered as a last resort to get rid of yeast infections. Systemic forms of Candida can be extremely serious and requiring of medical attention. In all cases, if your symptoms do not improve, or they worsen, notify your doctor.