Having Recurring Yeast Infections? Here’s What You Need to Know

Our G.I. system and genital regions have natural flora bacteria that help fight off invaders. This type of bacteria is the good kind and they prevent yeast infections from occurring. Our bodies tend to have a strong defense system that fights off invaders. Unfortunately, there are times where our defense system is compromised from illness, new medications, bad diet, or other issues. When that happens, we are prone to getting a yeast infection that can grow and invade anywhere in/on our body. 

For vaginal yeast infections, women may see a whitish, cottage cheese like discharge along with itching, irritation, and burning sensations. Infected vaginas can experience pain, soreness, swelling, and redness. If the fungal infection occurs on the tongue, you’ll see a white plaque that can be easily scraped off. If it happens anywhere on the skin, it might look beefy red with satellite lesions. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s likely that you have a fungal infection. Have a consultation with one of our online doctors to be sure.

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What is a Yeast Infection?

A yeast infection is a fungal infection that can invade your body. This fungus loves a moist and warm environment, so the most common places that they dwell in is genital regions like the vagina. The most common strain of fungal infection would be Candida Albicans that can occur anywhere in the body. Keep in mind that fungal infections are not necessarily sexually transmitted but it can occur during sexual activities. Fortunately, there are medications to get rid of yeast infections, so it’s essential to get diagnosed so you receive the proper treatment.

Where Can Yeast Infections Live?

Yeast infections can happen anywhere in the body. However, these microorganisms prefer warm and moist environments. This is why there are some parts of the body that are more prone than others to get a yeast infection.

Tongue

If you often use an inhaler for asthma or use glucocorticoid medication, then you are prone to getting yeast infections on the tongue. This type of infection is often called oral thrush. Fortunately, there are ways to stop this. All you have to do is ask your doctor about the proper way of using your inhaler or invest in a pacer to help decrease your chances of getting an infection. You can also talk to your doctor about reducing your glucocorticoid medications.

Esophagus

Yeast infections in the esophagus is often called esophagitis. It causes significant inflammation of the esophagus, which can lead to pain and irritation. Your doctor can diagnose this with an endoscopy and can provide you with the proper fungal medications such as Nystatin or Fluconazole. However, getting fungal esophagitis often indicates a potential HIV infection. Keep in mind that individuals with HIV are very prone to yeast infections in the esophagus or tongue. Usually, anything that compromises your T cells can put you at risk for fungal infections.

Breast

If you are obese, then you are prone to fungal infections under the breast area. Usually, overweight individuals with diabetes often produce sweat under the breasts, which makes them very prone to yeast infections. 

Vagina

Ladies who take oral contraceptive pills or antibiotics are very prone to vaginal yeast infections. They may experience symptoms of pain, burning, swelling, and irritation of the vagina. Talk with a doctor online and find out how you can reduce vaginal yeast infections.

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Diaper Rash

Diaper rashes commonly occur with infants. When babies urinate or defecate in their diaper and aren’t changed or cleaned immediately afterward, the moist environment can foster fungal growth. These fungal infections often occur in the buttocks region. It will result in symptoms of beefy red, satellite lesions, and irritated skin.

Reasons Why Yeast Infections Return

If you receive treatment for yeast infection but the symptoms won’t go away or it keeps coming back, then there are other potential underlying causes that you should consider:

Antibiotics

Antibiotics don’t just kill bacterial invaders, it also kills the bacteria that are involved with your natural defense mechanism. This means that some medications kill off the “good guys” that are part of the natural flora. When this happens, you will be vulnerable to fungal infections.

Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills can regulate your hormones, which can also affect vaginal environments. This means that it can alter vaginal discharge to make it favorable for fungal growth. Find out if there are other birth control methods that reduce the chance of getting vaginal yeast infections.

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Glucocorticoid Medications

The glucocorticoid medication suppresses your immune system, which makes you vulnerable to yeast infection.

Poor Immune System

Any illness that affects your immune system or your T cells, such as HIV, can make you vulnerable to fungal infection.

Sex

When you have sexual intercourse, it can make you vulnerable to bacteria or yeast infections. Because of this, it’s essential to wash yourself immediately after sex. In addition, if you have sex with an individual that has a yeast infection, they can transmit the fungal infection to you.

Do Yeast Infections Go Away On Their Own?

Some mild yeast infections can go away on their own, but it’s rare. The majority of yeast infections will remain in your body and cause persistent symptoms. If you don’t get rid of it, the symptoms will only get worse. In fact, since the majority of these infections do cause skin irritation, burning, itchiness, and swelling, it can cause severe cuts and damages to the lining of the skin. When that happens, you are vulnerable to secondary infection, such as bacteria. If you have both bacteria and fungal infection, it can be a nightmare. This is why it’s imperative to get diagnosed and treated right away.

Can You Pass a Yeast Infection to Someone Else?

You can definitely pass a yeast infection to someone else. Keep in mind that fungal infections are not respiratory, so it’s usually through direct contact. For example, if you have a vaginal yeast infection, you can pass that on to your partner during sexual intercourse. If you have an infection on your tongue, you can spread that to your partner when you kiss them.

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Drug Resistant Yeast Infections

There are times that a fungal infection is resistant to antifungal treatment. This is mainly because these microorganisms can mutate their genetic makeup to help them adapt. When that happens, patients often experience worsening symptoms despite the proper medication. That means it’s time to go back to your healthcare provider for a closer look of what’s going on. Your doctor may have to send a sample to the lab to see which medication the fungal agent is sensitive to. With this in mind, you will most likely get a new medication that could possibly remove the infection.

Symptoms of Yeast Infection

Symptoms of yeast infections depend on where it’s located. If it’s in the mouth, it will produce a thick, white patch on the tongue or cheeks. The fungal infection can travel to the esophagus to cause inflammation and pain when you swallow food or drinks. If it’s in the vaginal or penile region, it can produce symptoms very similar to a UTI such as burning, irritation, swelling, and more. You may also experience a white, thick, and cottage cheese type of discharge. If the fungal infection is on the skin, it will be red and beefy looking. Whatever the case is, it’s best to get treated immediately if you witness any of these symptoms listed above.

Diagnosis for Yeast Infection

The first thing your doctor will do is to examine the infected area. Your doctor will ask some detailed questions such as the duration of the infection, sexual history, medical history, and other questions that pertain to the infection to get an accurate diagnosis. If the infection occurs in the esophagus, the doctor will have to use an endoscopy to check it out. If it’s in the vaginal area, the doctor will need to take a sample of the discharge and send it to the lab to get results. They will most likely do a KOH prep to check for pseudohyphae, which is the indication of a fungal infection.

Treatment for Yeast Infection

Treatment for a yeast infection is most likely antifungal medication that can be in the form of oral tablets, cream, or ointment. The most common drug that your doctor will prescribe is Nyastin, Fluconazole, Miconazole, or Ketoconazole. Usually, fungal medications will take 3 to 7 days to clear a yeast infection. If the symptoms persist or get worse beyond a week, then it’s best to call your doctor for a consultation.

How to Prevent Yeast Infection

The best way to prevent a yeast infection is to strengthen your immune system with proper food and exercise as well as practicing safe sex. It’s best to wear loose-fitted undergarments that are both clean and comfortable. If you notice that you keep getting fungal infections despite treatment, then it’s best to talk to your doctor about medications that you’re currently taking or other underlying illnesses. Your doctor may stop certain medications like antibiotics, steroid meds, or oral contraceptive pills to reduce the infection. If the issue is on your inhaler, your provider could give you a pacer or teach you how to use your inhaler correctly. As for diaper rash, it’s essential to keep your infant’s buttocks clean and quickly change their diaper after every bowel movement. If you keep getting infections underneath your breast, it’s best to lose weight, frequently clean underneath the breast area, and wear a properly fitted bra. With all this information, you will be able to keep fungal infections out of your way or at least heavily reduced.

Should You Visit a Doctor?

When it comes to fungal infection, you should see a doctor. If you leave a yeast infection untreated, the symptoms could get worse and you can possibly get a secondary infection due to the damaged and irritated skin. Another thing is that when you see a doctor, they will do a vaginal culture to differentiate between a fungal and bacterial infection. Keep in mind that one of the most common mistakes that people make is that they will take antibiotic medications from their friends with an assumption that it’s a bacterial infection. When you take antibiotic meds, it will kill off your natural flora, which can help the existing fungal microorganisms in your system to grow at an even faster rate. Therefore, it’s vital to see a physician for proper diagnoses and treatment.

In any case, the physicians at GuruMD are available to provide you with a diagnosis and prescription for the antifungal treatment that you’ll need. Usually, you can differentiate a bacterial and fungal symptom through vaginal discharge. If the discharge is white, cottage cheese like appearance, then it’s most likely fungal. In cases where further testing is required, GuruMD can order and provide discounts for the necessary lab work. An online healthcare provider will also be able to examine and ask pertinent questions that will gear them towards the proper diagnosis and treatment. The online doctors can visit with you via phone call or internet video encounter to provide the most convenient solution to your ailment. With GuruMD’s online doctors, you won’t suffer the high cost or long wait at the ER..

Conclusion

A fungal infection can be an irritating illness, but luckily with the right antifungal treatment, you can get rid of it. If you witness a constant yeast infection despite the proper treatment, then it’s best to explore other underlying causes such as antibiotic medication, oral contraceptive pills, glucocorticoid medications, or other illnesses that can suppress your immune system. Since bacteria and fungal infections have similar symptoms, it’s best to talk to a doctor for the proper diagnosis. The doctor would know if it’s fungal or bacterial based on a physical examination, an interview, or by examining a sample. With the appropriate diagnosis from a physician, you will be able to obtain the proper antifungal medication to get rid of the yeast infection.

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