Causes and Symptoms of Chronic Yeast Infections

Chronic yeast infection is a medical condition that affects both females and males. Nevertheless, it is more common in women than in men. According to the Mayo Clinic, three out of every four women develop this condition at some point during their lifetime. Here is a detailed look.

An Overview

Candida albicans


Candida albicans. By Sun14916 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The microorganism responsible for yeast infections is a fungus called Candida. Some women, even those who have never developed yeast infection symptoms, have small numbers of Candida in the gastrointestinal tract and the vagina. In fact, a report published in the journal “The Lancet” concludes that 20% of all women have the Candida fungus but do not develop symptoms. Candida also inhabits other parts of the body such as the mouth and skin.

The good news is Candida is relatively harmless, so long as its numbers remain low. However, Candida overgrowth leads to a visible manifestation of symptoms. There is a subtle difference between chronic and recurrent yeast infection. The term “chronic” refers to a disease whose presence remains in one’s body most likely for life, whereas “recurrent” is a disease process that refers to a prior elimination, followed by repeated re-infections.

A recurrent disease is one doctors can treat effectively, though it could again occur in the future. With this in mind, chronic yeast infection is associated with an underlying health problem such as low immune system responsiveness.  Medical experts do not consider Candida to be an STI, according to the Mayo Clinic. Further, yeast infections do not appear to be contagious. This is despite its ability to spread via sexual contact, including oral-genital contact.

Causes of Chronic Yeast Infections

Several causative factors are known for yeast infections. The following factors are an incomplete list of what can cause Candida overgrowth:

Chronic Yeast Infection Triggers

Excess weight

Uncontrolled diabetes

• Pregnancy

Medication such as antibiotics. In men, taking corticosteroids increases the likelihood of Candida overgrowth

• Poor hygiene in uncircumcised men

• Frequent use of soaps and perfumed gels to wash the genitals. Doing so can irritate the skin leading to candida overgrowth. The same is true for douching

Impaired immune system

• Wearing tight fitting clothes that keep the vaginal area warm and moist. Candida fungus thrives in such conditions.

• Medications that alter hormonal balance such as contraceptives

Symptoms of Chronic Yeast Infections

Symptoms of Chronic Yeast Infections


Swollen leg with fungal growth

Common symptoms in women include:

• Pain during sexual intercourse

• Pain during urination

• Redness and swelling around the vulva

• Thick, odorless vaginal discharge

• Itchiness and burning sensation around vaginal opening

Symptoms of Chronic Yeast Infections in Men

In men, symptoms typically depend on the type of Candida species present in the body. For men infected with Candidal balinitis, common symptoms include:

• Pain while urinating
• Pain during sex
• Itching and burning sensation around penis head
• Appearance of papules on penis. Papules are pus-filled pimples.

Men with Candidal balanoposthitis may experience the following symptoms:

• Difficulty pulling back foreskin for the uncircumcised

• Thick discharge that collects under the foreskin for the uncircumcised penis

• Foul-smelling discharge

Chronic Yeast Infection Diagnosis

The Mayo Clinic recommends seeking medical treatment if you have never had a yeast infection before. The same is true if you have doubts related to source/cause of infection, develop severe symptoms, or symptoms persist after self-medicating.

In most cases, diagnosis starts with a preview of one’s medical history to rule out other medical conditions. After this, your doctor may perform a pelvic exam. This involves physical examination of the vaginal area for signs of infection. During this exam, the physician may collect a sample of vaginal discharge for culture testing.

Chronic Yeast Infection Treatment Options

Treatment depends on doctor’s diagnosis and lab test results if any. For both women and men, the most common treatment option is prescription of antifungal medications. If you subscribe to the self-medication school of thought, try over-the-counter topical drugs like Clotrimazole, Miconazole, Tioconazole, and Econazole. An orally applicable medication called fluconazole is also a popular medication.

Medication for Chronic Yeast Infections

The medication period generally varies depending on factors such as the severity of symptoms. For patients exhibiting mild to moderate symptoms, doctors prescribe medication for period ranging from 1 to 3 days. In cases where diagnosis points to severe symptoms, medication period may range from one week to as many as six months. For instance, doctors prescribe fluconazole for up to six months to prevent yeast overgrowth after patients complete an initial medication course. For people with active sex partners, it is not necessary for them to undergo treatment though doctor may recommend doing so.

There are several proven home remedies for fighting off yeast infections. These include apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, coconut oil, and others.

Preventing Chronic Yeast Infections

After treatment, you should take steps to prevent future infections. The most effective way of keeping candida fungus at bay is by practicing good hygiene. Women should clean vaginal folds that could harbor candida while bathing. This is in addition to drying private parts well after taking a shower. Other ways of preventing infections include discarding synthetic fiber-based undergarments for those made with cotton, avoiding scented soaps when bathing, and avoiding douching. Also, in women, following some strict anti-Candida dietary guidelines, appears to prevent recuuring yeast infections.

Conclusion

Chronic yeast infections can be a source of great discomfort. Causes of this condition include diabetes, excess weight, use of scented soaps and perfumes, and poor hygiene. Some of the symptoms associated with this disease include pain while urinating, itching around the vagina, and pain during sex. Treatment generally involves the use of anti-fungal medications such as Clotrimazole and Miconazole. To make matters worse, there are Candida die-off symptoms which may occur. These, however, are generally short-lived.

In the following, some known effective treatments for chronic yeast infection are reviewed, by a nutritional expert who has overcome his own case. Well worth watching!

Get the Most Comprehensive Yeast Infection Treatment CLICK HERE


Comments

Causes and Symptoms of Chronic Yeast Infections — 3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Symptoms of Yeast Infection in the Mouth | Advanced Health Knowledge

  2. Pingback: Is Garlic Effective In Treating Yeast Infections? | Advances in Alternative Health Knowledge

  3. I was in infectious diseases about 20 years – focus on seeing women with chronic vaginal problems especially recurrent yeast infections. It happens. You need to avoid all sugars while you feel an outbreak coming on. Garlic does help – but who can sit and eat raw garlic. Alot of women like AZO, but the Lady Soma Candida Cleanse pills are better as they do not have the same side effects as AZO. just google AZO side effects and you will see. If you feel a yeast infection coming on, take 4 of the Lady Soma Candida Pills for the next two days and it wont come on. I keep them in my fridge. good luck! Be careful eating raw garlic !

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