What is a yeast infection?
Yeast infections may affect the mouth, skin or vagina.
Yeast infections are mainly caused by yeast-like fungus named Candida or Monilia. This fungus is a normal resident of your body. Usually, your body’s immunity keeps this fungus under control. It causes infection if you are sick or taking any antibiotics. Your mouth, skin, nails, food pipe (esophagus), vagina or even blood may get infected by this fungus.
What is the main cause of a yeast infection?
Yeast infections are caused by Candida albicans and may affect skin if you have
- Warm and wet armpits and groin area
- Excess weight
- Received antibiotics, steroids or chemotherapy
- Have an human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection
- Have a weak immune system
- Are on antibiotics
- Have poor health
- Are very old
- Are receiving chemotherapy or steroids (usual content of asthma inhalers)
- Have diabetes and if your blood sugar level is high
- Have dentures that do not fit well
Chances of getting vaginal yeast infections are higher if you
- Are receiving antibiotics, steroids, hormones or chemotherapy.
- Are pregnant
- Are taking birth control pills
- Have diabetes
- Have other illness that weakens your immunity
- Are douching (washing inside your vagina with a chemical soap)
- Wearing underwear that doesn’t breathe or tight clothes
- Have sex with an infected partner
What are the symptoms of a yeast infection?
- White patches in your mouth
- Difficulty in swallowing or eating
If you have esophageal (food pipe) yeast infections, you may experience
Skin yeast infections (including nails) may cause
If you are a woman and have vaginal yeast infections, then you may experience
- Itching and redness in your vagina
- Unpleasant burning feeling and pain in your vagina
- Whitish cheesy or yellowish discharge from your vagina
- Pain during sex
How are yeast infections diagnosed?
Your doctor will use different methods of testing yeast infections depending on the area of your infection or symptoms.
If a vaginal yeast infection is suspected by your gynecologist, then they may
- Examine your private parts
- Take vaginal fluid samples using a cotton swab
- Send the samples for further tests
- Even check your partner
If an oral yeast infection is suspected by your doctor (usually dentist), then they may
- Examine your mouth and tongue
- Scrape your mouth sore gently using a cotton swab
- Examine the sample under the microscope
In case of severe yeast infections in your esophagus, your doctor may
- Perform endoscopy (insert a tube through your mouth into your stomach and examine the esophagus)
- Perform a biopsy (take a sample from the throat for a culture test or further laboratory examination)
If you have a skin or nail yeast infection, your doctor (dermatologist) may
- Examine your skin and nails
- Scrape off a bit of your skin using a blunt-edged instrument
- Test your blood sugar level to check for diabetes