Common Yeast Infection Causes

Yeast Overgrowth

What is yeast infection and what are some common yeast infection causes?

Yeast infection can be more accurately described as an overgrowth of a fungus called Candida - commonly called 'yeast'. Every healthy person hosts a broad spectrum of micro-organisms in their system including bacteria and fungus. Normally, when everything is in balance, the presence of 'yeast' or Candida in your body is not a problem. The problem occurs, however, when your system somehow gets unbalanced and the body's yeast population takes over. Scientists have identified several different types of Candida that can cause infections but about 80 percent are due to a variety called Candida albicans. This is a common womens health issue.


This can happen due to a variety of factors such as taking antibiotics, eating too much yeast-intensive foods, or somehow creating an imbalance in your body chemistry. In addition, physical contact (typically sexual contact) with someone who has a yeast infection can spread the same 'yeast overgrowth' condition to you. Babies can also develop a yeast infection. Specific causes of yeast infection are discussed below.

Antibiotics

Taking antibiotics leads the list of yeast infection causes.

When you take doctor prescribed antibiotics you should understand that they will attack a broad range of bacteria in your system. Thus in addition to the condition that you and your doctor are targeting (e.g. your ear infection, sinus infection, etc.) your are killing off the so-called friendly bacteria that your body hosts. Your body needs this 'good' bacteria and benefits from it in many ways, such as aiding to break-down and digest food in our intestines.

Taking antibiotics can thus throw off the balance of micro-organisms in your system making the way for your normal yeast population to take over. When this occurs, you'll experience the typical yeast infection symptoms

Body Chemistry

Our bodies normally maintain a certain chemical or PH balance for good health. Our internal micro-organism population can be thrown off balance if our body chemistry undergoes a drastic change. This could occur either system-wide in you body or locally, for example within a woman's vaginal tissues. Whole body changes can be due to illness, taking certain medications, or dietary changes.

Typical factors in vaginal yeast infection include the use of anti-bacterial soaps and douches or even detergents applied indirectly through laundering your underwear. Even scented creams, perfumes or perfumed toilet paper can irritate some sensitive individuals and indirectly lead to an infection and should be considered when investigating yeast infection causes.

Some studies have noted a possible link between the use of spermacides containing nonoxynol-9 with vaginal yeast infection. The likely mechanism is that the spermacide kills off friendly bacteria in the vagina thus allowing a rapid growth of other micro-organisms including yeast. Many condoms and lubricants contain nonoxynol-9.

Sexual Contact

Can yeast infection be spread through sexual contact? Sure can. Once a yeast overgrowth gets started in one partner the same condition can jump ship through intimate contact. When treating yeast infection in the reproductive organs you should always consider treatment of both partners.

Each of the above yeast infection causes should be carefully considered when you or someone you know encounters a yeast problem.

Male Yeast Infection (Balanitis)

Balanitis is the medical term for any inflammation of the foreskin and head of the penis. Balanitis is usually due to poor hygiene in uncircumcised men. The inflammation can be caused by infection from a fungus (or yeast), bacteria, or virus, as well as irritation from soaps or other substances not properly rinsed. Male yeast infection can also be passed from contact with an infected partner, as mentioned above.

Yeasty Foods

Yeast is a common ingredient in all baked goods including breads, bagels, sweet rolls, and pastries whether store-bought and home baked treats. While eating these type of foods is not usually sufficient in itself to cause a yeast infection, combined with other factors it can be a big player in yeast infection causes.

There are reported cases of women taking brewers yeast as a nutritional supplement (brewers yeast is rich in certain vitamins) but soon developed signs of yeast infection. Within days of stopping their intake of brewers, the yeast infection symptoms began to disappear.

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