Yeast Infection

Yeast infections do not pose a serious health risk but can cause a great deal of discomfort and irritation. Yeast infections can affect anyone from children to adults and both men and women, but they are most common in women. Though yeast infections are not a serious condition they can cause symptoms that are extremely embarrassing and unpleasant. Another problem with yeast infections is their tendency to recur and once you have an infection, the chances of suffering from another infection in the future are much higher.

Yeast Infection Picture

Yeast is a type of microscopic fungi that lives in the human body. The most common type of fungi responsible for yeast infections is known as Candida Albicans. Under normal circumstances, a certain amount of yeast is necessary for the healthy functioning of the digestive system and a person's overall health. The problem arises when the amount of yeast in the body multiplies and overwhelms the normal functioning of the various systems. When this happens a yeast infection occurs and immediate medical treatment is required to prevent the condition from escalating or recurring.

Symptoms of Yeast Infection

Depending on the area affected various symptoms will be manifested. Symptoms of a yeast infection may include:

  • Itching of the vagina
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Swelling of the skin and increased sensitivity around the vagina
  • Increase in vaginal discharge. Discharge ranges from thick and chunky to watery and white
  • Vaginal discharge that smells ‘yeasty’ (as compared to foul smelling vaginal discharge caused by a bacterial infection)
  • Pain during sexual intercourse due to the irritation and inflammation of the skin around the vagina
  • For men, a yeast infection may show up in the form of itching or irritation around the head of the penis. The head of the penis can become sore and red or there may be an appearance of white bumps. A skin rash can develop along the shaft of the penis as well, along with a burning sensation during urination. A discharge from the penis and pain during intercourse is not uncommon either.
  • Babies or young children who suffer from yeast infections typically suffer from an infection in the mouth and in this case it is referred to as ‘oral thrush’. You may notice symptoms such as the appearance of cracks and dryness around the mouth and the most distinctive symptom would be the white patches on the tongue commonly described as having an appearance similar to ‘cottage cheese’.
  • In elderly adults too, a yeast infection generally manifests as oral thrush.

The problem with a yeast infection is that it tends to recur often. Repeated infections can affect a person's immunity and health. If a person consistently suffers from yeast infections or does not respond to any form of treatment it may also be an early symptom of HIV.

Causes of Yeast Infection

The Candida yeast, responsible for infection is present on healthy skin, but the onset of an infection resulting from an overgrowth is prevented by the immune system and competing microorganisms like bacteria. A weak immune system or any disease that weakens the immune system could therefore be responsible for yeast infections. This is why elderly individuals may also be more susceptible to yeast infections, especially oral thrush.

In the case of vaginal yeast infections, such an overgrowth of Candida cells occur when the normal vaginal flora is disturbed reducing the presence of ‘healthy bacteria’ such as lactobacilli. Such disturbances to the vaginal flora can occur for a variety of reasons - from the use of detergents to douches. Other factors that could put a woman at risk include the use of oral contraceptives, menstrual cycle, pregnancy or medical conditions such as diabetes.

Penile candidiasis is rather uncommon and in most cases it is cause through direct contact with an infected partner, such as through sexual intercourse. The use of antibiotics, low immunity levels and diseases like diabetes that affect immunity may also contribute to the development of yeast infections in men.

In all groups therefore there are certain common causes or risk factors that include:

  • Reduced immunity
  • Certain antibiotics
  • Stress
  • Birth Control Pills
  • Being obese
  • In very rare cases, a yeast infection can be spread via sexual contact with an infected partner

Remedies for Yeast Infection

Yeast infections can be treated using a variety of methods. Uncomplicated yeast infections, in other words mild to moderate infections, can be treated quite effectively at home. Over the counter treatments are also quite effective and can help significantly, but severe and recurrent infections should be referred to a medical specialist for treatment.

Treatments also differ, depending on the type of yeast infection. Over the counter medications for vaginal yeast infections usually include vaginal creams or suppositories. Other drugs that can help treat a yeast infection are miconazole, clotrimazole, tioconazole, and butoconazole. Diflucan (fluconazole) is supposedly a one-time pill that you can get on prescription only. However, many women report that a one-time dose is not as effective as it should be and repeat dosages may be required. In such cases, adverse side effects are not uncommon. When treating yourself, make sure you read the instructions carefully and never stop taking the medications in the middle of the recommended course. Normally a course of medication can last from three to fourteen days depending on the severity of the symptoms.

It is very important to get a proper diagnosis from your doctor before treating yourself for a yeast infection. In case there is another medical reason for your symptoms such as an STD or a bacterial infection, you may just end up making the situation a lot worse than before. If you do insist on treating yourself at home, make sure you recognize the symptoms as those of a yeast infection and that the symptoms are mild and not accompanied by any warning signs such as pelvic pain or fever. Women should also ensure that they are not pregnant before resorting to home remedies for vaginal thrush that involve natural douches and the like. In the case of oral thrush infections salt water rinses can help, but it would be best to seek medical advice. Oral thrush typically affects babies and aged adults which is why speedy treatment is essential but caution is just as important.

Here are some home remedies that could help in the treatment of vaginal yeast infections. Keep in mind that not all remedies are backed by research and it’s important that you exercise some amount of caution when using home remedies. If the symptoms do not seem to respond to treatment within a few days seek medical advice. The best home remedies for yeast infections in women are:

  • Dip a tampon in yogurt and insert the tampon into the vagina twice daily. This is believed to help balance yeast levels and is one of the most popular remedies for yeast infections. However, make sure you try this only after you are diagnosed with a yeast infection. Studies have also shown that the ingestion of yogurt daily can also help to prevent a recurrence of yeast infections.
  • Boric acid suppositories may help reduce a yeast infection that has become resistant to conventional medication. Studies in this regard have been extremely encouraging with boric acid showing an effectiveness of 98 percent, in cases where the condition failed to respond to commonly used antifungal agents.

For the treatment of non-vaginal yeast infections, garlic is often advocated as an effective remedy because of its known antifungal properties. Simply apply a paste of fresh garlic to the affected areas of the skin or add a few drops of garlic oil to some vitamin E oil or coconut oil and massage directly into the infected areas as well. Garlic could help to treat the infection and prevent it from spreading. Exercise caution when using garlic can be extremely harsh and cause irritation to sensitive skin.

Diet for Yeast Infection

Most doctors suggest a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables to improve overall health and immunity. Fresh vegetable and fruit juices are an easy way to meet and satisfy the five meals a day requirement. Try and avoid processed and fatty foods and stay away from foods made with refined flour and sugar as these may increase your risk of yeast infections. Keep hydrated and drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. Increase your intake of yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus. This can help prevent recurring yeast infections. If you can’t include much yogurt in your diet, try Lactobacillus acidophilus tablets instead.

Suggestions for Yeast Infection

  • Wear loose fitting clothes made of natural fabrics that allow for evaporation of sweat and any body-moisture, thereby helping stay dry.
  • Wash the vaginal area with warm water and un-perfumed soap and dry well.
  • Stay away from vaginal douches, fragrances, perfumed body lotions and deodorant tampons. It may also be less painful to use sanitary pads rather than tampons during the course of an infection.
  • Do not sit around in wet clothes or swimsuits as this can increase the risk of a yeast infection.
  • Prevent the spread of infections by using condoms during intercourse.
  • If you suffer from diabetes, keep your blood sugar levels under control.
  • Similarly, try and lose weight if obesity is one of the reasons for your recurring yeast infections.


  1. Hilton E, Isenberg HD, Alperstein P, France K, Borenstein MT. Ingestion of yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus as prophylaxis for candidal vaginitis. Ann Intern Med. 1992 Mar 1;116(5):353-7. PubMed PMID: 1736766.
  2. Jovanovic R, Congema E, Nguyen HT. Antifungal agents vs. boric acid for treating chronic mycotic vulvovaginitis. J Reprod Med. 1991 Aug;36(8):593-7. PubMed PMID: 1941801.

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47 Yeast Infection remedies suggested by our users
vaginal yeast infection
suggested by [unspecified] on Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cut down (drastically if you can/if not, then gradually) on all products containing sugars and white flour products. Increase water consumption, and especially increase yogurt intake - any natural yogurt, but especially the ones containing live bacteria or labeled as "live". Basically eat healthy, cut down the sugars, cut down the white flour stuff, increase water and yogurt and you're on your way . I suffered for 10 years+ before figuring this out for myself after intensive internet research. Every time I went to the doctor, same old prescription for candestan or an alternative - tried endless pessaries and creams, and at one stage antibiotics. They all worked for about four days max and then I was always back to square one. There's simply no alternative to adjusting the diet don't have to starve yourself of sugars, but it helps if you can drastically cut down for a couple of weeks if you can, or at least try to cut down and aim to far outweigh the sugars with fiber, water, good bacteria from yogurt, and good proteins. Avoid all carbonated drinks and juices. Then learn to recognize natural sugars and substitute wherever possible for refined sugars. It worked for me and I only wish I'd woken up sooner.

yeast infection
suggested by devi on Saturday, May 10, 2008

Use Vagisil...for 2 days..that will clear off..

suggested by Ijaaza on Friday, January 25, 2008

I have a yeast infection that causes itching in my hands & feet. I tried most all over the counter remedies. Neosporin works to relieve itch, and heals the lesions in my hands and feet fastest.

Boric Acid
suggested by Sonja on Friday, November 16, 2007

Use a clear gel cap from any health food store and fill it with pharmacy grade Boric Acid and insert it in the vaginal opening. A paste can also be made for external relief. It takes one dose usually. This was recommended by my midwife. Boric acid can be bought from any pharmacy and its way cheaper than other purchased remedies.

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