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What Exactly Is A Yeast Infection?

Yeasts live almost everywhere, including the human body. They are usually found in the mouth and digestive tube and vagina. The presence of a small amount of yeast is normal. The immune system in the body can keep the yeast under control in normal circumstances. But when it is unable to control it, it is possible for the yeast to reproduce. This is what causes yeast infections.

The infections caused by yeasts are not actually infectious in the ordinary course of events, but it is possible that someone else picks up the infection from an infected person if his immune system is weak. Yeast can result in infections on different parts of the body.  

Vaginal infections caused by yeast are common, and may cause itching and pain and the appearance of abnormal secretions. Fungal infections on the skin can cause itching and rashes. These infections can appear on any area of the skin, but they often start in the warm, humid areas, such as the underarms. 

The most common yeast infection appears as a rash on infants when using diapers. In adults, most yeast infections appear in the groin area, as well as on the feet. This is a very common condition, referred to as "athlete's foot". These infections often appear in people who have a very weak immune system.

Symptoms Of A Yeast Infection

Symptoms of infections caused by yeast depend on the location. However, most types of yeast infections cause itching and pain in the affected area. Thrush is an infection caused by oral yeasts, and can cause the following symptoms:

-Cracked red patches in the mouth
-White patches in the mouth
-Patches which bleed easily
-Swelling and pain

Yeast infections in the throat can have the following symptoms:

-Pain behind the sternum
-Pain when swallowing

Symptoms of infections on the skin:

-Redness of the skin 
-Itchy skin and pain
-The emergence of small zits filled with pus

Symptoms of vaginal infection caused by yeast include:

-Vaginal itching or burning, or vaginal pain
-Abnormal secretions 
-Pain during intercourse
-Pain when urinating

Risk Factors

There are certain factors that can increase a person's risk of infection caused by yeast. These factors are known as "risk factors". Infants are the most vulnerable to such infections. While it is fairly common for children to suffer from this condition, it should disappear within two weeks. Young children are also more vulnerable to skin infections. 

Older people are also more likely to be infected. Gender is another risk factor; almost all women suffered from a vaginal infections caused by yeast at one point in their lives. It is thought that obesity can also play a role, as it is well-known that most people suffering from obesity also suffer from skin infections more often.

Yeast infections are also common among the following demographics:

-Diabetic patients
-People with HIV infection, AIDS or other immune deficiency disorders
-People taking cancer drugs or steroid medications
-People who use antibiotics or oral contraceptives

There are other factors that can increase a person's risk of getting this condition, such as:

-Hormonal changes
-Lack of sleep
-Bad eating habits
-Psychological distress


If a person shows symptoms of such a condition, the doctor will try to make sure that this is the real cause of the symptoms, or if it is due to other reasons. The doctor will therefore first ask the patient several questions, in order to determine the cause, after which a physical examination takes place. 

It is possible that the physician will also take a  a sample of the infected area in order to confirm the diagnosis. These samples are being examined with a microscope to make sure that infections caused by yeasts are the reason that led to the onset of symptoms. In the case of vaginal infection, the doctor conducting the examination of the pelvic region will search for any inflammation, and any white patches on the wall of the vagina. He may also take a sample of vaginal secretions to help speed up the diagnosis. 

The doctor can also resort to further tests if he is still unsure about the cause. This may be a sign that there is another reason, such as human acquired immune deficiency virus, or a weakness in the immune system.


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