Yeast is a fungus that normally exists on your skin. It is also present in your digestive system. Yeast also lives in your vaginal area if you are a woman. However, too much yeast growth on your skin or other areas can lead to infection. This infection is also known as candidiasis. Moreover, a yeast infection can happen if your skin gets damaged. Warm and humid conditions are very suitable for the overgrowth of yeast. An infection can also occur if you have a weak immune system. Consuming antibiotics can also lead to an overgrowth of yeast. The reason behind this is that antibiotics can kill the healthy bacteria inside your body that normally keep the yeast in balance.
Candida albicans is the most likely cause of yeast infections. Even though yeast infections occur in millions of people, they should not cause significant problems if you are healthy. However, it’s important to note that everyone can get a yeast infection. Those at greater risk include babies or incontinent adults wearing diapers, people receiving cancer treatment, people taking antibiotics, people wearing dentures, those with large skin folds, and people with other health conditions such as diabetes or HIV.
There are two types of infections from yeast. One is superficial infections, and the other is invasive infections. Moreover, superficial infections involve the skin, are not spread easily, and cause by Candida that is always also on the body but can multiply with hormonal imbalance or pH changes. Whereas, in the case of invasive infection, some of the yeast enters the bloodstream and causes an infection inside your body. You are at greater risk of establishing an invasive infection if you have a major illness like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, cancer, or AIDS. In addition, you have a weakened immune system or had an organ transplant, use steroids, or use steroids or have high blood sugar.
Following are the signs and symptoms in different locations of your body that require you to seek medical attention when you encounter a yeast infection:
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Navel or Skin folds
Rash with redness and skin breakdown, patches that ooze clear fluid, pimples, and itching or burning are signs you should always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Irritant diaper dermatitis in the skin folds is infancy’s most common dermatologic disease(1). Skin folds are not affected typically. In the early stages, it is composed of erythema, light maceration, and edema; progression of lesions increases maceration. Erosion and ulceration may develop at the advanced stage (2). Secondary infections due to Candida albicans and bacteria can develop at this stage.
Yellow or white discharge from the vagina, itching, redness in the external area of the vagina, and burning are certain signs in which you need the doctor’s attention (3). If this is your first yeast infection, seek a doctor’s attention as it may be a more severe problem that requires different treatment, such as a urinary tract infection or STI. You should also seek a doctor’s attention if you are pregnant. Moreover, any medications, including over-the-counter vaginal creams, need to be approved by your doctor during pregnancy. If yeast infections are recurring, it’s crucial to seek medical attention for further diagnosis and a unique treatment plan. So if you have four or more yeast infections in a year, doctors call it “recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis.” If you have it, you’ll need treatment for up to 6 months with an antifungal medication. Frequent yeast infections can also signify that you have diabetes or another medical condition.
Redness, scaling, and painful rash on the underside of the penis are signs that need you to seek medical attention. Inflammation of the glans penis is termed balanitis. Typical symptoms of Candida balanitis are mild glazed erythema, satellite-eroded pustules, moist curd-like accumulations, dysuria, bleeding, and, sometimes, ulceration of the glans penis. Symptoms also usually include mild burning and pruritis (4, 5). White plaques can be found upon retraction of the prepuce (6). Bacterial superinfection with streptococci or staphylococci is associated with increased pain. In men who have diabetes or are immunocompromised, an acute fulminating edematous or ulcerative variant may occur (5). For the best course of action to avoid all of these complications, it is essential to be proactive to seek out medical attention for diagnosis and an effective treatment plan.
White patches inside of the cheeks and on the tongue, soreness or redness, difficulty swallowing are all the signs that you need to seek medical help with oral thrush. Oral candidiasis is of various clinical forms divided into white or erythematous (red) candidiasis (7-9). Pseudomembranous candidiasis (thrush) is the common form and typically involves generally confluent white plaques on the hard and soft palate, tongue, buccal mucosa, and oropharynx. The other form of white oral candidiasis, the hyperplastic form, presents as “well-circumscribed, slightly elevated, white plaques most commonly adherent to the buccal mucosa,” perhaps with the involvement of the labial commissures or adjacent parts of the mouth (7, 9). Acute atrophic candidiasis particularly occurs in HIV-infected patients and manifests as erythematous patches. Moreover, typical symptoms include a burning sensation in the mouth (especially with spicy foods) and/or soreness of the tongue and lip (8-10).
Corners of the mouth (angular cheilitis)
Tiny cuts or cracks at the corners of the mouth needs medical care in case of angular cheilitis. Angular cheilitis, also known as perlèche, may occur with denture-related candidiasis or individuals who frequently lick their lips or traumatize the corners of their mouths. Individuals with redundant skin or wrinkles at the angle of the mouth may be predisposed to candidal overgrowth, and various B vitamin or iron deficiencies have been associated. Signs are usually bilateral, with red, fissured patches related to pain or soreness observed along the commissures of the mouth. The anterior nostril region also may be affected. Staphylococcus aureus is often involved, along with Candida (7-9).
Swelling, pain, pus, and white or yellow nail that separates from the nail bed are signs you need to seek medical attention. Besides, you may have nail fungus if one or more of your nails are thickened, have whitish to yellow-brown discoloration, crumbly, brittle, or ragged, distorted in shape, have a dark color caused by debris building up under your nail, or smell slightly foul.
We all experience different signs and symptoms with yeast infections. In addition, past and present health concerns play a massive role in how this infection affects our physical being. The signs outlined above outline the various ways that superficial and invasive yeast infections can cause further complications and can be detrimental to your health. The best course of action is to seek medical attention to ensure that proper diagnosis is given and that a treatment plan is outlined to get you back on track.
About the author: Dan Jackowiak, Nc, HHP, Founder of Yeast Infection Advisor. Besides, Dan is a Nutritional Consultant and Holistic Healthcare Practitioner that personally suffered from yeast and bad bacterial overgrowth of the gut for most of his life. So the information on his website is a combination of his own nutrition and holistic training, life experiences, collaboration with fellow experts on his team, and over 18 years of studying medical research on candida yeasts infections of all types, which has allowed him to take his life and health back help others overcome yeast-related health problems and digestive problems of all kinds.